My Scholarship Journey; How to get university scholarships in Malawi?

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By: Susan Ngwira

Everyone has a different story when it comes to university scholarships in Malawi; for some, it’s just once off which is very good and I would love if it was like that for everyone, for others it takes a while and “fortunately” I belong to the latter. Yes “fortunately” because it made me to grow, have patience and persistence.

I remember my first time applying for the scholarship; I was so eager and confident. Then I received a letter “we regret to inform you” that reduced my morale a bit. I told my friend Eunice and she introduced me to someone (mentor) “Loraine”.

university scholarships in malawi


My first thoughts were; I am not good in writing a letter of intent or motivation letter,so I told her thinking that she will write for me. Oooooh no She didn’t. Instead, she took her time and sent me an email detailing how I can write a good letter of intent/motivation letter.

Then I remembered a proverb ‘do not give a child fish but teach him/her how to fish’. She is a good teacher & mentor. She is selfless, took her time to guide me whom she has never met, the definition of love.

Now I have a mentor, friend and my family supporting me, but still, I received countless rejection letters. Other letters could say “sorry highly qualified individuals applied for this scholarship”. Then it hit me and started questioning if I have any chance of getting one. I remember my mum saying; don’t give up your time will come.

Nothing good comes for free

All this time I was spending money on the admission fees to the universities linked to some scholarships as well as spending on transport. One time I had MK60,000 in my savings and I got all of it and paid for application. That scholarship I passed phase one and phase two and failed the final phase. Well, it encouraged me a bit as it was my first positive letter in my scholarship application.

Note; you are not required to pay for a scholarship this was admission fees for a University as some scholarships require one to be admitted to the university first. I did some consultations before paying.

Finally, there was this scholarship “ABE Initiative scholarship” so demanding, thus multiple essays and formal documents which required a lawyer/judge to certify.

I spent money processing and sending the documents. I remember one guy said ‘what if you are not successful? Because you are spending a lot of money on something which you are NOT guaranteed that you are going to be successful’

Note: If you are afraid of spending then you won’t get any university scholarship in Malawi.

The resulting joy

After some months I received a letter inviting me for the interviews (ABE Initiative scholarship). I celebrated as if I have the scholarship already. I got invited again for phase 2 interviews and final phase. All this time I was traveling back and forth (spending again).

Then I received a call around 5:30 pm stating that I am one of the successful candidates. Well, I thought it was a mistake. I couldn’t believe till the next day when I received an email. Now am in Japan on a full scholarship.

Additional Tips to get University scholarships in Malawi

  • Read the details/requirements of the scholarship before applying because no one will do it for you.
  • No one will just give you the scholarship; you have to work for it and demonstrate that you are a suitable candidate.
  • Surround yourself with positive people; those that are going to help and encourage you.
  • Be prepared to spend.
  • To those who have already acquired one, start giving back by being mentors etc to those who are still working on getting one.


  1. Johannes Phiri
  2. Stellah

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