Health Workforce Development

Building Capacity for the Long Term

Malawi faces a chronic shortage of healthcare workers, with 47% of nursing positions in public facilities vacant, gravely affecting accessibility and quality of care.

In response to acute need and limited government resources for health, GAIA builds long-term health infrastructure by funding the next generation of frontline healthcare workers. Working with the Ministry of Health and Population and partnering with local universities, GAIA supports the education and deployment of health worker cadres where they are needed most.

Program focus

Nursing Scholar Program

GAIA's Nursing Scholar Program provides wrap-around support for economically disadvantaged nursing students so that high quality health workers are trained, immediately licensed and deployed. Scholarships, psychosocial support, monthly stipends, clinical supplies, preparation and payment for licensure exams, ongoing follow-up, and a post-graduation service commitment ensures students complete their studies on time and are retained in the local health workforce.

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Empowering Women and Girls

Since 2005, 74% of GAIA nursing scholarships have been awarded to disadvantaged young women. Through the Nursing Scholar Program, recipients are empowered with the skills, tools and confidence to stay in school, secure quality employment, serve as role models for their communities and break intergenerational cycles of poverty.

Deploying New Health Workers

Through paid fellowships, GAIA provides salary support to newly graduated nurses who have secured internships before obtaining full-time employment. Initially funded by the Steward Family Foundation, GAIA's Fellowship Program bridges the gap between graduation, licensure and deployment to permanent positions.

In Service Training and Certification

At the community level, GAIA provides in service training and certification for rural clinic staff and community-based health workers to fill gaps in the healthcare grid now and increase capacity for the long term.

Scholar Graduate Awards

Nursing Scholar Program graduates often find themselves working in under-resourced settings with limited access to the tools needed to provide quality care. In response, GAIA offers grants of $1k - $10k to improve service provision at health facilities where alumni work. Graduate grantees also receive training to build communication and grant writing skills and strengthen their ability to advocate and apply for funding.


Nurses Make
a Difference


nursing graduates deployed to date



remain working in Malawi beyond their service commitment



of scholarships awarded to disadvantaged young women



of public sector registered nurses in Malawi are GAIA Scholars  

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Community Based Healthcare

Where fixed health facilities are limited, chronic conditions on the rise, and infectious diseases require timely, flexible response, GAIA brings healthcare to the community. Mobile outreach services are proven to effectively fill gaps in the existing healthcare grid and can shift priorities as needs and context change.

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