Lilongwe - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

There are people available. What you pay depends on their years of experience and whether they live on or off compound. A newbie might start out with 100,000 kwacha a month. Some employers add in transport and food if staff live off the compound. It depends. People employ drivers, cooks, nannies, housekeepers, and gardeners. - Jul 2020

Employees of the Embassy often have at least a gardener and a housekeeper. As its a popular post for those with small children, some have a 2-in-1 nanny/housekeeper, but others have two. Others have drivers and cooks. Embassy and other diplomatic missions often pay higher than local employers and even then the salaries average about US$125 a month for a gardener and US$250 a month for a full time nanny -- both with additional benefits such as housing (there are some live in places on employee compounds), medical, food and transport allowance, school fees, etc. - Feb 2020

Help is cheap and, for the most part, eager to work; gardeners might get paid US$80-$100 per month. A good housekeeper might get paid US$120 and a good Nanny might make US$150-$200. However, you get what you pay for: the villagers that fill most of these positions do not seem highly educated and finding one with both experience around middle-class items (for example, knowing NOT to plug your 110v TV directly into the 240v wall socket after moving it to clean) and with the common sense to figure out the things he or she hasn't seen before can be very difficult. - Sep 2018

Help is plentiful and ends up costing about $120 a month. Everyone has a gardener and a housekeeper. Some will also get a nanny and a cook. Often a nanny or cook will also do housekeeping. Most people employ 2-3 individuals. - Jul 2017

Household help is great; housekeepers, cooks, gardeners, nannies, drivers are all available. Most houses have staff quarters and but not all people have their staff live on property. Prices vary depending on full time or part time and how many roles the staff play, how big your houses is, and how many children you have. For 2 people in a medium size house with a full time housekeeper is approx US$150-180/month and the same for a gardener. It is also often expected to provide additional money for lunch food, a uniform 2x/year, and possibility a 13th month/holiday bonus. Some staff like their salary to be pinned to the dollar since the kwacha fluctuates a lot and it's currently very low. - Oct 2016

Very available and inexpensive. - Aug 2015

Very affordable--between US$125-$200 per month. Do not expect proactive staff. Treasure and encourage anyone who works for you who demonstrates proactiveness as being passive is the norm. - Sep 2013

Very available and very cheap. We have a nanny, a housekeeper, and a gardener. The nanny and gardener share the staff quarters on the property, so the nanny is around to babysit when we want to go out, and the gardener can water at the odd times when water is available. We pay each less than $100 a month. - Sep 2012

Very available and very cheap. We had a full-time housekeeper/nanny for about $70/month and a gardener for about the same amount. - Sep 2009

Capacity in Malawi is low and it is difficult to find qualified help. The good help that is available will most likely cost between $100-150/month. - Jul 2009

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