The Government of Malawi has included the development of a legal and regulatory Volunteer Framework in its Growth and Development Strategy III (2017-2022). The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has been providing technical advisory services to the Government of Malawi throughout the conceptual and development process since 2016.
The Growth and Development Strategy III (2017-2022) recognizes the value of volunteerism in increasing the productivity of youth and unemployed Malawians. It envisages the establishment of a national volunteer service programme.
The Ministries of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development and Finance, Economic Planning and Development will work closely with the National Youth Council of Malawi to develop a legal and regulatory framework on volunteerism, as well as an effective national coordination and implementation framework.
This step represents a milestone for volunteering activities in the small African country, providing guidelines and recognition to volunteers and establishing a national volunteer service programme.
A roadmap has already been developed by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, which will guide the process of implementation.
The Volunteer Framework will address the youth bulge in Malawi and will harness the demographic dividend.
Malawi’s young people (under 30 years of age) make up 73 per cent of the population, and youth unemployment and poverty is high.
According to a 2013 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), over 70 per cent of young Malawians aged 15 and 29 are employed in the informal sector, often struggling to make a living without benefits or social security.
The Volunteer Framework is designed to instill professional skills into the young volunteers during their assignment and provide them with work experience, both of which, combined, are anticipated to increase their employability.
UNV Malawi has been instrumental in the development and process of the Volunteer framework as chair of the Volunteer for Development Taskforce.
The process got a boost through UNV advisory services, with the previous head of UNV’s Volunteer Knowledge and Innovation Section defining the steps for the establishment of the Volunteer Framework with the former Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development in 2016.
UNV Malawi will continue guiding the stakeholders through the process of establishing and implementing the same.