As a transparent and member-led network, every six months the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) publishes a report on its activities and impact.
This report covers the period 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018 and compliments the formal reporting to the Scottish Government, updating the interim mid-year April-September 2017 report. This report aims to keep members briefed and engaged on the work of the Partnership through the year and our progress against the outputs, outcomes and impact of our 2017-20 Strategic Plan.
This has been an extremely busy and productive year for the Scotland Malawi Partnership, with some of our largest and most impactful events and engagements to date. We have also received record feedback from members and partners highlighting the positive impact they have experienced over the last 12 months. Of particular note were the record breaking AGM, the Youth Congress at Hampden Park, our many Member Forums in areas such as Health and Higher Education, our Commonwealth events around CHOGM, the Lake of Stars Glasgow festival, and our BuyMalawian campaign.
We had unprecedented impact, influence and support in both Holyrood and Westminster, and with both the Scottish and UK Governments. We established a new Malawi All-Party Parliamentary Group in Westminster and further developed our Malawi Cross Party Group in Holyrood, organising the first ever joint-meeting between the two Parliaments in this way. Around 100 of Scotland’s 129 MSPs recorded personal video messages of support, including the First Minister, all the Cabinet, all the Party Leaders and the Presiding Officer.
In the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) the Scotland Malawi Partnership was repeatedly referenced as a model of country-to-country and people-to-people cooperation to inspire the Commonwealth of Nations in the coming years.
At the end of this year in review the University of Edinburgh estimated that SMP membership now represent a community of 109,000 Scots working with Malawi (a 16% increase since 2014), generating £50m of inputs annually (20% increase) from civil society, and benefiting over 2.9m Malawians each year (45% increase).
The Partnership was celebrated in the media, in parliament and in government as having an innovative and impactful model for others to follow. Perhaps most memorably, representing the UK Government, then Minister of State for Africa described the “genius of the Scotland Malawi Partnership” in Parliament saying:
“…I pay tribute to the Scotland Malawi Partnership—genuinely one of the most unique, remarkable, interesting and human interweavings of two nations anywhere in the world.”
“There are three things from which we can learn. The first is … the civic multiplier—the way in which the Scotland Malawi Partnership, with a relatively modest amount of money, can draw on all the institutions to create a much richer partnership and be more than the sum of its parts. The second element, which has come through time and again in today’s speeches, is mutual respect. Everyone who spoke talked a great deal about equality and about how we can learn as much from Malawi as it can learn from us. Finally, there is the genius of co-ordination and connections. Since 2005 the work of the Scotland Malawi Partnership has been not to create the connections, but to find them and mine them—to draw them out of the soil and reveal to us that thick web of connections between two nations, essentially putting Malawians on the board. That is a very important part of the work of the Scotland Malawi Partnership”
“…What is so striking about the Scotland Malawi Partnership is that it has found ways of engaging a whole human population. Britain could do that in Malawi or in Tanzania, Uganda or Nigeria. It is a very exciting way of thinking about how to do development in the 21st century. The fact that so many right hon. and hon. Members are here championing international development shows how these human connections give us the legitimacy and centre to make progress…”
The SMP cannot overstate the importance of the core funding it receives from the Scottish Government. The positive impact detailed in this report would not have been possible without the continued far-sighted support of the Scottish Government. While maintaining our independence from government and our political neutrality, we continue to be extremely grateful for this support and look forward to continuing to work closely with the Scottish, UK and Malawian Governments in the coming years.