Our board of trustees bring a wealth of skills and experience to guide our focus.
Professionally, Heather was a consultant Clinical Scientist in the NHS, based in Laboratory Medicine and R&D Director of NHS Lothian. These senior positions meant she acquired a wide range of relevant skills from training of scientists to diagnostic virology, from change management to employee relations, from financial management to research facilitation. She was founder Director of the Scottish National HPV Reference Laboratory, set up a Scotland-wide network of HPV investigators and established a national sample archive, the combination of which has meant that Scotland is a world leader in vaccine effectiveness and HPV expertise.
Since retirement, Heather has been actively involved in cervical cancer screening and treatment in Malawi, associated with two Scottish Government funded projects, the first running in Nkhoma Mission Hospital and 10 surrounding health centres from 2013-2016 and the second, led by Dr Christine Campbell of the Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh called MALSCOT and funded from 2018-2024. Together the programmes have reached over 107,000 women who had never been able to access cervical screening and led to 70% of women with early lesions receiving same day treatment.
She is passionate about the respectful and truly reciprocal partnership developed with Nkhoma, in keeping with SMP partnership principles and which led to close involvement with the SMP through membership of the Board which she saw as an effective mechanism to advance valuable links and develop lasting friendships. She has been a member of both the Audit and Finance Committee and the HR Committee since about 2016 and Chair since 2019. Her three terms as a Trustee will end in 2024.
Before visiting Malawi for the first time in 2005, Susan’s professional career was either in politics or journalism, sometimes both.
For the last 15 years, Malawi has been the main focus of her work, and she has visited at least once a year, for work and increasingly to spend time with friends.
She worked on the first bi-lateral agreement between our two governments, and from 2007 has been a freelance governance adviser, working with Scottish NGO the Active Learning Centre and its Malawi partner, the Women’ Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC).
In recent years Susan has worked with councillors in Malawi on two capacity building programmes, sharing her insights gained as a councillor in Edinburgh for seven years.
In 2019 she and her husband lived in Malawi for six months, researching a book, The Spirit of Malawi, which will be published in February 2021. She also filed a weekly column Letter from Malawi for the Scotsman. She still writes for the Scotsman every Saturday, on a range of topics.
Susan previously served as a board director for the Scotland Malawi Partnership for several years, and is a trustee of 500 miles and the McConnell International Foundation.
Edward is Professor of Applied Health Research and Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, UK. His current research, focuses on intervention development and theory-led evaluation of mental health, pre-hospital emergency care, allied health & related global health interventions and systems.
Edward’s family connection with Malawi stretches back to the early 1960’s when his mother worked in Zomba, before she was married. Consequently, he grew up hearing stories of Malawi, its people, culture and environment. In 2016 Edward and his family visited Malawi for the first time with his parents, which commenced his personal connection with Malawi.
Recognising the potential for collaboration and partnership working with academics and public sector colleagues working in similar research areas to himself in Malawi, in 2016 Edward formed the Safe Roads Africa research collaborative (www.saferoadsafrica.com), which has since gained research funds from the Medical Research Council to improve the prevention of and response to road traffic collisions in Malawi and beyond.
John is a Chartered Accountant who has held senior finance and commercial leadership positions in a range of public and third sector/charity organisations here in Scotland and more widely across the UK.
John’s connection to Malawi dates back to 2011/12 when he had two spells totalling around four months working with a micro-finance charity in Malawi. His main work during this time was to help the organisation upgrade the finance systems and processes used to manage its loan portfolio.
John joined the SMP’s Audit & Finance Committee in 2012. He has been a trustee of a Scottish charity working in the social care sector since 2016.
Blessings is a PhD student at Queen Margaret University studying International Health and Development, with a particular focus on elderly carers of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi. Blessings has been a Board member with four SMP members (Global Concerns Trust, Tearfund, StekaSkills and MIND), she has a wealth of knowledge about Malawi, the sector and Charitable Governance.
Barry has decades of experience working with Malawians in clinical settings, especially in the area of Emergency Medicine for which his team has received many awards and as advisor to the British Red Cross.
Davie Luhanga offers vast experience, understanding and knowledge of Malawian culture. He has worked with several different groups and organisations in Malawi. This has continued through his six years of living in Scotland where he has been able to work with various youth groups, schools and organisations through his music. I has strong leadership skills and enjoys working with people from different nations and races.
Yonah is a co-founder of the Association of Malawians in Scotland and was an SMP Board member a decade ago. He is currently Chair of the SMP Higher & further Education Forum and his current work concentrates on decolonial and anti-racist approaches in education.
Tracy Morse has lived and worked in Malawi in public health research and higher education for the last 20 years, recently returning to Scotland with her family to a new role within the University of Strathclyde as Head of the Centre for Sustainable Development. Within both her professional and personal life she is still very much engaged with Malawi through both her academic work, and engagement with organisations such as FROM Scotland and Open Arms Malawi. Tracy is passionate about ensuring that we effectively support Malawi's development through the priorities of her citizens to help the most vulnerable and marginalised in society. Tracy's work has involved not only research which has provided evidence for Malawian policies and strategies, but she has also been a trusted voice with colleagues and the Government of Malawi in the development of strategies and training programmes at a national level. She is a strong believer in community led development models, which aim to understand and focus on the context and priorities of the population rather than donor imposed priorities using interdisciplinary approaches.
Rachel Phillips was born in Lilongwe Central Hospital in 1984 to Irish and Scottish parents who lived in Malawi from the 1960s to the 1990s. Rachel left Malawi when she was 11 but, like many displaced diaspora, became passionate about her original home and has travelled back 11 times.
Rachel's continued interest in Malawi, sub-Saharan Africa and politics, led her to take a couple of years out from medical training in Edinburgh, and between her second and third years she undertook an intercalated BSc at University College London where she was awarded First Class Honours in International Health.
Later on, before her final year, she spent a year in South Africa volunteering for Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) – the largest NGO in South Africa that campaigned for a national roll-out of anti-retroviral medication in the public sector during a period of governmental AIDS denialism.
She is now a GP in Edinburgh with an interest in medical education and postgraduate training in primary care.
Sally Rae first fell in love with Malawi in 2011 when Linda MacDonald (MUMS) encouraged her to consider Malawi as a venue for the GWC annual school trip. After two weeks’ visiting various MUM’s feeding stations, 500 Miles Clinic and a range of accommodation. Sally has since organised eight trips, each growing in popularity - now taking 44 pupils.
Sally spent an extended sabbatical with Open Arms in 2013 and since then has organised trips for adults who have been inspired to learn more about GWC's activities in Malawi.
Kevin has great experience in charity leadership and governance. He founded Malawi Fruits in 2015 and is currently its CEO.
Judith has spent the majority of their professional life working for, volunteering for or studying the charity and voluntary sectors and are driven by a passion for social justice. Judith initially volunteered in community development in Guatemala which started their journey working in international development and solidarity. This led them to working for Christian Aid in Latin America and the Caribbean before working as the CEO of Progressio Ireland (international development organisation).
Judith moved back to Scotland to be closer to family and spent eight years working as Head of Engagement with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) in which time they lead the Regulator’s work on Safeguarding, out of which came a new piece of guidance for the sector. They then went on to become CEO of Children in Scotland.
Judith has a PhD which explored empowerment in development and is currently deputy Chair of the Corra Foundation.
Emma Wood is chair of the charity STEKAskills and a senior lecturer at Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh. STEKAskills (which won an SMP member award in 2019) is a small grassroots charity with a number of Malawians and members of the Malawian diaspora on the board. It has raised in excess of £80,000 in just two years to fund the development of a STEKA Centre for Vocational Skills and Community Enterprise just outside Blantyre, Malawi (the vision of Malawian social entrepreneur and children’s’ rights campaigner, Godknows Maseko). The charity focusses on building solidarity between communities in Scotland and Malawi. Working with a team of young poverty experienced people at the STEKA care home in Blantyre, and its leader, Godknows Maseko, Emma co-produced a new way for young Scots to interact with poverty experienced peers when they visit Malawi on school trips. This initiative attracted an international development grant from the Scottish Government and offers an innovative alternative to the voluntourism model often followed when young people travel to Malawi to ‘make a difference’.
The report evaluating the initiative shows that both the Malawians and young Scots found the experience of participating in the Dialogue Groups life changing and young Scots developed a deep understanding of resilience, the damaging impact of gender inequality, structural inequality and climate change.
John has worked on the protection of vulnerable groups over the last 30+ years. As a police officer he has worked extensively on training and capacity building internationally across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
As Head of International Development and Innovation he led Police Scotland’s Africa program, with significant emphasis on Malawi, where he has worked with the Malawi Police, Social Services and Health Services, Scottish Government, UK Government, the EU and UN Women, as well as a huge variety of NGO’s on projects designed to protect the most vulnerable.
Since 2013 John has also been involved in significant international projects with 5Rights Foundation in protecting children and young people on line including international standards https://engagestandards.ieee.org/Childrens-tech-design-governance.html , with Arabian Child designing and delivering practical and effective training as well as with UNICEF in Bhutan.
John is currently Head of Safeguarding for the Scottish Episcopal Church and has worked with the SMP Safeguarding Committee since 2020.