Heriot-Watt University

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University have built collaborative connections with a number of Malawian Universities and organisations, with a strong focus on water resources management and flood risk. Many of out Malawian graduates return to senior academic positions in the higher education sector, and maintain strong links with staff. Malawian academics are valued research partners in developing proposals for funded research. There are a number of partnered funding proposals under considerations and details will be shared for those that are successful. The Global Challenges Research Fund has also enabled the development of new collaborative partnerships, such as the link with the Malawi Congress of Trades Unions, to develop research on the rights of workers with disabilities.

Project 1: Working from the margins: Supporting trade unions in Malawi to improve disability inclusion

Working towards improving access to employment for workers with disabilities, sharing experience and good practice from Malawi and Scotland.

Area of work: Human Rights, Employment
Location of work:
Trades unions across Malawi

Project lead:
Jennifer Remnant
Contact details:

Partner organisation: Malawi Congress of Trades Unions, Malawi University of Science and Technology
Partner contact:
Limbani Kachali
Contact details:

Funding: Scottish Funding Council Global Challenges Research Fund

Description of project

This partnership strengthened the ties between trade unionists in Scotland and Malawi, based on their experience of supporting the rights of workers with disabilities.

Malawian partners were invited to UCU trade union activities in Edinburgh, including Denis Kalekeni, General Secretary of MCTU addressing the Edinburgh branch. Also MCTU stakeholders visited the UK’s Trade Union Congress head office in London and attended a meeting with Action for South Africa as well as completing an interview with Labour radio.

MCTU has now developed a full research policy and ethical framework for the inclusion in the labour market of people with disabilities.

Researchers Lena Wanggren and Jen Remnant part of the HWU Team also visited Malawi as part of the activities of this project. They have co-authored a chapter for publication:

Huque, S., Wanggren, L., Kachali, L. & Remnant, J. (Forthcoming) ‘Disability in government-controlled media and legislation in Malawi 2012-2019’ in Kent, M. & Rugoho, T. (Eds) Disability and Media – African Perspectives, London, Routledge.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The initial networking activity has been completed and the teams will continue to seek funding to support more collaborative activity.

MCTU have also become members of the Malawi-Scotland partnership as a result of the project which has already benefited them in terms of local partnerships and networks.