How the SMP is responding

The Covid-19 pandemic presents many significant challenges for Malawi, Scotland, and the bilateral relationship. The SMP is committed to doing all it can to support our members in Scotland and their partners in Malawi, through the pandemic. There has never been greater need for coordination, information sharing and solidarity.

In April 2020 we published a detailed Covid-19 Response Strategy and Risk Register (see base of this page for details) and are currently delivering six additional member services:

1. Hosting regular Covid Coordination Zoom meetings

These meetings bring members, key stakeholders and experts together to share information about Covid-19 in Malawi. Each meeting is attracting up to 250 key stakeholders across Malawi and Scotland, including: Government Ministers, Parliamentary Groups, and healthcare and NGO leaders across both countries.

Most Covid-19 coordination Zoom meetings last 2-hours, with high-level involvement. They have had a total attendance of over 1,587, with 674 different organisations and key individuals taking part.

  • 94% of the 470 that have given feedback on the SMP’s Covid coordination work have rated it as ‘Excellent’ or ‘very good’
  • 95% say the SMP’s support has strengthened their link with Malawi

We are committed to transparency: following the below links you can access full recordings of these meetings and associated notes, presentations, files and resources.

Details of past meetings, including full video, available following these links:

2. Disseminating news on the Covid-19 situation in Malawi

Sharing associated resources (posters, videos, documents in Chichewa and Chitumbuka, etc) and signposting to direct support on offer for our members’ partners in Malawi affected by Covid-19. See our dedicated webpage

3. Promoting fundraising appeals

Helping support and promote 20 different covid-related appeals, many run by or for our members. This includes both appeals for those fighting Covid and for those affected by Covid. See our dedicated webpage

4. Facilitating coordination on this issue of Oxygen supply

A crucial challenge in Malawi in this coming period. See our dedicated webpage

5. Advocating for urgent and equitable access to vaccines in Malawi

We think it is simply wrong that most of Scotland is fully vaccinated but only a tiny percentage of Malawi has had this opportunity. In an interconnected world, no one is safe until everyone is safe and we join Malawi in calling for an equitable global distribution of vaccines.

6. Promoting the Principles of Good Practice

For both NGOs and funders, agreed by consulting widely across Malawi and Scotland. See our dedicated webpage

7. Sharing members’ and partners’ perspectives on the ground in Malawi

See our dedicated webpage

8. Continuing to consult members on the impact of Covid-19 on their work

Developing services in response to member needs and priorities. Email to share your input.

SMP Covid-19 Strategy and Risk Register

We recognise that the sheer scale of the crisis, the fact that travel between Scotland and Malawi has been so badly hit, and the fact that covid restrictions made in-person events problematic, all meant that we needed to think strategically about how we as a national network respond. It was not enough to simply move our existing plans to digital platforms. Instead, we thought afresh about what support, services and advice we should most usefully be offering our members in this challenging new reality.

We quickly developed a detailed SMP Covid-19 Response Strategy in April 2020 and a thorough Covid-19 Risk Register. Given how exceptional and far reaching the crisis is, this Covid Strategy and Risk Register is supplementary to the SMP’s existing wider 2020-23 Strategic Plan and overarching Risk Register.

We are keen to share both of these documents publicly here to inform and engage our members, partners and funders, and to support our members who are themselves developing their own thinking in these areas. All members are welcome to borrow from either of these documents, however and whenever they wish.

We are now moving to a hybrid model of events, as we recognise that while we all miss the face-to-face, the shift to digital has brought many exciting opportunities, not least in terms of Malawi participation in all our meetings (a recent Scottish Parliament Malawi Cross Party Group meeting we hosted had 75% of its attendees joining from Malawi

Our Covid-19 Response Strategy outlines four key strategic priorities which will underpin our work through the coming year:

  • CONTINUITY: We will adapt and evolve our current work and plans to ensure business continuity, wherever this desirable, appropriate and possible.
  • SUPPORT: We will deliver additional, tailored support to those affected by the crisis, including: members, those in Malawi, travel partners, and our staff.
  • INNOVATION: We recognise that there are many challenges but also opportunities, including to develop innovative new digital modes of support and sharing. We will specifically look to develop innovative new services and support for school and youth groups who have had to cancel long-planned Malawi trips.
  • INSPIRATION: We will look to inspire our members, the public and the media with stories of Scotland-Malawi collaboration, to keep members’ spirits up and ensure we remain an outward-looking country, investing in the future of our 160-year old friendship with Malawi.

The Covid-19 Risk Register examines risk across three categories: (1) Risk within the SMP, where the SMP has direct risk exposure. This is broken down into: (1a) internal risks, (1b) operational risks, and (1c) financial risks; (2) Risk with Members, where the SMP has indirect risk exposure and needs to offer support, and; (3) Risk with Malawi, again, where the SMP has indirect risk exposure. For each, the Register quantifies risk, gives commentary, and identifies mitigating and adaptive actions.

The Risk Register finds that the SMP has acted quickly and effectively to date to mitigate the worst risk as far as it can be ascertained. It is now well positioned to continue to deliver core services, adapted to this new reality and to coordinate, represent and support Scotland’s links with Malawi.