Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity

Co-designed with and co-hosted by our sister network, the Malawi Scotland Partnership, we were delighted this week to explore 'Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity' in Scotland, Malawi, and in our bilateral relationship.

UK time 11:00 – 12:30 Malawi time 13:00 – 14:30
Location Zoom
Watch back here

If you missed or would like to revisit this event, the video recording can be found to the right of this text, or click the link to the specific speaker you want to hear in the ‘Agenda’ section below.

60 key organisations and individuals gathered on Zoom on Wednesday 9th February to engage with constructively open observations and insights from speakers: Godknows Maseko, Gift Thompson, Emma Wood, Joyce Phiri, Commissioner Chokondi Chijozi, George Hopkins, Councillor Graham Campbell, Federico Marchiolli and Pastor Mphatso Chidothe.

It is recognized that the thematic areas covered are not exhaustive in representation and that ongoing openness and reflection will continue. This is not the end of the conversation.

We asked everyone joining this meeting to come with an open mind and a willingness to listen to and engage viewpoints different to their own in a respectful manner.


This event aimed to:

  • explore equity, diversity and inclusion in Scotland, Malawi, and in our bilateral relationship together, listening to a range of voices and views
  • explore the cultural context in both Scotland and Malawi and highlight work being done to increase inclusivity in both nations
  • explore who in each country might currently be excluded from the bilateral relationship, surfacing issues respectfully
  • consider how we, as a community, can help build inclusive working practices, hearing positive and negative experiences from a spectrum of individuals
  • discuss the benefits of widening participation and generate practical suggestions as to how to encourage this in Scotland and Malawi
  • identify scope for meaningful, relevant training at a future date for our members and the secretariates of the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) and Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP).


Please find the full agenda below. Contributions from our named speakers were recorded, and you can click the timestamps below to jump to the relevant section of the video. Any open discussion and Q&A sections were not included in the final recording.


  • 0:00 Welcome & scene-setting - David Hope-Jones & Stella Masangano, Chief Executives of the Scotland Malawi Partnership & Malawi Scotland Partnership

Equity, diversity and inclusivity in the bilateral relationship:

  • 9:30 Hearing the voices of the poverty-experienced - Godknows Maseko, Gift Thompson & Emma Wood, STEKA House; STEKAskills & SMP Trustees - Please find the slides from this presentation HERE. We also encourage you to explore STEKAskills' YouTube channel and watch this TEDx talk by Godknows.
  • 17:33 A Malawian Diaspora and multi-faceted viewpoint - Mrs Joyce Phiri, Chair Association of Malawians in Scotland, SMP member

Equity, diversity and inclusivity in Malawi:

  • 25:29 Malawi Human Rights Commission’s work, priorities & perspectives - Commissioner Chokondi Chijozi, Commission Representative
  • 36:43 An LGBTQ+ perspective from Malawi - George Hopkins, Programmes Manager, Nyasa Rainbow Alliance (NRA) - Please find the slides from this presentation HERE.
  • 1:10:31 Malawian culture - Pastor Mphatso C.M. Chidothe

Equity, diversity and inclusivity in Scotland:

  • 48:21 Perspectives from a veteran political campaigner & community activist - Councillor Graham Campbell, political campaigner, community activist and Glasgow's first African Caribbean Councillor
  • 58:44 Equitable practices & reducing the disability employment gap - Federico Marchiolli, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant at ENABLE Works - Please find the slides from this presentation HERE. Please also have a look at some of the training courses available from ENABLE Works.

Close of meeting:

  • 1:24:25 Actions & Concluding Remarks - David Hope-Jones & Stella Masangano


Below are the key points from the summary SMP CEO David Hope-Jones gave at the end of the meeting. He began by saying that all of us are united in believing in a bilateral relationship that is characterised by mutual respect and dignified partnership and that is not about one way charity and donors and recipients, but of human solidarity and that none of that is possible without taking seriously Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity. The Take-home messages and actions that David noted were:

Godknows Maseko saying that the vision must come 50-50 from both nations.

From Gift Thompson, that it must not be about mere representation but meaningful inclusion in decision-making. Emma Wood shared that it’s not easy – it takes time to create an open and honest space in which you can challenge and be challenged. The SMP’s new educational resources and lesson plans and forthcoming Partnership Guide will really seek to take account of the above points and be informed by valuable learning and insights from StekaSkills’ and Queen Margaret University’s work in Critical Dialogue models.

Great friend of the SMP, Joyce Juma Phiri, (who meets David very regularly and whose input is much valued, as is that of all members of the Association of Malawians in Scotland [AMS]) spoke passionately and rightly about the essential role the Malawian diaspora must have in the bilateral relationship. The diaspora has an integral and essential understanding of both countries and both cultures and it’s essential that those voices are heard at all levels. Joyce also spoke about the importance of Trade. David committed to the importance of getting back to quarterly meetings with AMS and any Malawian diaspora group in Scotland to listen hard and respond to a lot of that challenge. There is always much that both organisations can do as two networks to engage the diaspora better at both sides of the partnership and the SMP wants to do more.

Commissioner Chijozi spoke of the Malawi Human Rights Commission’s work supporting women and girls, supporting people with albinism and the LGBTQI+ Community and we also heard from George Hopkins at the Nyasa Rainbow Alliance. Perhaps the most useful thing we can do at the Scottish side, David said, is to amplify and reinforce their work, highlighting sensitively and appropriately and to stand in solidarity with their essential work (we recommend listening to some coverage of this in the People to people Podcast).

Listening to Councillor Graham Campbell, David’s biggest takeaway was on Scotland’s distinctive approach to International Development, that we must recognize the exploitative, latent and manifest legacy of the British Imperialist project and that recognition must underpin absolutely everything we do. The SMP has a Decolonization event happening in coming weeks and are in talks with a company who are looking at supporting the diaspora community in a speedier and more equitable manner to send remittances back to Malawi.

On Trade – promoting Malawian products, as we have the past 12 or 13 years is vital and we’ll look at re-starting the ‘Buy Malawian’ campaign. We are really keen to plug 21st February the start of Fairtrade Fortnight.

Scotland’s got Malawian rice and Malawian coffee. Please do buy Malawian products in Fairtrade Fortnight and beyond. There are structural issues of injustice to address (as we have been for the past 10 years). There’s the Double-taxation treaty of 1955, signed between the UK Government and the UK Government’s appointed Governor of Nyasaland. It is totally unacceptable that this is still defining the trade relations between the UK and Malawi. The UK Government have been saying for 20 years that they will update it – they must and it’s a clear legacy of colonialisation.

The SMP wants to highlight ENABLE’s excellent work increasing access to making services and HR patterns as accessible as possible to people with disabilities and promote ENABLE’s excellent links and offers.

On Culture – hearing from Pastor Chidothe, the main take-home was of never falling into the trap of saying – ‘this is Malawian culture…this is Scottish culture’ because it’s not homogenised, but pluralistic and we need to dig down into where notions of culture come from.

David ended with thanks mentioning that next week the SMP will launch its listening exercise on latent and manifest aspects of colonial rule; diaspora involvement; doing digital best and looking at our Partnership Principles, co-designed between Scotland and Malawi, as they celebrate their 10th year.


  • Following the contribution from Godknows Maseko, Emma Wood and Gift Thompson, we are ensuring that our updated School Partnerships Practical Guide and our associated 24 new learning resources, really embrace and build on the critical dialogues approach championed by Steka and QMU. If you would like to feed into the drafts of these resources, please email youth@scotland-malawipartnership.org. We welcome and value all input as these are developed.
  • Following the contribution from Joyce Juma Phiri, we are redoubling our efforts to meaningfully engage the Malawi diaspora community. This has been a key priority for the SMP for the last 15 years, with a great many outreach engagements and different approaches tried and there is aways more that can be done in this space. We have approached AMS and proposed restarting our Malawi Diaspora Advisory Group, with quarterly meetings, an open agenda, strong willingness to engage and make material changes, and a commitment to publish the minutes from these meetings. All diaspora groups are welcome to be involved in these discussions: email David to be involved.
  • Following the presentations by Commissioner Chokondi Chijozi (Malawi Human Rights Commission) and George Hopkins (Nyasa Rainbow Alliance), we have started a process of facilitating introductions with Scottish-based groups working on LGBTQ rights, with the hope of brokering new partnerships of solidarity. Email David to be involved in these discussions.
  • Following Pastor Mphatso C.M. Chidothe’s talk on Malawi culture, we are exploring two possible further events: one on cultural differences between Scotland and Malawi (email David to be involved), and one on performing the arts (email youth@scotland-malawipartnership.org to be involved).
  • Following Councillor Graham Campbell’s presentation we are:
    - developing an event looking at decolonisation,
    - looking at ways we can support remittances in the diaspora back to Malawi, exploring a partnership with Moto Money
    - shortly launching a major listening exercise on related themes
  • regarding trade justice, we are returning to our campaign to have the colonial era 1955 UK-Malawi Double Taxation Treaty updated, and are meeting with the British High Commissioner this week to ask for an update.
  • Working to support and amplify a major piece of work from the Scottish Fair Trade Forum on ethical procurement in Scotland. This will involve a major report with recommendations and parliamentary engagement in the spring.
  • To be involved in any of the above please email David to be involved.
  • Following Federico Marchiolli’s presentation, we are working with Enable Works to share information with our members about how they can tap into a range of services (including training courses) to support disability inclusive practices in Scotland.