Understanding the ‘White Saviour’ complex and ‘volun-tourism’
This session supports a critical understanding of ‘white saviour’ behaviours, which see white people depicted as liberating, rescuing or ‘saving’ Black and People of Colour (BPoc) communities. It identifies key aspects of ‘white saviourism’, highlights how damaging and dangerous they can be, and gives practical advice on how to avoid ‘white saviourism’ in international working. It also explores the pros and cons of ‘volun-tourism’, through the critical lens of ‘white saviourism’, and discusses how learners can themselves challenge ‘white saviourism’.
Power and poverty, a critical understanding
A session exploring the scale of inequality between Scotland and Malawi (the global north and the global south), some of the structural causes of poverty and the continuing relationship between poverty and power. It highlights some of the challenges of having an equitable relationship where there is a power imbalance and the difference between equity and equality. It helps learners identify continuing global injustices and power imbalances which can reinforce poverty and gives practical examples of how this can be challenged through activism. Examples include: Malawi’s role in SADC and the UN LDC group, and the injustice inherent in different delegation sizes in COP26 and other key global negotiations.
The power of images and video: the narratives we construct
A session exploring what images learners have of “Africa” and “Malawi” in their heads and where these images came from. Are they accurate? Are they fair? Are they helpful? The session supports empathy, encouraging learners to think about different perceptions of people in Scotland and how these make us feel. It explores the challenge for the media, charities and activists of wanting to accurately reflect the human implications and social injustice of extreme poverty in Malawi, while not reinforcing negative stereotypes or continuing a narrative of pity which undermines Malawi’s long-term economic development. The session works to dispel harmful stereotypes, showing Malawi in a positive and progressive light, highlighting the many successful Malawi-led development initiatives, encouraging empathy and critical reflection of the language and images which learners use and consume regarding Africa.
The case for Climate Justice
This session looks at the real, human impact of the climate crisis in Malawi, now and in the future. It compares the likely impacts in Malawi and Scotland, and compares the relative contribution which each nation has made to causing the climate crisis in terms of carbon emissions. It takes a social justice approach, highlighting both instances of positive cooperation between Scotland and Malawi in the area of climate justice, and instances where the global north has repeatedly failed to deliver pledges for such support.
Understanding Malawi: its language and culture
This session looks to start building an understanding of Malawi, with basic insight into: where Malawi is; the Malawian flag; the currency in Malawi; traditional Malawian dress; as well as shopping and food. It teaches a few basic greetings in Chichewa. But, before this, the session takes time to explore what ‘culture’ means, discussing the complexities and sensitivities, encouraging empathy, and giving practical advice about how to avoid harmful stereotypes when discussing a ‘national culture’.
Scotland and Malawi: Understanding our shared history
A session which digs into the history of Scotland-Malawi relationships, looking to deconstruct the ‘loan traveller’ narrative around Dr David Livingstone and highlight the roles and stories of those around him. To consider Scotland’s role in the colonial project as well the Scots who fought for Malawi’s independence. To include learning about the role of John Chilembwe and other Malawian freedom fighters and an assessment of how they are remembered today. To support critical reflection around the “160 years of friendship” narrative and listen to a range of different perspectives with regards the legacy of Livingstone and others. The session includes reflections over the manifest and latent elements of colonial legacy which live on in today’s contemporary relationship.
In the coming weeks we are uploading to this page a number of draft ‘critical learning’ resources for Scottish schools and youth groups to discuss complex, sensitive and important matters with learners. We are keen to continue to consult others on these resources to make sure they are useful, appropriate and accurate. Please email your input to our Youth & Schools Officer, Chad Morse, at firstname.lastname@example.org.