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Scotland Malawi Partnership
Founded 2004
Type Umbrella Organisation
Focus Fostering cross-societal links between Scotland and Malawi
Area served
Scotland, Malawi
Method Co-ordination of existing projects/links, investigation into and promotion of new projects, and advocacy on behalf of members
Key people
Leo Williams, Coordinator

The Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) is an non-profit umbrella organisation that was formed on 22 April, 2004 with the aim of coordinating the activities of Scottish individuals and organisations with existing links to Malawi, and fostering further links between both countries. The Partnership currently consists of approximately 270 members.

Mission Statement[edit]

The Scotland Malawi Partnership is an independent charitable membership organisation. It aims to foster links, consistent with our values, between the two nations, and encourage development of sustainable projects in Malawi by:

  • Raising awareness and encouraging support for that aim through enthusing members and supporting their activities
  • Acting as a forum for encouraging best possible practice in member organisations and enabling the provision of training and the sharing of ideas, processes and information
  • Enabling organisations in Scotland, including NGOs, to take advantage of opportunities which may arise for supporting activities in Malawi, particularly those involving Civil Society
  • Encouraging organisations to support activities which, through mobilising Civil Society, will lead to a reduction of poverty in Malawi and an improved standard of living for all strata of Society
  • Developing support mechanisms which can lead to an exchange of people and/or advance cultural, political or economic understanding between Scotland and Malawi
  • Informing its members of activities, opportunities or items of significance arising in either Scotland or Malawi, particularly relevant plans and initiatives of Malawian individuals and organisations
  • Working with national Governments, Local Authorities, other NGOs and voluntary organisations to develop an infrastructure which can be used to benefit its member organisations in their Malawian activities
  • Informing Civil Society in Scotland about the work of the Partnership and how the efforts of Civil Society can positively affect the situation in Malawi

The Scotland Malawi Partnership will encourage every organisation and individual in Scotland with links to, or interests in, Malawi to become a member. This, in turn, will enable the Partnership to make a valuable contribution to facilitating a coherent, co-ordinated and mutually rewarding relationship between the two countries and to minimising any duplication of effort.


Scottish Links with Malawi[edit]

Links between Scotland and Malawi began with David Livingstone's journeys up the Zambezi and Shire Rivers to Lake Malawi in 1859, long before the borders of the modern nation of Malawi had been established. Both the Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland had established missions in Malawi by the mid 1870s. These missionaries persuaded the British Government to declare the area a British Protectorate. This colonial arrangement lasted, in various forms, until full independence was achieved on 6 July, 1964, with Malawi becoming a member of the Commonwealth.

Origins of the SMP[edit]

The Scotland Malawi Partnership was born from the 'Malawi Millennium Project' of the University of Strathclyde and Bell College, in response to the belief that there was a need to bring together under a single umbrella the many organizations and individuals throughout Scotland engaged in fostering and developing links between Scotland and Malawi.[1]

The Partnership was officially launched in the Glasgow City Chambers on April 22,2004 by the Lord Provosts of Glasgow and Edinburgh, with the support of Ibrahim Milazi, the High Commissioner of Malawi, and representatives from the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, the Church of Scotland, and the Scottish Catholic International aid Fund (SCIAF).[2] The Lord Provost of Glasgow and Dr Peter West (Secretary of the University of Strathclyde) thereafter traveled to Malawi, and, with the support of Norman Ling, the (then) British High Commissioner, and numerous prominent Malawians, established the Malawi Committee of the Scotland Malawi Partnership which held its first meeting on 28 September, 2004.

Developments Since Formation[edit]

On 29 April,2005 the Scotland Malawi Partnership held a 'Shaping the Partnership' consultative conference at the University of Strathclyde, attended by approximately 100 people - representatives of NGOs, universities, small charities, hospitals and individuals with an interest in Malawi. Guests heard speeches from Ms Patricia Ferguson MSP, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport; The Lord Provost of Glasgow; Professor David Rubadiri, Vice Chancellor of the University of Malawi; Dr Peter West and the Rev Howard Matiya Nkhoma, General Secretary of the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). The proposed structure and remit of the Partnership were decided upon. [3]

Shortly after this meeting, an Interim Board was formed, with the Rev Prof Ken Ross as the Chair and Dr Peter West as the Vice Chair. Three founding members of the Scotland Malawi Partnership were subsequently identified - the Malawi Millennium Project, Malawi Tomorrow and Child Survival in Malawi.

Working in collaboration with the Scottish Executive, the Partnership staged a 'Malawi Health Workshop' in October 2005, attended by over 65 Scottish health professionals. This event reinforced the case for the Partnership making health one of its two priority sectors (education is the other). Delegates endorsed the Partnership's plan to maintain related databases for networking purposes.

November 2005 was a significant month for the Scotland Malawi Partnership. The Partnership's conference, 'Malawi After Gleneagles: A Commission for Africa Case-Study', was held at the Scottish Parliament, involving over 250 delegates from Malawi and Scotland engaged in debates about international development.[4][5] The First Minister, Jack McConnell MSP, and the President of Malawi, Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, were keynote speakers - and during the President's visit the Cooperation Agreement between Scotland and Malawi was signed.[6]

Other important developments in November 2005 were formal acceptance of the first applications for membership of the Scotland Malawi Partnership and confirmation of secure funding from the Scottish Executive for two years. The Partnership became a fully recognized legal entity on 12 December, 2005, having registered as a Scottish Charity (SC037048) [7] and as a Company Limited by Guarantee (SC294378) [8]. In the process, the Partnership's Memorandum and Articles of Association was also formally ratified.

From May 2006 a full time administrator, Leo Williams, was appointed, working from the University of Strathclyde. Assisted by seed funding from the Interim Board, the Malawi Committee held its official launch at the Capital Hotel in Lilongwe, attended by Ms Patricia Ferguson MSP and a delegation from the Scottish Executive, as well as numerous prominent Malawians. The Scotland Malawi Partnership was registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee in Malawi (7852) on 4 May, 2006.

June 2006 saw the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow become Honorary Presidents of the Scotland Malawi Partnership. In collaboration with the Committee of Malawians in Scotland, the Partnership staged a 'Malawi Independence Celebration' on 1 July to introduce the Partnership to as many Malawians as possible. Guests of honour included His Excellency Dr Francis Moto (Malawi High Commissioner to the UK), His Honour Mr Colin Cameron (Malawi Honorary Consul to Scotland), Ms Patricia Ferguson MSP and the Moyenda Band.

In August 2006 the Scotland Malawi Partnership relocated from an office in the University of Strathclyde to Edinburgh City Chambers.

With the transition to a Scottish National Party (SNP) Executive, the SMP was involved in gathering petitions and successfully lobbying the new government to ensure Scottish government funding support to Malawi would be maintained.[9][10]

Activities & Impacts[edit]

Since its inception in 2004, the Scotland Malawi Partnership has staged organisational conferences in Edinburgh and Glasgow, bringing together representatives of Malawian and Scottish civil societies, governments, churches, educational institutions and NGOs, as well as workshops dealing specifically with issues relating to health and education. Malawi Independence Celebrations are held in Scotland annually around 6 July to commemorate Malawian independence from the United Kingdom in 1964.

A significant component of the SMPs work involves the facilitation and coordination of partnerships between Malawian and Scottish primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions. Other activities include the establishment and oversight of working groups in the fields of microfinance, governance and housing cooperatives, linguistic training of Scots intending on travelling to Malawi, and contributing to the formation of the Scotland Malawi Business Group and the Scotland Malawi Governance Forum. The SMP provides information and feedback to the Scottish Executive and the Department for International Development on behalf of, and in consultation with, members.

Since the signing of the Scotland Malawi Cooperation Agreement, some 58 projects involving Partnership members have benefited from Scottish government funding, including the Mary’s Meals project, which feeds Malawian schoolchildren, and the Malawi Millenium Project to deliver equipment to schools for visually-impaired children.[11]

School Partnerships Working Group[edit]

In November 2006 the Scotland Malawi Partnership formed a School Partnership Working Group to coordinate requests from Scottish schools to create partnerships with Malawian schools. This working group brings together numerous organisations involved in school partnerships, including the Scottish Executive, Scottish International Relief, UNICEF, Link Community Development, the League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers, the British Council, ScotDec, the Church of Scotland, the International Development Education Association of Scotland (IDEAS), and representatives of schools with existing partnerships.

In recent years, school links between Malawi and Scotland have increased from around 10 schools to over 100.[12] A majority of the Scottish schools involved in these partnerships are members of the SMP.

Organisational Structure & Members[edit]

Princess Anne and Dr Bingu wa Mutharika are the Honorary Patrons of the SMP and the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow are the Honorary Presidents.


The following bodies provide funding to schools involved in the SMP School Partnership scheme:

  • The Scottish Executive (via the Scottish Executive International Development Fund, and the Scottish Executive Small Grant Scheme)
  • DfID Global Schools Partnership (DGSP)
  • Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
  • League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers
  • Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (CYEC)
  • The British Council (via the "Connecting Classrooms" and "Dreams and Teams" programs)
  • Learning Teaching Scotland


External Links[edit]

Category:Charities Category:Charities based in the United Kingdom Category:Charities based in Scotland Category:Organisations based in the United Kingdom with royal patronage Category:International charities Category:Development charities