How the SMP is responding

The Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to Scotland and Malawi, and consequently for the SMP.   

We have 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 Zoom meetings bringing members, key stakeholders and experts together to share information about Covid-19 in Malawi. Each of these meetings brings together 60-80 members across Scotland and, in Malawi, key stakeholders including the heads of the College of Medicine, the Malawi Scotland Partnership, key civic society individuals and organisations in different regions of Malawi, the Ministry of Health, A&E departments, and other experts across Malawi.  Following the below links you can access full recordings of these meetings and associated notes and resources. The date of the next meeting will be announced soon.

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

  - Zoom Meeting 8: 3rd September

  - Zoom Meeting 7: 29th July 

  - Zoom Meeting 6: 1st July 

   - Zoom Meeting 5: 3rd June 

   - Zoom Meeting 4: 21st May (Co-Hosted with the Alliance)

   - Zoom Meeting 3: 13th May 

   - Zoom Meeting 2: 24th April 

   - Zoom Meeting 1: 31st March

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 CLICK HERE for dedicated new webpage 

3)     Disseminating news on the Covid-19 situation in Scotland, sharing associated resources and signposting to funding sources for our members affected by Covid-19 CLICK HERE for dedicated new webpage

4)     Promoting fundraising appeals flagged by our members, both for organisations responding to, and those affected by, Covid-19 in Malawi.  CLICK HERE for dedicated new webpage

5)     Sharing and members’ and partners’ perspectives on the ground in Malawi. CLICK HERE for dedicated new webpage

6)     Consulting members on the impact of Covid-19 on their work, and developing services in response to member needs and priorities.  Email David(at) to share your input.


SMP Covid-19 Strategy and Risk Register

We recognise that the sheer scale of the crisis, the fact that there is currently no travel between Scotland and Malawi, and the fact we will likely not be able to convene face-to-face meetings for a number of months, all means that we need to think strategically about how we as a national network respond.  It is not enough to simply move our existing plans to digital platforms.  Instead, we are thinking afresh what support, services and advice we should most usefully be offering our members in this challenging new reality.

We have therefore developed a detailed SMP Covid-19 Response Strategy 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 new 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 operating on the assumption that travel and social distancing restrictions will continue until the summer, meaning homeworking will continue for several months, and all engagements will need to remain digital.  We hope that key major events in the autumn, including the AGM, Youth Congress and the re-scheduled SMP Alexander McCall Smith operetta, will be able to go ahead as planned – but this assumption will be kept under review. 

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.