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Guide

FURTHER & HIGHER EDUCATION DIRECTORY

Revised February 2020

FOREWORD

Thumbnail Yonah

Dr Yonah H. Matemba

Cert. Ed., BA (QTS), MA, MTh, PhD, PGCertTLHE, FHEA.

Chair, the Scotland Malawi Partnership’s Further & Higher Education Forum School of Education, University of the West of Scotland.

Email: yonah.matemba@uws.ac.uk.

Scotland and Malawi have a long history of partnership in further and higher education. Many of those engaged in this dignified two-way exchange of learning have been vocal about the usefulness of the Scotland Malawi Partnership’s Directory of Further and Higher Education.

First produced in 2012, this document was refreshed in 2015 and we are delighted now to share with you the 2022, digital edition.

The essence of the directory is simple: to set-out what further and higher education (FE/HE) institutions in Scotland are doing in Malawi, where and with whom, and to share contact details.

This speaks to one of the core purposes of the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) - to connect individuals and institutions, helping to reduce duplication of effort and encourage collaboration, where appropriate.

The scale of the challenges which endure for the sector in Malawi is considerable and must be matched with an appropriate level of ambition. Inequitable access, lack of funding and difficulties in regulation persist. Malawi continues to have one of the lowest university enrolment rates in the world with a burgeoning youth population eager for opportunities in skills development, education and employment. As respectful friends, Scotland is alert and responsive to Malawi’s priorities and is keen to support home-grown solutions, often working with members of the Malawian diaspora internationally.

This is a dynamic sector and whilst many of the people-to-people relationships last a lifetime and interventions are designed with sustainability in mind, projects, personnel and contacts change. We rely on the diligence of practitioners to provide the SMP with updates. We are grateful to all those who have contributed to this latest edition and especially to the institutional Champions who have corralled colleagues and collated information. This Directory showcases a wealth of dignified two-way FE/HE collaboration and I warmly invite you to make active use of it.

ABOUT THE SCOTLAND MALAWI PARTNERSHIP

The Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) is the national civil society network coordinating, representing and supporting the many people-to-people links between our two nations. We represent a community of 109,000 people in Scotland with active links to Malawi. This is part of a shared history that dates back 160 years to the travels of Dr David Livingstone.

We believe the hundreds of partnerships which unite Scotland and Malawi represent an innovative new approach to international development. This is an approach based not on 'donors' and 'recipients' but on long-standing, mutually-beneficial community-to-community, family-to-family and people-to-people links, each on its own quite modest in scale but, together, a formidable force for progressive change.

We exist to inspire the people and organisations of Scotland to be involved with Malawi in an informed, coordinated and effective way for the benefit of both nations. We do this by providing a forum where ideas, activities and information can be shared on our website, through our online mapping tool, publications and through regular forums, training events and stakeholder meetings. In this way, we harness experience, expertise and enthusiasm from across Scotland and help inspire each new generation of Scots and Malawians to become involved together, in a variety of innovative new ways.

We are a membership organisation representing more than 1,300 Scottish organisations and key individuals, including half Scotland’s local authorities, every Scottish university and most of its colleges, 200 primary and secondary schools, dozens of different churches and faith-based groups, hospitals and health boards, businesses, charities and NGOs, and a wide range of grass-root community-based organisations. Our work permeates almost all aspects of Scottish civil society. Any Scottish organisation or individual with a link to, or interest in, Malawi is welcome to join the Scotland Malawi Partnership. It is quick and easy to join online.

DIRECTORY OF FE/HE PARTNERSHIPS

The index of universities, their projects, area of partnership can be found on this page.

University of aberdeen 1

University of Aberdeen

The Centre for Global Development (CGD) at the University of Aberdeen was created to facilitate and generate work on international development across the University. It espouses an interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach, recognising that future long-term research must be coordinated across all areas of sustainable development to maximise impact in less developed countries.

University of Dundee

University of Dundee

Over the years, the University of Dundee has developed links with Malawi primarily through its medical programmes. Through academic links and exchanges, research projects and policy work, Dundee has established close and constructive partnerships with a range of Malawian actors and institutions.

University of Edinburgh cover

University of Edinburgh

The university of Edinburgh currently has more academics working and researching with partners in Malawi than any other country in Africa. Across a wide range of disciplines, these partnerships are supported by funders including the Scottish Government, National Institutes of Health , Wellcome Trust, and the Global Challenges Research Fund.

Malawi is a core part of the University's Africa Plan and contributes strongly to its 2030 Strategy, which aims to build innovative global partnerships for research, teaching and impact.

Napier

Edinburgh Napier University

In the past, Edinburgh Napier University has developed links with Malawi in music, publishing, and other areas which have had distinct strengths as part of the University's goal to use its expertise to enhance the lives and prospects of people and their communities.

Membership of the Scotland Malawi Partnership also represents a further development of the international nature of the University.

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow Caledonian University

The centre for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University takes a global lead in action research and policy development within the field of climate justice. Their aim is to deliver pragmatic and lasting solutions which improve the wellbeing of society, enhance peoples rights and promote a climate-just world. Their work in Malawi so far has focused on climate justice, education, energy and water security.

University of glasgow cover

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow has very many successful collaborations and ongoing projects with academic institutions all across Malawi. Major funders including the Scottish Government, Wellcome trust, World Bank and the Global Challenges Research Fund are key in supporting University work across a wide range of disciplines.

Queen Margaret University cover

Queen Margaret University

Queen Margaret University is connected to Malawi through its institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD), a multi-disciplinary centre for research and postgraduate education, addressing contemporary health and development challenges in low and middle income countries.

In addition, QMU is in partnership with the Malawian NGO, STEKA, nd the QMU based Scottish charity STEKAskills. Through this QMU has successfully offered scholarships to two STEKA residents on 6 month filmmaking courses, a 4.5 year scholarship to a young resident currently studying a BA (Hons) in Public Sociology, and a further 100 students have benefited through the STEKA projects.

University of the west of scotland

University of the West of Scotland

In previous years, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) had projects in Malawi related to maternal health and professional up-skilling of medical staff. UWS colleagues have been involved in interdisciplinary funded research exploring the nutritional status of pregnant and postnatal women in villages in Malawi. Although currently, UWS does not have active projects in Malawi, the current chair of the SMP's Further and Higher Education Forum who is Malawian, works at UWS and is an active SMP members and also a members of the Malawian diaspora in Scotland.

For contact on Malawi related issues, please contact: Dr Yonah H. Matemba. Email: Yonah.matemba@uws.ac.uk.

Scotland rural college

Scotland's Rural College

Alongside the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and Mzuzu University, Scotland's Rural College has worked on livestock development projects since 2008. During this time, the partnerships have facilitated multiply staff exchange visits, join supervisions of research projects, training sessions, and workshop events.

St Andrews

University of St Andrews

St Andrews has previously been in a collaborative project with the college of Medicine in Blantyre, to assist with a major review or its medical curriculum. The changes were successfully implemented in 2009 and St Andrews has since continued to work on other Malawian projects, as well as remaining an engaged member of the Scotland Malawi Partnership.

University of Stirling

University of Stirling

The University of Stirling, in close collaboration with colleagues in Malawi, is engaged in a range of applied health across a range of research to develop cultures, communities and society, improve global security and resilience and developing and evaluating approaches and interventions to improve health and wellbeing outcomes.

University of Strathclyde cover

University of Strathclyde

The Strathclyde Malawi Programme is a valuable illustration of the University's contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, spanning student activities, research ad impactful knowledge exchange.

Over 20 years, Strathclyde has established a secure and expanding network of partners in Malawi, spanning universities, local and national government agencies, businesses and third sector organisation.

Open university cover

Open University in Scotland

The Open University has been involved in international education work in Malawi since 2008. This includes the Malawi Access To Teaching Scholarships (MATS) project (2012 - 2016), working to support over 900 marginalised young women from rural areas of Malawi through secondary education. As well as the 2017 co-project with Voluntary Services Overseas & Chancellor College, supporting teacher education in Malawi by facilitating of a MOOC for 180 teachers across Malawi.

The Open University is in the process of negotiating a contract for a new education programme in Malawi, beginning early 2020, which will continue OU's presence in country.

Heriot Watt University cover 2

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.

University of the Highlands Islands cover

University of the Highlands & Islands

The University of the Highlands and Islands is committed to supporting the work of the Scotland Malawi Partnership where possible - this includes, facilitating participation of our researchers in joint projects on areas of mutual interest, such as the impacts of pollutants poisons or toxicants on wildlife, the treatments of drinking water and antimicrobial resistance. We look forward to collaborating further in future. Key contact: Elizabeth McHugh: elizabeth.mchugh@uhi.ac.uk.

University of Aberdeen

The Centre for Global Development (CGD) at the University of Aberdeen was created to facilitate and generate work on international development across the University. It espouses an interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach, recognising that future long-term research must be coordinated across all areas of sustainable development to maximise impact in less developed countries.

Project 1: Aberdeen University and Zomba Theological College Collaborative Partnership

Empowering local church leaders

Area of work: Church Leadership
Location of work:
Zomba

Project lead:
Rev Dr Ken Jeffrey
Contact Details:
ksjeffrey@abdn.ac.uk

Partner organisation:
Zomba Theological College
Partner contact:
Rev Dr Takuze Chitsulo
Contact details:
tbchitsulo@yahoo.com

Funding:
Church of Scotland and Presbyterian Church of Canada
More information:
http://www.zombatheological.or...

Description of project

The project provides training to church leaders in Malawi through the MTh Ministry Studies programme facilitated by Aberdeen University and delivered at Zomba Theological College.

Fourteen ministers completed the programme in August 2019 and a further fifteen ministers joined the programme in October 2019.We build the capacity of Zomba Theological College through offering three members of staff a place on our distance PhD programme.

Due to Covid19, the MTh MS programme that started in 2019 was suspended between 2020 and 2022, but resumed earlier this year. The students will complete the programme in 2023.

Key successes and outcomes so far

Leadership Training for thirty CCAP church leaders in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Discussions are being held with the CCAP to discern further opportunities for collaborative projects.

University of Dundee

Over the years, the University of Dundee has developed links with Malawi primarily through its medical programmes. Through academic links and exchanges, research projects and policy work, Dundee has established close and constructive partnerships with a range of Malawian actors and institutions.

Projects

Project 1: Drug Discovery Training

Training Malawian scientists and technicians in the fundamentals of drug discovery science.

University of Dundee image 1

Area of work: Research Training, Drug Discovery
Location of work:
Blantyre

Project lead:
Suze Farrell
Contact details:
s.z.farrell@dundee.ac.uk

Partner organisation: College of Medicine at University of Malawi
Partner contact:
Fanuel Lampiao

Funding:
Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (Welcome Trust funding)
More information:
https://wcair.dundee.ac.uk/training/expert-visits/college-of-medicine-malawi/

Description of project

The Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research aims to support scientists looking for new medicines for neglected tropical diseases. These diseases have a disproportionate effect on countries in Africa, South America and Asia. While research will continue in Dundee, there is a need to build capacity in the drug discovery science that occurs in the countries most affected by the diseases themselves.

The University of Strathclyde worked with the College of Medicine, Blantyre, on the development of a Master’s course in Traditional Herbal Medicine. Their programme was called IMMPAQKT. We have continued to support some of the aspects of this programme by providing training (both taught and practical) on drug discovery science.

Teaching is delivered on an annual basis for 2 weeks in the College of Medicine in Blantyre. This teaching is open to individuals from other institutions in Malawi. Participants must be working on some aspect of drug discovery, and can engage with training in basic concepts and techniques for this type of research.

Another aspect of the partnership is the placements that we offer in Dundee. Part of the remit of the Wellcome Centre allows us to bring scientists from low-middle income countries to train with us in Dundee for periods of up to 1 year. We accept technical and/or academic staff who are working in Drug Discovery.

Key successes and outcomes so far

We have only had one trip so far so it is early to share successes. We have 2-3 individuals coming to train with us in Dundee based on the training programme in 2018. We are hoping they will be able to implement more good practice when they return to their roles in Malawi.

A second trip to the College of Medicine was planned for 2019. Training will be split to cover similar topics for new scientists attending, but also build upon the techniques taught last year to those returning for further training. This year we will also include training on Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics and this will be delivered to the Pharmacy students in the College as well.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Our funding is limited to train scientists in drug discovery. However, the development of a wider training programme in other related sciences may be beneficial to the country.

Public engagement with either public in the UK, Malawi or schools may be of benefit.

Trainees: we expect to have one PhD student from College of Medicine with us for a period of 9 months and a technician from MUST may join us in early 2020.

Project 2: Comparative analysis of communication during Health Education (HE) and Health Coaching (HC) in primary healthcare in Malawi

Exploring the characteristics of information communication in the Health Education model vs Health Coaching model

University of Dundee image 2

Area of work: Health, Education, Coaching
Location of work:
Blantyre

Project lead:
Prof. Peter Mossey
Contact details:
p.a.mossey@dundee.ac.uk

Partner organisation: School of Public Health & Family Medicine, College of Medicine
Partner contact:
Dr Susan Carnes Chichlowska
Contact details:
MPHTutor@medcol.mw

Funding: GCRF

Description of project

Study Summary
An ethnographic study comparing HE versus HC in an urban primary care setting in Malawi is proposed. This method utilizes video technology, safe haven image storage, observer software and coding expertise from the University of Dundee (UoD). Training of healthcare professionals by the accredited health coach on the HC approach over 3 months will be followed by video recorded observations of 40 HC and 40 HE scenarios on 2 types of healthcare professionals` communication with their patients; (a) Dentists and (b) Dental Therapists at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. A health professionals’ workshop by experts from the University of Dundee to be conducted in Blantyre, Malawi at the end of the study.

Background to the study

A significant cause of mortality and morbidity in Malawi is due to NCDs (Muula and Mpabulungi, 2007; Msyamboza et al, 2011). Over the years, the HE model for effecting behaviour change has shown relative ineffectiveness in NCDs prevention and control (Kivela et al, 2014). The HC approach is emerging as a potential tool which guides and prompts people to be active participants in managing change in their own behaviour (NHS England, 2019).

Key successes and outcomes so far

At the moment we are in the process of finalising the ethical application with the National Health Sciences Research Committee of Malawi (NHSRC).

Future and ideas for partnership development

The integration of the oral health agenda with other NCDs because of the shared risk factors will create collaboration with other health professionals. The recent affiliation of oral health to the NCD Alliance alongside partners in diabetes, CVD and cancers will provide an ideal platform for a cost effective health improvement strategy. This trans-sectoral approach with an emphasis on upstream factors such as the social determinants of health brings together oral and general health with potential for primary prevention of all NCDs.

Also, interdisciplinary health related research activities in Malawi have, via the Tayside Institute for Global Health (TIGH) and the Dundee Africa Research Network (DARN) raised awareness and uncovered a range of other research activities in different UoD schools which will mean great opportunities for coordination and cooperation.

The participants in this pilot will also be well placed to develop future study protocols e.g. a follow up RCT and jointly apply for major research and implementation grants.

University of Edinburgh

The university of Edinburgh currently has more academics working and researching with partners in Malawi than any other country in Africa. Across a wide range of disciplines, these partnerships are supported by funders including the Scottish Government, National Institutes of Health , Wellcome Trust, and the Global Challenges Research Fund. Malawi is a core part of the University's Africa Plan and contributes strongly to its 2030 Strategy, which aims to build innovative global partnerships for research, teaching and impact.

Projects

Project 1: Scholarships support for online Masters’ programmes in surgical training in Malawi

Edinburgh Surgery Online

Area of work: Health, Education, Research, Gender equality, Poverty reduction, Economic growth
Location of work:
All districts in Malawi

Project lead:
Prof James O. Garden
Contact details:
o.j.garden@ed.ac.uk

Lead for ESO Outreach Strategy/ Co-Lead: Dr Oluseye A. Ogunbayo
Contact details:
oogunbay@staffmail.ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSE); The College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA)
Partner contact:
College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA)
Contact details:
The College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) 157 Olorien,
Njiro Road ECSA-HC PO Box 1009 Arusha, Tanzania

Funding:
Johnson & Johnson, the Scottish Government, the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme UK, and the National Institute for Health Research
More information:
https://www.edinburghsurgeryonline.com/
https://www.edinburghsurgeryonline.com/scholarships

Description of project

Malawi, a landlocked country in sub-Saharan Africa, with a current population of over 19M people has the lowest physician-to-patient ratio (1:50000) in the world and less than 20 surgeons served the whole country in 2010. Current data however suggest that this alarming ratio remains unchanged. According to the Malawi Ministry of Health, major factors limiting the development of surgical services in Malawi include among others, inadequate production of medical graduates by medical training institutions to meet the country’s healthcare needs. This shortage of critical health staff is further worsened by the ongoing migration of young surgeons, whose personal training needs are not always met locally, to developed countries (the so-called brain drain). The resultant lack of surgeons on the ground and of specialist surgical expertise compromises further the training of the few available medical graduates. This shortage of surgical health care professionals is a trend in many other Sub-Saharan Africa countries. One novel solution by Malawi health Ministry, to address this critical staff shortage, is the piloting of cost-effective higher-qualification training methods, such as e-learning, distance learning, applied and part time learning. In 2007, in response to changes in surgical training which in some countries had reduced clinical exposure in the workplace, the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh designed and launched an online, 3-year part-time Masters programme (MSc) in Surgical Sciences, to support trainees in the early years of their surgical training. Although this, and four subsequent advanced online ChM Masters programmes (General Surgery, Trauma & Orthopaedics, Urology and Vascular & Endovascular Surgery), were intended principally to support UK based surgical trainees, their flexible and contextual content and delivery now reach a global audience including trainees in Sub-Saharan Africa countries. The first three-year MSc in Surgical Sciences was based fundamentally on the professional curriculum of the Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) examination, and the later twoyear ChM programmes, on the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) end of training curriculum. These online programmes augment in-the-workplace training without trainees having to leave their country. This has enabled surgical trainees to continue to practice in their own health care system, directly combating loss of regional workforce and increasing surgical practice capacity, especially in SubSaharan Africa, where unmet need is greatest, with 90% of the population having no access to basic surgical procedures. Our Malawian experience particularly has shown that trainee surgeons can be academically supported and professionally equipped through our educational programme. This has been facilitated through a generous educational grant from Johnson and Johnson since 2010, supporting two scholarships annually, for training surgeons. While the performance of these trainees remains very high and the level of applications is increasing, conversion to enrolment has been limited by funding, thus, highlighting the need for additional scholarship funding to support education and capacity building, and widen access to this academic and professional support. Based on the initial scholarship success and in response to this increasing need, we have explored ways of increasing financial support to surgical trainees in Malawi and other Sub-Saharan Africa countries. In 2017, funding was secured for 5 trainee surgeons from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), and 5 further matching scholarships were funded by ESO. This CSC support has continued to be made available but, in 2018, the University of Edinburgh, and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh launched its own ESO Global Scholarship programme, providing 20 additional scholarships to support surgical trainees from low and middle income countries including those in sub-Saharan Africa. In that initial year, 14 scholarships were awarded to trainees in the COSECSA region. In 2019, further CSC funding supported 10 successful applicants, and these were matched with 20 additional fully funded Edinburgh Surgery Online Global Scholarships from programme income. In 2020, some 50 scholarships will be available through CSC, the ESO Global Scholarship programme, NIHR funding and through philanthropic donation from the Caledonian Heritage Trust. The long-term support of Malawian surgical trainees has been a successful exemplar on which to build a sustainable scholarship programme in sub-Saharan Africa.

Project objectives:

  1. To support Malawian trainees throughout surgical training:

    > to acquire understanding of applied basic surgical sciences and the surgical specialties
    > to consolidate knowledge base for professional examinations
    > to support professional development
    > to complement in the workplace training
  2. To provide opportunity for ambitious trainees to acquire additional qualifications which:

    > enhance portfolio and promote career development
    > provide trainee with essential ‘academic tools’ to support life-long learning
  3. To provide opportunity for prospective academic surgeons to acquire qualification which would:

    > identify career intentions
    > provide possible academic base for career development
  4. To provide equity of access to academic opportunities
  5. To empower front-line individuals in Malawi and other Commonwealth countries to be involved in
    collaborative research and health care strategic development projects:

    > by encouraging participation in GlobalSurg, an online world-wide, NIHR funded initiative
    > by promoting publication of quality surgical outcomes data in peer-reviewed journals, to inform
    policies within host countries, and to better understand regional healthcare needs.
  6. To improve safety and care of surgical patients
Key successes and outcomes so far
  • Since 2007, our MSc Surgical Sciences and ChM programmes in advanced surgical training have
    met successfully the academic and professional developments of over 1981 trainee surgeons in 75 countries,
    with over 150 trainee surgeons from sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Since 2010, Edinburgh Surgery Online has supported 36 surgical trainees from Malawi with full
    scholarship funding (56% females). Of these, 19 have successfully graduated from our MSc programme,
    with 18 Full MSc and 1 student with Certificate award. Six students are currently enrolled
  • Our first Masters’ graduate from Malawi, Dr Lughano Kalongolera, graduated from Edinburgh in
    November 2013, having never previously visited the city.
  • ESO Graduates from Malawi are moving into key consultant leadership roles and continued to play
    a key role in teaching basic sciences to students on the BSc General Surgery for Clinical Officers (non medically qualified).
  • Dr Vanessa Msosa completed her MSc in 2017 and has now enrolled on to the ChM in General
    Surgery to support her sub-specialty training. As a junior consultant in Lilongwe, she is leading a local
    research project on the implementation of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist funded by NIHR Global
    Surgery Unit.
  • Dr Wone Banda, an MSc Surgical Science graduate of 2015 is now a consultant and leads the
    specialist Burns Unit at Lilongwe.
  • In recognition of the quality of our programmes, the University of Edinburgh in 2010, gave the
    Chancellor’s Award for Teaching, and the 2010 national eLearning Awards for Best Online Learning
    Programme (Education), to our director, Professor James Garden.
  • The growing suite of online learning surgical educational programmes has continued to recruit
    strongly and was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2013.
  • Over 89 novel articles have been published to date in peer-reviewed journals, from 467 of our
    students, as an evidence of the academic goals of our Masters’ programmes.
  • As part of the agreement for Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) funding, our First
    ever CSC Capacity Building Retreat aimed at students within one year of graduation was successfully held
    in Malawi in October 2019. Eleven Malawian Masters’ graduates attended the workshop at the Makokola
    Retreat, Mangochi, Malawi.
Future and ideas for partnership development
  • To understand where there is an increasing need for online educational support in Malawi and to
    target scholarship resource appropriately
  • To identify greater funding opportunities to support surgical trainees and widen access to Masters’
    programmes in Malawi as well as other Sub-Saharan African countries.
  • To continue to involve Malawian graduates and alumni through engagement with our
    commonwealth scholars at our annual capacity building retreat as well as at other conference opportunities,
    in this way, supporting the further professional development of surgical trainees, with our funding partners.
  • To determine the potential role of the newest online MSc in Patient Safety and Clinical Human
    Factors in supporting health care professionals in Malawi and in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • To develop individual modules that might be made freely accessible to trainees and trained surgeons
    for their continuing professional development
  • To develop new strategies to extend the global outreach of the Edinburgh Online Surgery
    programmes in Malawi and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • To explore the value to our masters’ graduates of a new University of Edinburgh portal, Platform
    One, which will enable alumni to keep in touch with each other and mentors, as well as to provide access to
    university resource that may be valuable for further professional development.
  • To further strengthen the relationship between Edinburgh Surgery Online and COSECSA.

Project 2: MARVELS

Understanding the role of the human microbiome in pathogenesis and prevention of respiratory infections

Area of work: Disease, Vaccination, Respiratory Infection
Location of work:
Blantyre

Project lead:
Prof. D. Bogaert
Contact details:
d.bogaert@ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust
Partner contact:
Prof. Stephen Gordon

Funding:
MRC

Description of project

Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust (Prof. Stephen Gordon) is establishing a human challenge model to help understand how the host, the microbiome and environment are affecting pathogen behaviour in a population and country with high burden of disease. Our role is to study the contribution of the human microbiome to this process. The long-term outcome is to test interventions in this high risk population as well.

Key successes and outcomes so far

This project is in a starting phase. Ethical approval has been obtained. The first validation studies have been started.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We intend to expand this line of research, amongst others, by providing training to collaborating scientists in Scotland as well as on location to ensure sustainable partnerships.

University of Edinburgh cover

Project 3: MPRU 2 day workshop on conducting microbiome research in low and middle-income countries

A workshop for early career scientists in Africa to provide a theoretical basis to help them with essential information needed to design and execute a microbiome-based study.

Area of work: Training, microbiology

Project lead:
Prof. D. Bogaert
Contact details:
d.bogaert@ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: School of Public Health & Family Medicine, College of Medicine

Funding: NIHR

Description of project

We are collaborators of the NIHR global health research unit “mucosal pathogen research unit” led by UCL (PI Prof R. Heyderman and Prof D. Goldblatt). As part of this unit, we support and execute multiple studies, often with Malawi, and provide this workshop to partners and other interested parties in Africa.

The workshop is for early career scientists in Africa to provide a theoretical basis to help them with essential information needed to execute a microbiome-based study, to design such a study, and provide practical information and training on design, and execution of clinical components, laboratory pipelines, and data analyses.

University of Edinburgh 1

Project 4: Duration and density of natural pneumococcal colonisation in Malawian adults (PneumoDuDe)

Generating first data on understanding to interaction between microbiome, pneumococcal colonization and the host.

Area of work: Disease, Research

Project lead:
Prof. D. Bogaert
Contact details:
d.bogaert@ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust
Partner contact:
Dr. Kondwani Jambo

Funding:
NIHR

Description of project

We are collaborators of the NIHR global health research unit “mucosal pathogen research unit” led by UCL (PI Prof R. Heyderman and Prof D. Goldblatt). As part of this unit, we support and execute multiple studies, often with Malawi, and provide this workshop to partners and other interested parties in Africa.

Project 5: DIPLOMATIC

Reducing mortality of children under 5 years through reducing pre-term birth and stillbirth and to optimise outcomes for babies born preterm.

University of Edinburgh 2

Area of work: Maternal Health, Preterm birth, Stillbirth
Location of work:
Lilongwe, Blantyre

Project lead:
Prof David Lissauer
Contact details:
david.lissauer@liverpool.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust, University of Liverpool
Partner contact:
Professor Mia Crampin
Contact details:
mia.crampin@glasgow.ac.uk

Funding:
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Description of project

DIPLOMATIC: using eviDence, Implementation science, and a clinical trial PLatform to Optimise MATernal and new-born health in LICs (Low Income Countries).

We are a Global Health Research Group based in the UK, Malawi and Zambia. Our vision is to reduce mortality of children under 5 years (one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals) by reducing pre-term birth and stillbirth and to optimise outcomes for babies born preterm. The project transferred to the University of Liverpool in March 2021 and has been taken forward by Prof David Lissauer.

Key successes and outcomes so far

Further funding has been obtained to build on the success of work previously completed. This has been via the University of Liverpool.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Work is ongoing via the University of Liverpool.

Project 6: PAPAGENO

The prevention of diabetes and hypertensive disorders in pregnant women.

Area of work: Diabetes, hypertension, pregnant women
Location of work:
Lilongwe

Project lead:
Professor Jane Norman
Contact details:
mia.crampin@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: MEIRU
Partner contact:
Professor Mia Crampin
Contact details:
mia.crampin@glasgow.ac.uk

Funding:
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
More Information:
https://www.ed.ac.uk/centre-reproductive-health/clinical-studies

Description of project

A feasibility study of a randomised clinical trial of metformin (compared with matched placebo) for the prevention of diabetes and hypertensive disorders in pregnant women. It was hoped that this study would help to determine if recruitment was possible and whether routine administration of metformin could prevent gestational diabetes and pregnancy hypertensive disorders in Malawi.

Gestational diabetes and pregnancy hypertensive disorders both cause significant maternal and neonatal deaths and long term problems, indeed pregnancy hypertensive disorders account for 17.3% of maternal deaths in low income countries, and are the second commonest cause of maternal death after haemorrhage (severe loss of blood).

Key successes and outcomes so far

Successful progress was made to enable the trial to get to the point of recruiting participants. However, COVID-19 halted the trial and when permission was given to restart, the IMP/Placebo already shipped had expired and funding/time constraints meant recruitment could not begin.
Important discoveries were made during the set-up phase e.g. difficulties regarding contractual and legal issues, remote training and setting up sites in another country, plus communication issues. This learning will enable other global research projects to progress more easily.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Proposed submission of report and a paper to enable another group to take recruitment forward in the future. A short survey of women was also proposed, to ascertain their willingness to participate in PAPAGENO.

Project 7: Global Challenges Research Fund Strategic Training Awards for Research Skills (GCRF-STARS)

Increasing research skills and capacity to deliver on the national livestock development plan (Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia)

Area of work: Livestock, Animal breeding, Genetics
Location of work:
LUARNAR, MoAIWD, DARS

Project lead:
Professor Appolinaire Djikeng
Contact details:
appolinaire.djikeng@roslin.ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: LUANAR
Partner contact:
Professor Timothy Gondwe

Funding:
BBSRC/UKRI (GCRF)

Description of project

We have partnered with LUANAR and DARS colleagues in Malawi to co-develop a 3-year capacity building plan focusing on:

  1. targeting researchers, postdoctoral scientists and advanced postgraduate students for short term training through annual summer schools in Africa
  2. exchange research experience and skills enhancement visits through short term placements in the UK.
Key successes and outcomes so far

The GCRF-STARS programme has contributed to the following:

  1. strengthening the collaboration between LUANAR, DARS and the University of Edinburgh leading to the submission of one other application for funding under the International Flexible Interchange Programme (I-FLIP) focusing on the following area: Genomics-driven small ruminants improvement program in Malawi
  2. Malawi joined eight other African countries and a group of leading animal breeders and scientists globally in the design and agreement to establish the African Animal Breeding Academy (AABA). AABA as designed is anticipated to revolutionize and transform livestock genetic improvement in Africa for productivity and resilience. Specifically, AABA is on course to become a platform and a leading entity for long term and sustainable animal breeding and livestock genetic improvement to support the delivery of an inclusive and sustainable African livestock development agenda.
Future and ideas for partnership development

In 2018 and 2019, two summer training courses sessions have been held in Africa and co-organised with Malawi colleagues. One round of UK research placement took place in 2019 and a second round is scheduled for Q2 of 2020. The last round of summer training and UK research placement will be conducted in in Q3/4 of 2020.

There is a very good group of academics at LUANAR (including Edinburgh alumni) and senior officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development poised to explore a wide range of collaborative opportunities with colleagues in Scotland.

University of Edinburgh 3

Project 8: Developing a sustainable programme of cervical screening using VIA and HPV testing in rural Malawi

Raising public awareness of cervical cancer, and its screening. Introducing same day treatment for women with early lesions.

Area of work: Reproductive health, cervical cancer, treatment and screening
Location of work:
Nkhoma hospital + 10 health centres in Lilongwe and Dezda

Project lead:
Professor Heather Cubie
Contact details:
Heather.Cubie@ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Nkhoma CCAP Hospital
Partner contact:
Mrs Beatrice Kabota
Contact details:
Beatrice.kabota@yahoo.co.uk

Funding:
Scottish Government International Development Fund for Malawi

Description of project

Malawi has an age adjusted incidence rate of 72.9 per 100,000 (second highest globally) and age adjusted mortality rate of 54.5 per 100,000 (highest globally). Many of these deaths from cervical cancer could be prevented by effective screening and treatment. The aim of this first programme was to reduce cervical cancer morbidity and mortality in the population served by Nkhoma Hospital, and its associated health centres, through the development of sustainable patient pathways for cervical cancer prevention - from primary education through cervical screening to treatment and care - and thus contribute to improving maternal and women’s health in rural Malawi. Screening services are based on VIA (visual inspection with acetic acid) and same day treatment for early lesions is based on thermal ablation, a technology which had been in use in Scotland for 30 years

The programme has resulted in a lasting partnership with Nkhoma Hospital and services have been maintained since the end of the funding in the hospital and 7 health centres.


Key successes and outcomes so far

The project used a ‘hub and spoke’ model, including approvals from local chiefs and the sensitisation of the wider community. It also explored ways to successfully integrate treatment with Reproductive Health Units, and to have productive engagement with Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) clinics.

The project provided a same day ‘screen and treat’ programme of cervical screening, using Visual Inspection with Acetic acid (VIA). It also included training for healthcare staff in thermo-coagulation for immediate treatment, and knowledge of robust follow-up pathways.

The project has developed into a new programme of capacity building of staff, service provision in all three regions of Malawi and creation of a cadre of experienced Malawian providers to ensure sustainability in the long term. This project, called ‘MALSCOT’, will be delivered between October 2018 – March 2023 (see Project 8 under Dr Christine Campbell’s entry).

Our end of project report gave the following achievements to end of 2016:

  • Reached 100,000 people through sensitisation
  • Trained 37 healthcare staff
  • Established daily Cervical Cancer Clinics at Nkhoma Hospital and weekly clinics in 8 Health Centres and screening campaigns in 2 others
  • Provided screening to >17,000 women ( to funding end point) previously unscreened women
  • Reassured >91% of women that they were VIA negative and could be rescreened in 3-5 years’ time as per Malawi guidelines
  • Treated 60-70% of VIA+ women on same day as screening
  • Encouraged attendance from ART clinics (>6%)
  • Confirmed VIA and HPV positivity were each twice as common in HIV+ infected women
  • Had positive feedback from Local Chiefs, clinicians, patients
  • Shared training with Partners in Hope, Ministry of Health, others
  • Provided an additional national trainer for VIA screening and treatment.

By the end of 2018, >27,000 women had been screened through the Nkhoma programme.

Future and ideas for partnership development

There have been many opportunities from Nkhoma to share their own learning and experience such that they are now recognised as an influential centre for cervical screening and treatment and also recognised in several African countries for their experience in use of thermal ablation

We have had opportunities to consider collaboration with academic partners from several countries including Netherlands, South Africa and USA and with NGOs such as MSF, Female cancer Foundation and Grounds for Coffee. While there have not been big grant awards as a consequence, quite a number have resulted in sharing of ideas and expertise.

Cross-fertilisation from entirely different groups working in Malawi can be stimulating and potentially result in new collaborations or ideas for progress e.g. with University of Glasgow in relation to lab facilities; water and renewable engineers to improve hospital facilities and nutritionists to help with malnutrition. Closer involvement with SMP, now as Chair of the Board, has given new insights into how people from very different professional backgrounds can work together.

My involvement with Malawi has been particularly important in the development of ideas and policies within the Scottish Global Health Collaborative, where I am currently Lead champion for retired healthcare staff who might consider using their own expertise in other settings.

Project 9: MALSCOT

Reduce the burden of cervical cancer in Malawi through strengthening cervical cancer ‘screen and treat’ services across the country

University of Edinburgh 4

Area of work: Reproductive health, cervical cancer, treatment and screening
Location of work:
Nkhoma CCAP Hospital and 6 other hospitals across Malawi

Project lead:
Dr Christine Campbell
Contact details:
christine.campbell@ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Nkhoma CCAP Hospital
Partner contact:
Mrs Beatrice Kabota
Contact details:
Beatrice.kabota@yahoo.co.uk

Funding:
Scottish Government International Development Fund for Malawi
More information: https://bit.ly/36YYHIe


Description of project

Objective 1 - Expand screening provision across Malawi.

Screening in 33 additional health centres/posts; Sensitisation, strengthening existing services in partner hospitals, and in rural health centres; Same-day treatment of VIA-positive lesions with thermal ablation, referral to partner hospitals, and routes to biopsy or palliative care will be set up and strengthened


Objective 2 - Capacity building.


Up to 80-90 additional VIA providers trained nationally; Training (both theoretical and experiential) delivered to nurses, midwives and clinical officers; Nine Ministry of Health training courses; Up to 14 experiential learning courses supervised by Malawian screening leads and Scottish clinicians; Work closely with the Reproductive Health Directorate.


Objective 3 - Mentoring, for building in-country capacity.


Develop a cohort of experienced and skilled Malawian providers who have skills and confidence to support their peers; co-development of a mentoring toolkit with experienced screening providers, field-tested by partners, then a revised version. The toolkit to draw on Malawian Ministry of Health guidance, best practice internationally, and critically on mentoring tools developed in Malawian context for providers of care for persons living with HIV


Key successes and outcomes so far

At one-year mark:

Four new hubs have been strengthened, and screening is now taking place in five additional health centres. Over 7,300 women have been screened for the first time and twenty-one new VIA providers have received comprehensive training. A screening database has been set up in REDCap and is used across all sites. A revised mentoring toolkit is close to launch, pending final edits and Ministry of Health approval. The Safeguarding policy has also been developed with training materials currently under development.

This project was developed collaboratively with Malawian colleagues, building on the experience in an earlier project (see Project 1), and addressing recognised needs in-country. Although still at a relatively early stage of the project, successes include:

  • The MALSCOT project is running well, with strong national co-ordination and leadership from Nkhoma Hospital and enthusiastic adoption of objectives and approach by project partners, including the Reproductive Health Directorate, Ministry of Health
  • A WhatsApp messaging group allows colleagues from across the country to share successes and to seek advice on clinical or practical queries
  • The extent to which the Hubs have embraced the concept of Mentoring and use of the Toolkit has been very encouraging, with more mentors trained to support their peers than originally envisaged
  • A successful ten-week visit by a volunteer Scottish recently retired gynaecologist
Future and ideas for partnership development
  • Building on learning in MALSCOT, together with Malawian screening and academic colleagues we are pursuing collaborative research opportunities in similar screening contexts in other LMICs
  • With national and international colleagues we are developing implementation research to support learning and strengthen the evidence-base for local delivery
  • A key objective over the remainder of MALSCOT is to work with in-country partners to strengthen the complete pathway of care for women diagnosed with cervical cancer, hence there will be opportunities for volunteering in relevant disciplines; we anticipate close working with the Scottish Global Health Collaborative

Project 10: Generation Malawi

Using microbiome studies to understand the pathophysiology and improve diagnosis, treatment and prevention of respiratory and childhood infections

University of Edinburgh 5

Area of work: Childhood health
Location of work:
Lilongwe, Chilumba

Project lead:
Prof. Andrew McIntosh
Contact details:
Andrew.mcintosh@ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: MEIRU, Ministry for Health
Partner contact:
Professor Mia Crampin
Contact details:
mia.crampin@glasgow.ac.uk

Funding:
MRC, Wellcome

Project 11: Analysis of lung macrophage phenotype in chronic infections

Area of work: Infectious Diseases, Immunology
Location of work:
Blantyre

Project lead:
David Mhango, Henry Mwamba

Funding:
Training fellowship to David Mhango

Description of project

Analysis of lung penotype in healthy Malawian patients and people living with HIV, with or without concomitant tuberculosis. Analysis of bronchoalveolar macrophages by flow cytometry and by single nuclear RNA sequencing. Relation of transcriptomics profiles to protein expression and analysis of phenotype. Examination of change in phenotype with effective control of viral infection or bacterial load.

Human lung macrophages show multiple phenotypes reflecting different ontogeny and environments in which they mature. Infections such as HIV and TB cause a variety of stressors impacting cell death paradigms . These impact cell phenotype and response to infection as well as susceptibility to other diseases. The changes occurring with each disease and its treatment are being analysed at transcriptome, protein and functional level.

Key successes and outcomes so far

Collaboration sharing skills in single cell transcriptomics and bioinformatics.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Continued development with MLW and UoE CIR/IRR.

Project 12: Socio-Ecological Observatory for Studying African Woodlands (SEOSAW)

SEOSAW is a network of people who research and manage vegetation plots to understand the response of African woodlands to global change.

Area of work: Ecology, Forestry, Natural resource management, Sustainable use, Climate change
Location of work:
Dedza, Dowa, Lilongwe, Mchinji, Ntchisi, Salima, Balaka, Blantyre

Project lead:
Casey Ryan
Contact details:
casey.ryan@ed.ac.u

Partner organisation: Centre for Independent Evaluations
Partner contact:
Professor Charles Jumbe
Contact details:
cjumbe@ciemalawi.com

Funding:
Natural Environment Research Council
More information:
https://seosaw.github.io/index...

Description of project

SEOSAW comprises a network of scientists and a network of woodland survey plots in Africa. The long-term goal of SEOSAW is to understand the response of African woodlands to global change. Members of SEOSAW conduct diverse research which is unified by a shared interest in the ecology of woodlands and savannas.

SEOSAW is managed communally, and the scope of SEOSAW's activities is open to change as the network and its members' research interests develop. SEOSAW's main purpose is to connect researchers and their data, and to facilitate collaborative research. Anybody is welcome to become part of SEOSAW, by contributing data or expertise, or by using the SEOSAW dataset for their research.

Rationale: Shifts in vegetation structure and ecosystem service provision in African woodlands have been hypothesised to result from altered fire regimes, an increasing frequency of extreme weather events, rising CO2 concentrations, and increasing human use. These changes could threaten future provision of ecosystem services to rural and urban people who depend directly upon these woodlands for fuel, food, medicines and other materials, and indirectly via their role in nutrient cycling which supports the region's agriculture (Ryan et al. 2016). Global change is also predicted to increase the carbon stored in African woodlands from 14 to 34 Pg by 2100, a change comparable to the mass of carbon currently stored in the Congo basin forests (Scheiter et al. 2009). Until recently however, there was no regional network of observations to evaluate if such changes are underway, and little testing or validation of model predictions against relevant data. Indeed, such models are generally based only on understanding and validation from African national parks, or other continents, neither of which represent the woodland's functional ecology or social context (Lehmann et al. 2014).

SEOSAW addresses these issues by synthesising data from across the region, and making it easily accessible for regional analyses and modelling efforts. SEOSAW has also developed a set of standardised methodologies and new collaborations to improve future observations. SEOSAW has created a novel partnership of research groups, and is continuing to develop the intellectual infrastructure to support collaborative research for the long term.

Key successes and outcomes so far

Novel analyses of the determinants of ecosystem structure and function for Africa, based on a synthesis of plot data—SEOSAW has a number of on-going projects to examine different aspects of savanna socioecology, several of which have already resulted in publications

Standardised methods for plot design and measurement, tailored to the socio-ecology of African woodlands-- SEOSAW has developed a set of linked protocols to study the complex socio-ecology of African woodlands. These protocols were designed to allow for data collected across the region to be compared, whilst retaining flexibility to suit many different objectives. Six protocols are currently available, and more are in development.

A long-term plan for plot remeasurement within Africa—SEOSAW established permanent sample plots at more than a dozen sites across the region to monitor change.

Future and ideas for partnership development

SEOSAW plans to expand the number of members from Malawi and incorporate Malawi into SEOSAW’s regional studies through Steering Committee Member, Professor Charles Jumbe. SEOSAW would like to expand its activities in Malawi. At the moment, SEOSAW has single census plot data from Malawi. Ideally, SEOSAW will set permanent sample plots in Malawi to monitor vegetation change over time and form a study site which can be the foundation of related research on the socioecology of the area. This will lead to a better understanding of use of forests and savanna woodlands in Malawi, and also contribute to regional analyses on carbon, sustainable use, and climate change.

Watch a video from SEOSAW here: https://seosaw.github.io/image...

Project 13: ANTHUSIA - Governance and Human Security: The state and everyday practices of governing in Malawi.

As part of the EU-funded multi-disciplinary research project in the Anthropology of Human Security in Africa (ANTHUSIA), this PhD project focused on disaster governance in Malawi from the perspective of district-based civil servants.

Area of work: Disaster, governance, humanitarianism, floods.

Project lead:
Tanja Hendriks
Contact details:
t.d.hendriks@sms.ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Faculty of Law, Chancellor College
Partner contact:
Prof. Fidelis Edge Kanyongolo

Funding:
The European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 764546
More information:
https://anthusia.eu/early-stage-researchers/tanja-hendriks

Description of project

As part of the EU-funded multi-disciplinary research project in the Anthropology of Human Security in Africa (ANTHUSIA), this specific PhD project focused on disaster governance in Malawi from the perspective of district-based civil servants.

States are commonly considered responsible for protecting their citizens from harm and safeguarding their livelihoods. Yet this is no easy task for Malawi; a donor-dependent and disaster prone country with limited state capacity. When disaster strikes, the Malawi state thus engages in complex collaborations with donors, non-governmental organizations, global humanitarian aid institutions, volunteers and (affected) citizens to carry out relief interventions. By conducting ethnographic fieldwork in a disaster prone district in the south of the country, I explored these collaborations with a focus on the everyday practices of civil servants working in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA). My fieldwork coincided with the occurrence of Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Enduring academic connections.

Project 14: University of Edinburgh interactions with RARE Charity scholars

Series of online discussion panels between University of Edinburgh academic staff and students and RARE Charity scholars to explore and develop mutual learning opportunities.

Area of work: Agriculture, food systems.
Location of work:
Lilongwe, Ntcheu, Blantyre.

Project lead:
Darren Watt
Contact details:
darren.watt@ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: RARE Charity
Partner contact:
Mrs Daisy Belfield Santos
Contact details:
daisy@rarecharity.com

Description of project

The University of Edinburgh works in partnership with RARE Charity to offer regular training opportunities and discussion panels to RARE Charity's tertiary scholars, primarily in the fields of Agriculture. RARE Charity funds transformational scholarships for individuals from Malawi's marginalised tea communities. The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems in the University of Edinburgh is a leading interdisciplinary hub of researchers, teachers and students; developing new science, curating evidence and learning on the intersection and interdependence of the systems that underpin the health and wellbeing of people and our planet. The partnership aims to promote a two-way learning experience and eventually to prepare scholars for post-graduate work abroad, should they wish to pursue this.

Key successes and outcomes so far
  • One scholar has been nominated by LUANAR (Malawi) as a top-performing student, to attend an 11-month internship program at Kinneret College in Israel. The Global Academy of Agricultuyre and Food Systems panels and discussions certainly played a part in how this scholar presented for and secured this opportunity. The exposure the Global Academy offered him to international systems will surely help his confidence too as he embarks on this next step abroad.
  • An enormous and unquantifiable leap in the effective use of video calling technology, both on Teams and Zoom. Not just the tools themselves, but the etiquette surrounding video calling. The partnership necessitated a series of 'video training sessions' with the scholars, and they are now confident, Zoom-literate students, which will give them a competitive edge when they graduate!
  • Testimonials from scholars:

    "Those discussions opened up my mind a lot - no wonder I emerged as one of the best students in class!"
    "The webinars have opened my eyes as to how high can we go. The interaction with different professors has taught me that I must not look down on myself, for with passion and a hardworking spirit all my dreams are possible. The programme has also opened my eyes as to how I can apply for Masters scholarships with international universities. Some of the webinars uncovered some of the areas that the Malawi agriculture sector is failing. This helps me once we get into the field or once we get an opportunity to be heard by the top authorities."
    "I will be glad if this programme continues, so that I can learn things which will help me not only at College but also as world experience."
Future and ideas for partnership development

The partnership will evolve to allow the RARE scholars to present to the University of Edinburgh community as much as the University presents to them. This is made possible by the continually increased confidence the scholars display with their interactions.

Project 15: Ethics in Global Research

This project support researchers, practitioners and others who conduct or support research in complex, low income or fragile settings.

Area of work: Health, Social, Humanities, Ethics and other cross disciplinary research.
Location of work:
Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mangochi, Zomba.

Project lead:
Clara Calia
Contact details:
calia@ed.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Epilepsy Movers, Univesity of Malawi
Partner contact:
Action AMOS
Contact details:
amos_action@yahoo.co.uk

More Information:
https://www.ethical-global-res...

Description of project

Our Project goal is to assist researchers, policy makers and all stakeholders including the research participants to be ethically part of the research journey. The research journey is long and often arduous in global research contexts. Ethical challenges may emerge at any stage in this journey, from the design of the initial idea through data collection to the legacy that remains long after the project has been completed.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The project has managed to establish a network of over 400 researches interested in Research Ethics globally. The project has created a toolkit and case studies templates and has published in 4 journals its work. It has supported 1 postgraduate student in Malawi.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We intend to partner with like minded institutions to further the research ethics regionally and beyond working with Academia, NGOs and policymakers to shape research ethics together. We wan to ensure that the tools we create are aligned to the global research challenges and when used will enable research to impact society.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can provide us with some clear direction about how to achieve this – both in the way we do this work as well as in the outcomes and transformation our research can enable.

Glasgow Caledonian University

The centre for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University takes a global lead in action research and policy development within the field of climate justice. Our aim is to deliver pragmatic and lasting solutions which improve the wellbeing of society, enhance peoples rights and promote a climate-just world. Our work in Malawi so far has focused on climate justice, education, energy and water security.

Project 1: Impacts of solar mini-grids on tackling energy poverty for women in rural Malawi

Investigating the impacts of limited access to energy (namely electricity) on women in rural areas of Northern Malawi and explore the benefits of solar mini-grids for rural communities.

Glasgow Caledonian University 2

Area of work: Climate Justice, Gender, Renewable Energy, Solar
Location of work:
Northern Districts

Project lead:
Eilidh Watson
Contact Details:
eilidh.watson@gcu.ac.uk

Partner organisation:
Currently exploring potential partner organisations within Malawi

Funding: Glasgow Caledonian University
More information:
https://www.gcu.ac.uk/climatejustice/

Description of project

Energy poverty is defined traditionally as having no access to basic energy services like electricity. Despite reports of recent progress of improved electricity access figures, the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that the world is not on course to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7.1: “Ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services by 2030”.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the IEA states that annual rates of connection would need to be tripled every year to attain on average 60 million people per year and achieve SDG 7.1. The population without access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa is 600 million people, equating to 57% of the population (IEA, 2019) with 15 countries within this region having access rates below 25% (IEA, 2019). Malawi is one of these countries, the population with access to electricity is only 14.6% (IEA, 2018).

Electricity access is particularly low in rural areas, estimated to be less than 3%. This is a challenge for Malawi as there is a low urban population with over two thirds of the people residing in rural areas. Therefore, it is estimated that a high percentage of the population is experiencing energy poverty.

This research focuses on exploring how limited access to electricity is affecting women in rural areas, primarily as it is often a women’s responsibility to secure energy resources for a household. In order to meet household energy needs, women are responsible for collecting traditional sources of fuel like biomass, in the form of firewood and charcoal. With pressures from deforestation and climate change intensifying, collecting firewood is becoming increasingly difficult and women are spending more of their time collecting energy resources.

This research aims to explore, through qualitative interviews, what women in rural communities of Malawi hope for in terms of future energy aspirations and gain an insight into their energy reality. As women in these communities are often responsible for securing energy provisions, it is important for their knowledge and experience to be listened to.

In addition to this, this project aims to investigate the impacts of solar mini-grids for women within rural communities. Technological advancements of solar mini-grids mean that solar power in this form could be a low cost solution to meeting one aspect of a household’s energy needs.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The research project is within the first year. The research so far has involved completing an extensive literature review on the topics of energy, gender and climate justice. The next stage of the research project involves a field trip to Malawi between May and August 2020 to the Northern District in order to collect data.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Eilidh Watson is interested in collaborating or working with any academics or organisations that are working within energy spheres of Malawi. In particular, anyone working within rural communities in Northern Malawi with a focus on access to electricity.

In addition to this, Eilidh Watson is interested in connecting with other PhD students or researchers that plan to visit Malawi in 2020 and are looking for research partners.

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow has very many successful collaborations and ongoing projects with academic institutions all across Malawi. Major funders including the Scottish Government, Wellcome trust, World Bank and the Global Challenges Research Fund are key in supporting University work across a wide range of disciplines.

Projects

Project 1: Blantyre Blantyre Project

Establishing a fully internationally accredited clinical lab facility (CLF) at College of Medicine (COM) in Malawi to impact on future healthcare across the country.

University of glasgow 2

Area of work: Health
Location of work:
Blantyre

Project lead:
Prof. Paul Garside
Contact details:
Paul.Garside@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: College of Medicine, University of Malawi
Partner contact:
Dr Mwapatsa Mipando
Contact details:
comprincipal@medcol.mw

Funding:
Scottish Government Directorate for External Affairs – International Division
More information:
https://www.gla.ac.uk/researchinstitutes/iii/wcip/

Description of project

Our vision is the establishment and deployment of a Clinical Lab Facility at COM, identified by their senior management as their fundamental need and priority during a recent visit to Glasgow. This will enhance ongoing collaborations AND evidence-based development of research and training programmes, medical interventions and policy development in Malawi in the key area of NCDs and their interface with ID. This will bring to bear internationally renowned expertise in NCD and ID in Glasgow (The Wellcome Trust Centre for Integrative Parasitology, MRC Centre for Virus Research, BHF Centre of Excellence and ARUK Centre of Excellence) on national health priorities in Malawi. Significantly, it will complement existing Glasgow partnerships with the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) and Centre for Global Health Research who fully support this highly synergistic proposal. In the longer term, this will provide a centre of excellence for the region in NCDs research.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The engagement with many partners in Malawi has been particularly successful. Collaboration with Malawi Liverpool Wellcome and Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit (MEIRU) as well as University of Malawi, College of Medicine has afforded University of Glasgow and the wider Scottish economy many opportunities to develop research projects and apply jointly for grant funding. The initiative has generated interest from across the world and allowed University of Glasgow to recruit several research stars one notably from Harvard to relocate to University of Glasgow to continue his research activities with colleagues in Scotland and Malawi.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Many grant applications and collaborations are in the pipeline, and it is our aim to use this initiative as a springboard for greater collaboration with Malawian scientists and Institutions.

The specific objectives of the project are detailed below, we are in year 2 of our 5-year project

  1. Identify and appoint key strategic personnel to establish CLF
  2. Renovate an existing building to co-locate all four labs currently in different buildings.
  3. Survey equipment in existing laboratories at CoM.
  4. Initiate training of clinicians and allied health professionals on services by CLF and Laboratory Information Management Systems use.
  5. Provision of limited clinical service.
  6. Accreditation of CLF to internationally recognised standard.
  7. Initial clinical surveys to assess inflammatory NCD burden in Malawi and provide preliminary data to support larger surveys and intervention studies.

Project 2: Towards a Dental School for Malawi – the MalDent Project

Improving access to oral and dental healthcare across the country of Malawi

Maldent

Area of work: Health, Dentistry
Location of work:
Blantyre, Lilongwe

Project lead:
Prof. Jeremy Bagg
Contact details:
Jeremy.bagg@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: College of Medicine, University of Malawi
Partner contact:
Dr Mwapatsa Mipando
Contact details:
comprincipal@medcol.mw

Funding: Scottish Government Directorate for External Affairs – International Division
More information:
www.themaldentproject.com

Description of project

Oral and dental disease are very common in Malawi, but poor access to care is a major problem for the population of 18.8 million because of lack of a trained dental workforce. Currently there is no provision to train dentists within Malawi and the small number of dentists registered with the Medical Council of Malawi (39 in total) have all trained overseas.

In addition, the lack of a national oral health policy is a contributory factor to poor access to oral healthcare. It is essential that a national policy, led by qualified dental professionals, places a major focus on prevention of oral and dental disease, thereby reducing the need for extensive operative dentistry, which is expensive to deliver

The project is seeking to address these challenges by:

1. Establishing, in parallel with the existing MBBS programme, a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree at the College of Medicine, an ambition since 1998.

The BDS programme, starting with an annual intake of 10-15 students, would establish an output of newly qualified dentists who would:

  • Be involved in direct delivery of clinical care.
  • Play a major part in rolling out a programme of oral health awareness and a national model of prevention.
  • Lead on establishing a sustainable oral health infrastructure for Malawi, which would include all Districts.
  • Begin to develop a small cohort of dental clinical academics who would provide sustainable staffing for the BDS programme moving forward.

2. Developing, through joint working between academic staff in all relevant specialities of the College of Medicine (Preventive Medicine, Public Health, Dental Surgery), the Dental Association of Malawi, the Ministry of Health and Scottish partners, a national oral health strategy as recommended by the WHO (Ndiaye CF, African Journal of Oral Health, 2005, 2, 2-9). This would include a national prevention programme aimed at children and could be based on a version of the well-proven Scottish Childsmile programme, which has already been adopted in multiple international settings to good effect.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The engagement of many stakeholders in a robust partnership has been particularly successful. In addition to the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow, NHS Education for Scotland and the University of Dundee Centre for Medical Education, which were partners with the University of Glasgow on the Scottish Government grant application, the following organisations have become closely involved:

  • Dentaid (www.dentaid.org) – very engaged with issues related to dental equipment and maintenance
  • Bridge2Aid (https://bridge2aid.org/) – engaging with development of a partnership with the Dental Association of Malawi to develop a ‘work-shifting’ model for training in emergency dentistry of Clinical Officers in rural areas (recent successful grant application to Tropical Hygiene & Education Trust)
  • Smileawi (www.smileawi.com) – involved in a pilot epidemiological study of child oral health in Northern Malawi
  • Henry Schein (https://www.henryschein.co.uk/) – engaged with activities linked to equipment supply, installation, maintenance and consumables supplies
  • Borrow Foundation (https://www.borrowfoundation.org/) – keen to develop a partnership in relation to prevention of dental disease in children (grant application for $75K submitted – outcome due in June)
  • Strathclyde University – partnering on work linked to fluoride content of bore-hole waters and dental fluorosis / dental caries

Within Malawi, the strong cooperation from the Ministry of Health, Dental Association of Malawi and Medical Council of Malawi is invaluable.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We are already collaborating with Professor Bob Kalin at the University of Strathclyde.

We have engaged our own University of Glasgow dental students with the project. Five of our BDS 4 students and one from Dundee Dental School who visited Malawi in June 2019 to participate in a pilot child oral health epidemiological project with the charity Smileawi.

Two main areas of progress to date are:

1. Completion of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery curriculum, which was approved by the University of Malawi in March 2019. This has allowed the College of Medicine to advertise for applicants to study on the new programme, with entry of the first cohort in August 2019.

2. Significant enhancement of the dental surgery equipment at the Dental Department of Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, through donation of dental chairs by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and technical support from the charity Dentaid and the dental supply company Henry Schein. Pre-clinical skills equipment, donated and installed by Dentaid has provided a greatly enhanced teaching facility for existing dental therapists and, in future, BDS students.

Project 3: Support to Master of Librarianship and Information Science degree programme at Mzuzu University

Improving sustainability of taught postgraduate education in Information Management, Records Management, Librarianship and Archive Studies in Malawi

Area of work: Education, Postgraduate
Location of work:
Mzuzu

Project lead:
Dr Alistair Tough
Contact details:
Alistair.Tough@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Mzuzu University
Partner contact:
Dr George Chipeta
Contact details:
Gchipeta5@gmail.com

More information:
www.mzuni.ac.mw

Description of project

We aim to improve the sustainability of taught postgraduate education in Information Management, Records Management, Librarianship and Archive Studies in Malawi, through supplying professional support, teaching materials, electronic resources, books and journals.

The MLIS degree programme was developed with support from the SMP. Course materials, particularly workbooks, were produced and mentoring provided for Malawian counterparts. However, the lead role in supporting the MLIS passed to Norwegians because Norad provided financial support towards start-up costs. Recently our Malawian colleagues have renewed our partnership

Key successes and outcomes so far

The first cohort of students have graduated and many are now in jobs where they can use their skills to: promote economic and social development; enable communities to access information; support public sector reform; and detect and deter unethical behaviour.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We are hoping for financial support to enable partner(s) from Glasgow University to spend time in Mzuzu University and vice versa.

Project 4: Is malaria infection a risk factor for hypertension in Malawian adults?

Improve preventative measures and potential treatments for hypertension in Africa.

Area of work: Research, Disease, Hypertension
Location of work:
Blantyre

Project lead:
Dr. Pasquale Maffia
Contact details:
Pasquale.Maffia@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Academy of Medical Sciences, Malawi University of Science and Technology

Funding:
Global Challenges Research Funds (Scottish Funding Council - University of Glasgow)

Description of project

Results of a recent survey in Malawi showed that over 30% of Malawians aged between 25 and 64 years are hypertensive and this has prompted the government to rank hypertension as one of the key health challenges in the country.

Although demographic, lifestyle and diet changes in urban areas contribute substantially to the burden of hypertension in LMICs, investigating other potential contributing factors, which are specifically prevalent in such LMICs, could assist in elucidating pathophysiological mechanisms underlying hypertensive predisposition. This could also help in coming up with preventative measures and potential treatments for hypertension in the long term.

Increasing recent evidence supports the hypothesis of a link between malaria infection and hypertension development but very little clinical research has been done on the topic. We therefore hypothesise that Malawian adults, who have been infected with severe malaria are more susceptible to developing hypertension as a result of exposure to the inflammatory environment.

Within this project we propose to establish proof-of-concept for future large cohort studies investigating relationships between malaria and hypertension. We also propose to investigate possible mechanisms of this link in hypothesis driven studies.

The project has just started, as such there is no impact to report to date.


Future and ideas for partnership development

Confirmation of a link between malaria and hypertension would be of paramount importance and could lead to fundamental changes in the way to control hypertension and related cardiovascular disease in LMICs. The main output generated by this project will be the establishment of proof-of-concept for future large cohort studies investigating relationships between malaria and hypertension. This can be achieved by studying young adults with malaria and looking in the future at particularly vulnerable population of pregnant women or people in remote areas.

Project 5: Does a poor T cell response to rotavirus vaccination account for reduced vaccine efficacy in children in Malawi?

Improve the understanding of low efficacy of rotavirus vaccine in Malawian children.

Area of work: Research, Disease, Vaccination
Location of work:
Blantyre

Project lead:
Dr Megan MacLeod

Partner organisation: Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical & Research Programme
Partner contact:
Dr Khuzwayo Jere, Dr Kondwani Jambo

Funding:
Global Challenges Research Funds (Scottish Funding Council - University of Glasgow)

Description of project

Rotavirus is a gastrointestinal virus responsible for the deaths of over 215,000 children annually. Almost all these deaths occur in low-middle income countries (LMIC) where the vaccine has much reduced efficacy. The vaccine activates adaptive immune cells, T and B cells, that specifically recognise rotavirus. Activated B cells produce specific antibody that is thought to provide protective immunity. The generation of long-lived antibody to provide sustained protection is entirely dependent on help from rotavirus specific T cells.

We hypothesize that the low efficacy and poorly sustained immunity to rotavirus following vaccination in children in Malawi is due to poor T cell responses.
Identifying poor T cell responses as the cause of reduced vaccine efficacy, will provide us with the preliminary data necessary for a GCRF joint project with the aim of identifying ways to boost T cell responses. This will ultimately lead to improved vaccine design, reduced disease burden and fatalities in children from LMIC, including Malawi.

Objectives

Our objective is to characterise vaccine-induced rotavirus-specific T cells in Malawian infants vaccinated with Rotarix vaccine (RV1). We will:

  1. Determine whether RV-specific T cells express markers allowing them to migrate to the site of infection (the gut) and survive long-term.
  2. Determine whether RV-specific T cells produce the molecules necessary for viral control and help B cells make antibody.
  3. Use findings as preliminary data for a larger GCRF application with the ultimate aim of improving RV vaccines.

We will collect blood from children prior to and following RV1 vaccination. T cells will be stimulated with virus-like particles or preparations from the rotavirus vaccine strain enabling rotavirus specific T cells identification by cytokine production. The phenotype and functional responses will be investigated and compared to vaccine induced antibody responses and presence of rotavirus at time of vaccination.

Our team of experts in T cell and B cell responses will provide the knowledge and technical expertise to generate and analyse these data. We will communicate throughout by Skype and will meet on two occasions to discuss progress, exchange technical expertise including promoting interactions between PhD students, and write an application to GCRF.

Key successes and outcomes so far

This project is at an early stage as we are still gathering the scientific data. What we would like to highlight is the sharing of best practice of data analysis between the groups in Scotland and Malawi and that this was expanded upon during face-face meetings held in June 2019.

Future and ideas for partnership development

This is a short project that has the goal of generating preliminary data for a larger scientific grant application. The project, therefore, offers opportunities for future collaborations between the teams in UoG and MLW. Our current and the future project aim to generate new knowledge that will improve our understanding of vaccine efficacy in Malawi and other LMIC. This new knowledge could aid in better design or delivery of life-saving vaccines.

We hope to link up researchers during face-face meetings in Malawi. These interactions have the potential to spark new collaboration projects with other researchers based at UoG or MLW on related scientific areas.

Project 6: The effect of English-only instruction on skill formation and labour market readiness of young Malawians

Gathering evidence of the relationship between language policy, skills formation, and labour market outcomes to inform language of instruction policy creation and implementation.

Area of work: Research, Education, Employment

Project lead:
Dr Kristinn Hermannsson
Contact details:
Kristinn.Hermannsson@Glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Chancellor College, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MaSP
Partner contact:
Professor Winford Masanjala
Contact details: whmasanjala@gmail.com

Funding: Scottish Funding Council

Description of project

The project has two aims: 1) to promote an informed and effective discussion between academics and stakeholders in Malawi in order to strengthen the evidence base for policy making and 2) to identify remaining gaps in the evidence base in order to inform an application for a large collaborative research project. This is an inherently interdisciplinary problem, which straddles linguistics, education, public policy, labour markets and economics.

There are approximately 12 native languages in Malawi, but the Ministry of Education recently adopted an English-only language of instruction policy in the school system. English is favoured in the labour market and there are practical challenges involved in cultivating so many mother tongues in an under-resourced school system.

However, there is substantial academic evidence to show the detrimental impact which non-mother tongue instruction has on children's development. Therefore, the overall effect of this policy on skill-formation and labour market readiness of Malawians is not clear. It is quite conceivable that the emphasis on English at the expense of mother tongues may undermine children's education and ultimately be detrimental to the formation of the desired English language skills and labour market readiness.

The objectives of this project are to:

  1. Strengthen the evidence base on the practical, educational and economic effects of language of instruction;
  2. Create and strengthen a network of researchers to work on this important but complex area;
  3. Strengthen links between researchers, policy makers and wider stakeholders

We will commission/produce the following reports:

  • What language skills do employers want? (Qualitative primary research, Chiziwa)
  • How does language influence outcomes in employment and self-employment? (Secondary quantitative analysis, Masanjala)
  • How does English language instruction work in the class room? (Primary qualitative analysis, Chavula)
  • What is the rationale for the current language policy? (Interviews and documentary analyses, Malawi Scotland Partnership)
  • The reality of capacity constraints in Malawian education: What options are feasible? (Interviews and documentary analyses, Dzimbiri)
  • Review of international academic evidence and policy discourse on the skills development impact of language of instruction (literature review, GU team)
Key successes and outcomes so far

A major success of the project thus far has been the development of the research partnerships within the consortium itself, and engaging with wider stakeholders in Malawi.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We would be keen to collaborate with others working on education and skills development issues in Malawi.

We are developing a larger piece of research to investigate the trade-offs which policy makers face regarding language of instruction in Malawi. This will highlight which language of instruction models could be feasibly implemented in Malawi that will contribute to sustainable development.

Project 7: MaFANs: Malawi Football supporters avoiding hypertension and NCDs

Helping men who support Malawian football teams to reduce their risk of developing hypertension and other related non-communicable diseases.

Area of work: Health, Research, Sport
Location of work:
Blantyre

Project lead:
Dr. Christopher Bunn
Contact details:
Christopher.bunn@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit (MEIRU)
Partner contact:
Professor Mia Crampin
Contact details:
mia.crampin@lshtm.ac.uk

Funding: SFS GCRF
More information:
www.meiru.info

Description of project

Researchers have studied the effects of recreational football training and football-based behaviour change programmes on health across the lifespan. Recreational football can increase fitness and muscle mass, and lower body fat and blood pressure. Football Fans in Training also demonstrated that a weight management programme delivered in football clubs engaged can help men lose weight and change behaviours in the long term. Thus, football-based health interventions have been shown to be effective at facilitating sustained health benefits amongst previously inactive men, who are often reluctant to engage in health interventions.

The evidence that football-based programmes reduce risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is European, and knowledge of how to facilitate them in low and middle-income countries is sparse. Such countries are experiencing a growing NCD burden, which could potentially overwhelm healthcare systems. Developing effective and acceptable interventions which can reduce NCD risks in these countries could potentially yield large public health gains. Further, MEIRU’s epidemiological data and experience indicate that Malawian men are under-engaged with health research and underserved.

This proposal aims to build on existing evidence of effective football-based health interventions in Europe to develop, implement and feasibility test a football-based health intervention in Malawi.


Using an action research methodology, informed by the 6SQuID approach to intervention development, we are working with the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and two clubs (and supporters’ groups) to develop and test the feasibility of an NCD prevention programme for at risk male supporters. The project has four objectives/phases:

1. PLAN: To hold a 5-day workshop at FAM’s offices to initiate co-design of an NCD prevention programme with Malawian researchers, FAM officials and football club and fan group representatives.
2. ACT: To recruit to and deliver the NCD prevention programme in two Malawian football clubs.
3. OBSERVE: To collect detailed process data on how clubs recruit and deliver the programme, and collect before and after anthropometric, biomarker and self-report data from participants.
4. REFLECT: To analyse data and discuss findings with stakeholders and consider the next steps the group will take.

Key Successes and outcomes so far

The MaFANs programme has been designed, participants have been recruited, the programme is being delivered and post-programme data collection is due to commence shortly. Once the data is collected and analysed, we will work with our partners to determine the next steps. Our collective hope is that the project provides us with the learning necessary to develop and test MaFANs on a larger scale.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We think that the use of sports-based programmes for measurable health improvement can be developed further to encompass other sports and broadened to include women. We would welcome approaches to develop this work.

Project 8: Sports Betting in Malawi: a pilot interview study of male bettors

Exploring the nature of sports betting among men in Lilongwe, with the aim of contributing to future gambling related harm-reduction efforts.

Area of work: Research, Health, Sport, Gambling
Location of work:
Lilongwe

Project lead:
Dr. Christopher Bunn
Contact details:
Christopher.bunn@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit (MEIRU)
Partner contact:
Professor Mia Crampin
Contact details:
mia.crampin@lshtm.ac.uk

More information: www.meiru.info


Description of project

The sports betting industry is increasingly visible in Malawi, and it is highly likely that it engages men significantly more than women. International evidence, including from the wider SSA region, suggests that sports betting has the potential to contribute to significant individual and social harms, and undermine development progress through wealth extraction and negative impacts on wellbeing and mental health. In order to inform future research and policy, aimed at minimising such potential harms, this project will explore the narratives and ‘gambling careers’ of young Malawian men.

Our research will seek to recruit 10 men who gamble regularly on sports to participate in a semi-structured interview about their gambling practices.

  • Inclusion Criteria: male, aged 18-35, bet on sports at least once a week, consent to participate in a semi-structured interview.
  • Exclusion Criteria: women, men over 35, children, bet less than once a week, do not consent to participate in a semi-structured interview.

The interview will explore themes relating to: how the man became interested in gambling; their gambling practices (e.g. frequency, amount spent, type of sports they bet on, type of bets they place, where and how bets are placed, and who bets are placed with); their motivations for gambling; and how family and friends react to their gambling. We will also gather their impressions of the marketing and advertising of gambling services in Malawi, and the relationship these have with sports.


Key successes and outcomes so far

This study is currently undergoing ethical review.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We intend to use the data gathered during this project to inform future work aimed at reducing gambling-related harms. We would welcome interest from partners in developing this work.

Project 9: Culture and Bodies

Developing arts-based approaches to non-communicable disease prevention.

Area of work: Health, research, art-based methods, hypertension
Location of work:
Lilongwe

Project lead:
Dr. Cindy Gray
Contact details:
Cindy.gray@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit (MEIRU)
Partner contact:
Professor Mia Crampin
Contact details:
mia.crampin@glasgow.ac.uk

Funding:
MRC UKRI
More information:
www.cultureandbodies.com

Description of project

The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension and diabetes is rapidly increasing in Sub-Saharan Africa countries like Malawi and Tanzania. In 2010, there were more than 2 million deaths from non-communicable diseases in the region, a 46% increase from 1990.

Many people in Malawi and Tanzania have greater access to Westernised (unhealthy) diets, and in some areas (e.g. towns and cities) opportunities for physical activity are reduced. These factors, together with traditional cultural norms, such as a larger body size being associated with respect and attractiveness, contribute to increasing risk of non-communicable diseases.

If interventions to prevent non-communicable diseases in Malawi and Tanzania are to be effective, it is essential they reflect local knowledges, perceptions and values. These are often deeply-rooted and unspoken, and thus inaccessible through traditional research methods, such as surveys and interviews. Community arts offer an alternative approach to allow researchers to explore people's cultural, emotional and historical beliefs and practices, and then to work with local communities to develop culturally-compelling NCD prevention interventions.

The project has six objectives:

  1. To establish an international, interdisciplinary partnership of researchers, NGOs and artists working across the UK, Malawi and Tanzania on community arts-based non-communicable disease prevention.
  2. To promote in-depth interdisciplinary learning and share knowledge, skills and expertise in relation to the real-world context of the project.
  3. To work closely with local people in urban/peri-urban areas of Malawi and Tanzania in two pilot projects that will use community arts to develop an understanding of local knowledges, perceptions and values in relation to NCDs and NCD risk factors, and to co-create culturally-compelling NCD prevention intervention activities.
  4. To develop a pilot methodological NCD prevention framework to support the application of community arts-mediated approaches to change the landscape of NCD prevention in Malawi and Tanzania.
  5. To describe a programme of future work for the partnership in other settings in Malawi, Tanzania and elsewhere in SSA.
  6. To engage with policy makers, NGOs, local community members, artists and other researchers, to raise awareness of:
    1. the need for culturally-situated and relevant interventions to address NCDs in local communities in Malawi and Tanzania;
    2. the role of community arts methodologies in developing these interventions.
Key successes and outcomes so far

Using community arts to explore NCDs and NCD risk factors has generally worked well. Engaging community members in developing a creative arts enquiry workshop protocol that has been piloted in both Malawi and Tanzania was particularly effective. Participants have responded enthusiastically to the methodology, which has succeeded in allowing all participants to have an equal voice, and encouraging those with alternative views about NCDs and NCD risk factors to air their opinions. Engagement of local arts organisations to help run the workshops has been beneficial to facilitate delivery. Finally, the input of biomedical scientists to ensure the messages used to develop the culturally-compelling intervention activities reflect biomedical evidence as well as cultural norms has been essential.

The main impact of the project locally will happen during the community dissemination events in July, but study participants have already engaged enthusiastically with the biomedically-informed feedback from the creative workshops and in using it to develop the messages they think are important for NCD prevention in their local communities.

Other important impacts include: capacity building among local social scientists and artists in using arts-based methods for NCD prevention; and extending all project team members’ interdisciplinary understandings.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We have submitted an outline proposal for a major year programme of work to extend and trial our methodology across Malawi and Tanzania from 2020. If successful, this 3-year £2 million programme of work will allow us to extend our research to other areas in Malawi and Tanzania, and to involve other academics in both countries. Specifically, the proposed programme will allow us to integrate our community arts enquiry methodology into the rigorous development of a hypertension prevention intervention, which will then be tested in a feasibility trial. This work will provide initial evidence of the potential of our approach to improve public health outcomes in Malawi and Tanzania.

The proposed programme will also provide funding to promote active involvement of key local and international stakeholders in arts-based NCD prevention, and to build capacity in arts-based health promotion through a training workshop targeted at health researchers across the SSA region.

At the end of the project, once we have finalised the community-arts based methodology and associated training, we will be in a position to work with our new partners to further share this approach via training workshops with relevant organisations. This joint approach will help us access different streams of arts-based public engagement funding to deliver these workshops to relevant audiences (e.g. NGOs, health services).


Project 10: Sustainable Futures in Africa Network

Addressing locally articulated socio-ecological challenges in Malawi.

Area of work: Agriculture, Sustainable Development

Project lead:
Dr Mia Perry
Contact details:
Mia.Perry@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Abundance Worldwide, ArtGlo, Art House Africa
Partner contact:
Dr Boyson Moyo
Contact details:
bmoyo@luanar.ac.mw

Funding:
GCRF-SFC Internal grants 2018-2019
More information:
www.sustainablefuturesinafrica.com

Description of project

The Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) Network is an interdisciplinary collective that brings together researchers, practitioners and communities of practice that acknowledge the complex nature of sustainability. The SFA network consists of 5 research hubs: Botswana, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda and Scotland.

The specific objectives are as follows:

  1. To discover opportunities in the disparities between ontologies of the global north and the global south inherent in international collaborations and global endeavours. (Theories)
  2. To address the relationship between social, cultural, and ecological factors in sustainability in Africa through interdisciplinary research initiatives. (Methods)
  3. To shape and support new opportunities for impact and inquiry that address locally articulated, socio ecological challenges. (Impact)

The partnership with LUANAR started in 2016. Over the last 3 years, the focus in Malawi revolved around understanding the interface between indigenous knowledge and nature of conventional research while unpacking challenges experienced and perceived by communities to insure a greater impact of research in local communities. A few projects were related to the challenges around the use of Drones in humanitarian and environmental research initiatives. This project engendered the opportunity for two Malawian hub members to study at the University of Glasgow: Ms Sharifa Abdulla (PhD) and Mr Stewart Paul (MS).

In 2019, the hub aimed to expand the network within Malawi. Meetings were held with the University of Livingstonia, University of Mzuzu, UNICEF Malawi, Church and Society, and LEAD.

Key successes and outcomes so far

Established in 2016, the network has grown to almost 50 active members; held three large international (Botswana 2017, Nigeria, 2018, and Uganda 2019) and two small regional symposia; and completed six pilot research projects. The network has significant influence (evidenced by a growing membership, publications, public speaking and partnership requests, social media activity, etc.). We have a growing track record of co-produced academic and media publications, documentaries, and public events. The demand for involvement in, and support from, the network is increasing monthly.

Future and ideas for partnership development

As started in 2019, the plan over the next years is to increase the number of projects related to Global Challenges, within the Malawi hub (and new partners) and across the SFA hubs. The team will build on their previous track record to reach more communities and involve a greater variety of expertise through different disciplines. The Malawian hub will host the SFA network workshop on “Community engagement in development-led research projects” in February or March 2020.

We are always looking for new collaborations or opportunities. We invite anyone with an interest in our work to visit our website and to get in touch.


Project 11: Malawi Stories: mapping an art-science collaborative process

Interdisciplinary collaboration to visualise data, map a ‘space of experimentation’ highlighting, and reflecting on, our diverse disciplinary orientations, training, instrumentation, recording, and reporting procedures, as well as bodily practices that enable and give animation to these factors.

Area of work: Creative Geovisualization
Location of work:
Zomba and Dowa Districts

Project lead:
Prof. Deborah Dixon
Contact details:
Deborah.Dixon@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Abundance Worldwide
Partner contact:
Dr Boyson Moyo
Contact details:
bmoyo@luanar.ac.mw

Funding:
Scottish Funding Council Global Challenges Research Funding
More information:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17445647.2019.1582440

Description of project

Motivated by a shared concern with what might be termed as ‘geo-violence’ in Malawi, where past and current geopolitical conflict, global capitalist development, land governance and management, and complex environmental crises associated with climate change intersect to effect a slow violence upon the body, as well as the communities of which those bodies are a part, four of our group – an artist working on creative Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (Nicholson), a geomatics scholar (Barrett), an environmental geochemist (Long) and a political geographer (Dixon) – are based in the same academic school (Geographical and Earth Sciences) at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, while a fifth person (Moyo) gained his PhD in Geography from this same school before returning to Malawi to lecture on natural resources and agriculture. As part of the broad-based ‘Sustainable Futures in Africa Network’, we were able to access the expertise of one of Malawi’s non-governmental organisation (NGO) leaders (Pullanikkatil). Given our shared concern for understanding the multiple stresses, both physical and social, impacting upon individuals and groups in Malawi, we visualised data of Likangala River Catchment in Zomba district and Tikondwe Freedom Gardens in Dowa district. This creative geovisualization process was documented in a journal article.

This project was an engineering, social and economic evaluation of food processing in the rural areas of Malawi and Kenya. The aim was to collect the information necessary for designing a clean and low-cost energy system for cogeneration of heat and electricity from agricultural waste to support food processing.

Background:

Agricultural activities are major contributors to many African economies. These activities require efficient downstream processes such as drying, roasting, boiling and refrigeration, which are all energy intensive and demand heat, electricity or both. Yet, severe energy issues in sub-Saharan Africa continue to hamper modernisation of these processes, stressing the economy, environment and public health of many African nations.

As a remedy, advanced technologies for thermochemical conversion of biomass are proposed to be combined with the state-of-the-art power-generation techniques. This results in a cost-effective integrated energy system, which takes biomass in the form of agricultural waste and converts it to heat and electricity with high efficiency and low emissions. The engineering applicants have strong track records in these areas. Nonetheless, knowledge of the local capacities, demands and challenges related to food processing industries in ODA countries remains as an imperative unknown. This calls for gathering information from the regional partners and evaluating the technical and social factors of the technology accordingly.

The essence of this study was to throw light on the differences between Kenya and Malawi in relation to technical, social and economic aspects of energy for food processing. The study aimed to understand the energy resources, availability, usage, cost, for food processing and its social and economic facets. This study is unique as it is multi-disciplinary, while other related research tends to be more narrowly focused. Addressing these various concerns will help provide a holistic light on energy issues and food processing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Comparing Malawi and Kenya gives insights into two economically different countries and provides insights to the similarities and differences when it comes to biomass use for cooking, which can provide understandings for policy recommendations.

Activities done:

Questionnaire surveys were conducted in Kenya and Malawi to collect information from farms, food processing units, local communities, governmental and other relevant organisations. The data collection fieldwork portion of the project began on 1 Dec 2017 and ended on 15 Jan 2018. Data analysis and writing up of the evaluation results was from January to June 2018. A total of 394 individual surveys were received from Kenya, and 137 from Malawi. A report was prepared and is online at University of Glasgow’s website.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The project has brought together people from various disciplines to critically reflect upon, and expand the contexts of, the data produced by diverse scientific expertise. Certainly, the story maps we are working on provide insights into the processes and events present at both Tikondwe Freedom Gardens and the Likangala River. But what we have striven to map using this particular medium is something of the practices that are undertaken, yet often glossed, in the knowledge production process itself, insofar as these sites become knowable within particular conceptual and methodological frameworks. In setting out to actively repurpose our datasets – to undertake a practice- led mapping of these datasets – we have also sought to experiment with knowledge production, producing small narratives of people and place that tell us as much about the nature of these epistemes as they do about the sites.

Future and ideas for partnership development

This project is now complete. Interdisciplinary work and story mapping would be of interest to team members.


Project 12: Kenya-Malawi Biomass Energy Project

Enhancing information on fuel used for cooking in Kenya and Malawi particularly the technical, economic, social and end-user aspects.

University of glasgow 3

Area of work: Renewable Energy
Location of work:
Bwumbwe, Phalombe, Zomba, Lilongwe, Machinga districts of Malawi

Project lead:
Dr. Nader Karimi
Contact details:
Nader.Karimi@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Abundance Worldwide
Partner contact:
Dr. Deepa Pullanikkatil
Contact details:
d.pullanikkatil@gmail.com

Funding:
Scottish Funding Council Global Challenges Research Fund 2017-2018
More information:
www.abundanceworldwide.org

Description of project

This project was an engineering, social and economic evaluation of food processing in the rural areas of Malawi and Kenya. The aim was to collect the information necessary for designing a clean and low-cost energy system for cogeneration of heat and electricity from agricultural waste to support food processing.

Background:

Agricultural activities are major contributors to many African economies. These activities require efficient downstream processes such as drying, roasting, boiling and refrigeration, which are all energy intensive and demand heat, electricity or both. Yet, severe energy issues in sub-Saharan Africa continue to hamper modernisation of these processes, stressing the economy, environment and public health of many African nations.

As a remedy, advanced technologies for thermochemical conversion of biomass are proposed to be combined with the state-of-the-art power-generation techniques. This results in a cost-effective integrated energy system, which takes biomass in the form of agricultural waste and converts it to heat and electricity with high efficiency and low emissions. The engineering applicants have strong track records in these areas. Nonetheless, knowledge of the local capacities, demands and challenges related to food processing industries in ODA countries remains as an imperative unknown. This calls for gathering information from the regional partners and evaluating the technical and social factors of the technology accordingly.

The essence of this study was to throw light on the differences between Kenya and Malawi in relation to technical, social and economic aspects of energy for food processing. The study aimed to understand the energy resources, availability, usage, cost, for food processing and its social and economic facets. This study is unique as it is multi-disciplinary, while other related research tends to be more narrowly focused. Addressing these various concerns will help provide a holistic light on energy issues and food processing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Comparing Malawi and Kenya gives insights into two economically different countries and provides insights to the similarities and differences when it comes to biomass use for cooking, which can provide understandings for policy recommendations.

Activities done:

Questionnaire surveys were conducted in Kenya and Malawi to collect information from farms, food processing units, local communities, governmental and other relevant organisations. The data collection fieldwork portion of the project began on 1 Dec 2017 and ended on 15 Jan 2018. Data analysis and writing up of the evaluation results was from January to June 2018. A total of 394 individual surveys were received from Kenya, and 137 from Malawi. A report was prepared and is online at University of Glasgow’s website.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The project was a research project and hence the impact is enhanced knowledge through primary data collection in Kenya and Malawi filling knowledge gaps on interdisciplinary aspects of fuel use, cooking and food processing and comparison between the two countries.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We would like to explore socio-cultural aspects of everyday cooking practices in Malawi. We are developing proposal to seek funding for this.


Project 13: Placing Communities at the Heart of Drone Use in Malawi: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities

We work with local communities to explore what ‘meaningful consent’ to having a drone presence should, and could, mean.

Area of work: Drones
Location of work:
Lilongwe, Machinga

Project lead:
Prof. Deborah Dixon
Contact details:
Deborah.Dixon@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Abundance Worldwide
Partner contact:
Dr Boyson Moyo
Contact details:
bmoyo@luanar.ac.mw

Funding:
Academy of Medical Sciences

Description of project

Drones are becoming increasingly used in Malawi by diverse scientists and businesses working on environmental change and agriculture, as well as NGOs focused on health and education. Drones can carry cameras that can sense a range of environmental phenomena, and inform 3-dimensional maps, but can also be used to transport materials (including medical materials) from one location to another.

Within Malawi, efforts have been made to bring scientists and NGOs together with industry and state departments to develop drone capacity, culminating in the 2016 establishment of a 'drone corridor' by UNICEF and the Malawi Government. There remains the key issue, however, of integrating communities into these emerging drone geographies beyond 'sensitising' them to a drone presence or treating them as passive recipients of humanitarian aid.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The project funding was approved, and funds are waiting to be transferred to LUANAR Malawi. Tentatively a kick-off workshop will be held in August 2019. Progress would be shared once project is underway.

This year-long series of meetings and workshops directly addresses the question of how communities can be placed at the heart of drone practices by assessing: how community-led identification of problematics can be fed into drone research; 'how meaningful consent' in drone research can be developed; and how an inclusive sharing of drone practices and knowledges can be fostered.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Organizations working on drones are requested to contact Dr.Boyson Moyo for potentially be invited for engagement in this project.


Project 14: Community engagement in international and development-led research

Increasing the level of understanding of community perspectives, communication needs, and successful engagement tools for community integrated research and intervention in international contexts.

Area of work: Sustainable Development, Community Engagement
Location of work:
Mzimba District

Project lead:
Dr Mia Perry
Contact details:
Mia.Perry@glasgow.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Abundance Worldwide, ArtGlo
Partner contact:
Dr Boyson Moyo
Contact details:
bmoyo@luanar.ac.mw

Funding:
GCRF-SFC internal grants 2019-2020

Description of project

This interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral project will increase the level of understanding of community perspectives, communication needs, and successful engagement tools for community integrated research and intervention in international contexts. The project builds capacity for researchers and aid organisation stakeholders, as well as community participants. A workshop in Malawi will follow a series of initiatives to gather lived experiences from these key actors in international and development-led research projects.

This initiative is a bottom-up approach that seeks to challenge and response to the too common top-down research agendas. To bridge the gap between research teams and communities, our main activity will be to build capacities through the development and distribution of a resource about community engagement in international – development led contexts for researchers and development workers in LMIC countries, as well as UK partners involved in the research teams. This will be achieved by co-designing and carrying out a workshop with the Malawian hub of the Sustainable Futures in Africa network and the local communities of Mzimba District – in Malawi.

The workshop will reflect the knowledge and experiences acquired across diverse contexts of community practice (including fishing, farming, education, healthcare, governance) from the perspectives of communities themselves, researchers, and development workers. The workshop will explore experiences in relation to methodological possibilities and result in a critical resource based on, and complementing, the model developed recently by the SFA network in their “Critical Resource for Ethical International Partnerships”. This resource looked at research partnerships across diverse disciplines and geographies and is presented as a short visual and accessible booklet available in printed or digital format (due to be published in Sept. 2019).

Key successes and outcomes so far

Progress would be shared once project is underway.


Queen Margaret University

Queen Margaret University is connected to Malawi through its institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD), a multi-disciplinary centre for research and postgraduate education, addressing contemporary health and development challenges in low and middle income countries.  In addition, QMU is in partnership with the Malawian NGO, STEKA, nd the QMU based Scottish charity STEKAskills. Through this QMU has successfully offered scholarships to two STEKA residents on 6 month filmmaking courses, a 4.5 year scholarship to a young resident currently studying a BA (Hons) in Public Sociology, and a further 100 students have benefited through the STEKA projects.

Projects

Project 1: The Dialogue Project

Empowering young people, reducing donor dependency, reframing voluntourism, creating global understanding of the SDGs, providing quality work for young Malawians, challenging ‘white saviourism’.

STEKKA

Area of work: Education, Sustainable Development
Location of work:
Blantyre & surrounding districts

Project lead:
Emma Wood
Contact details:
ewood@qmu.ac.uk

Partner organisation: STEKA (Step Kids Awareness)
Contact details:
stekaskills@gmail.com

Funding:
STEKAskills received a feasibility study small grant from the Scottish Government
More information:
www.stekaskills.com

Description of project

Our project, currently named The Unmunthu Dialogues, aims to co-produce a new model of voluntourism which empowers young Malawians to inspire their Scottish peers to communicate in solidarity to meet the UN’s vision for achieving the SDGs.

The UN states that voluntourism is a ‘powerful means’ of achieving the SDGs, but current models typically involve young people from the Global North going as volunteer-tourists to Global-South countries doing work which young people there could be paid for (building/ painting/ digging). Evidence shows this can disenfranchise local people, denying them agency. Our action research aims to co-produce an alternative approach with ‘beneficiaries’ of voluntourism, who have been denied a voice in determining how the practice can ‘help’ them. Young Malawian residents of a children’s home are working with a multidisciplinary team of academics and visionary Malawian activists to reinvent the voluntourism experience in a way which empowers them, reduces their donor dependency, provides them with high quality employment, generates sustainable income from visiting school groups and gives visiting Scottish pupils a deep understanding of global citizenship and ways to communicate in solidarity to bring about changes needed to achieve the SDGs.

The Dialogue Groups are run by young care experienced Malawians who have a range of diverse insights into live in Malawi. They tell stories they have chosen which relate to a number of SDGs in particular gender equality, climate change, poverty, education and the right to quality work and economic growth. They then facilitate critical analysis of the stories and topics with the young Scots. No ‘adults’ can take part or hear what’s discussed so the young people don’t need to perform in prescribed way as ‘learner’ or deliver the ‘right’ answers – they create new knowledge. Diversity means a range of different stories is shared and the ‘brave space’ enables them to be interrogated and interpreted from multiple perspectives.

Instead of giving donations, the Scottish school pupils pay to participate in these high quality Dialogue Groups (run by the young Malawians). The approach is based on Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, aimed at empowering young people to challenge social norms and critically analyse the way they communicate, and could communicate for change. The Dialogue Groups run by young Malawians for Young Scots challenge the aid framed view of travelling to poor countries to ‘make a difference’ sometimes known as ‘white saviour trips’ and, in particular, the use of selfies and photographs which disempower Malawians.

Profit from the Dialogue Groups will be used to sustain a STEKA Centre for Vocational Skills and Community Enterprise.

Key successes and outcomes so far

We have completed a feasibility study, so we know that the approach can work successfully. We now need to continue to develop the approach so that it can be scaled up and run on a commercial basis.

If funding was available, we would also like to further develop a ‘selfless selfie’ photoelicitation approach to co-creating content to be shared with wide audiences on social media and in real life. This would enable young visitors to Malawi to communicate what they learn through dialogue with each other in a way designed to bring about the change in attitudes and behaviours needed to meet the SDG challenges.

We have modelled the critical dialogue approach and used it to test the way in which it empowers the young people and have collected evidence indicating how it works, showing that young Scots are experiencing a transformation in the way they view Malawians and their trip to Malawi (and the Malawians, a transformation in the way they view some of their own cultural practices and values). They can all identify what they learn in relation to the SDGs, and also about resilience and solidarity and some of the ways they can engage in bringing about positive change.

The key here is that new knowledge is created through the dialogues. For example, in addition to the more obvious learning points, the Scots reflect on social isolation in Scotland in relation to community in Malawi, the importance of legislation being in place and enacted, inequality as the cause of poverty and so on.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We would like to collaborate with partner organisations interested in allowing young people to visit and hear about the work they are doing in Malawi (especially if it’s SDG related) . This could just be the group of young Malawians who could then share their insight with their visitors, or it could be visits from the young Malawians accompanying visiting Scottish school pupils to operate as citizen journalists (and not take inappropriate photographs or position themselves as the centre of the narrative).

Alternatively, our Dialogue Team could train other Malawians to facilitate respectful visits from Global North visitors.

Project 2: Localised Evidence and Decision-making (LEAD)

Improving evidence use and usefulness for local decision-making in public health programmes.

University of Dundee image 2

Area of work: Public Health
Location of work:
Across Malawi

Project lead:
Georgina Pearson
Contact details:
GPearson@qmu.ac.uk

Funding: Bloomsbury set
More information:
http://www.lse.ac.uk/africa/research/Localised-Evidence-and-Decision-making-LEAD

Description of project

In sub-Saharan Africa, local public health practitioners are part of a larger global health system, wherein they implement disease-specific, global health interventions. While these are largely financed by external agents through development assistance, the information and evidence needed for effective decision-making at this level has not been extensively studied. The LEAD Project addresses this need in public health decision-making.

Through new research and an extensive series of workshops the project will create explicit links between local practitioners and the development evidence, identifying local evidence needs and elucidating the complexity of implementation from the local perspective. Using a complex systems approach, this information will influence the methodological choices, inputs and outcomes of modelling intervention implementations, and will inform the exploration of artificial intelligence techniques.

The activities of the LEAD Project are aimed at improving the development and use of locally-applicable evidence for decisions surrounding global health interventions by local public health practitioners, which will ultimately produce better health outcomes for the intended beneficiaries. The LEAD Project focuses on mass drug administration (MDA) for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths around the African Great Lakes Region, as a representative global health intervention. Fieldwork is focused on the epidemiologically relevant areas of Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda.

The case of MDA is especially important in the context of antimicrobial resistance, with the mass distribution of tablets within child and maternal health for malaria, HIV, neglected tropical disease and chronic disease interventions potentially encouraging the emergence of resistant microbials, among other health concerns.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The project is currently in latter stages of conducting preliminary in-country workshops across the African Great Lakes Region. Current discussions are around what an ongoing partnership would look like, and what future work could result. The project is still in its early stages, so it is difficult to reflect, however a productive workshops was run in Malawi in December 2019.

Scotland's Rural College

Alongside the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and Mzuzu University, Scotland's Rural College has worked on livestock development projects since 2008. During this time, the partnerships have facilitated multiply staff exchange visits, join supervisions of research projects, training sessions, and workshop events.

Projects

Project 1: Assessing the Contribution of the Dairy Sector to Economic Growth and Food Security in Malawi (2012-2015)

Addressing some of the key challenges faced by the dairy supply chain through an assessment of its operation that could help boost the potential contribution of the sector to economic growth and food security.

Scotland rural college 1

Area of work: Livestock, Dairy, Economy
Location of work:
Across Malawi

Project lead:
Dr Cesar Revoredo-Giha
Contact details:
cesar.revoredo@sruc.ac.uk

Partner organisation: LUANAR, AICC
Partner contact:
Dr. Felix Lombe
Contact details:
aicc@aiccafrica.org

Funding:
DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme
More information:
https://www.sruc.ac.uk/info/120257/food_marketing/802/assessing_contribution_of_dairy_sector_to_economic_growth_and_food_security_in_malawi

Description of project

The purpose of this project was to address some of the key challenges faced by the dairy supply chain through an assessment of its operation that could help boost the potential contribution of the sector to economic growth and food security. In particular, the project assessed issues of efficiency, productivity, infrastructure quality, consumers’ interest for safe milk.

The methodology of project has involved several stages, some of which are:

  • Review of the operation of each of the chain stages;
  • Integration of results into a multimarket model to simulate the impact of different policy scenarios on food security indicators and sector growth;
  • Propose solutions based on the quantitative and qualitative evidence and on the analysis.

Some of the work included:

  • Survey of 460 dairy producers;
  • Semi-structured interviews with 25 milk bulking groups;
  • Interviews with most of the processors and several stakeholders (including donors);
  • Interviews with consumers;
  • Survey to retail shelves (retail audit to collect retail prices);
  • Estimation of a demand system using the latest LSMS for Malawi 2010-11.
Key successes and outcomes so far

The project ended in 2015 but additional work was carried out supported by SRUC.

Information about the dairy sector in Malawi before the project was from 2004 and plenty of it was repeating older data. The project collected and updated the information available about the sector. This information was used for two purposes: one was for the processors to apply successfully for funds to improve the formal dairy supply chains, and second, it was used to carry out an analysis of the incidence of the VAT that the Government imposed for milk.

Future and ideas for partnership development

The website of our project has plenty of information to share about the dairy sector in Malawi. There is additional information that has not been uploaded due to confidentiality and may be accessed upon request.

It is important to mention that the project carried out a research project, not a development one, and therefore, its most important output was the provision of information. I believe that there are opportunities to do similar work for other sectors, considering entire value chains, from farmers to consumers. This can part of a project.

Key for the development of the food industry is to understand the demand that it faces, e.g., how they respond to prices, changes in income, advertising. The information about the food demand is limited and more work should be focused on it. It is important for issues of trade, sustainability, nutrition and health, etc.

Project 2: Formulating Value Chains for Orphan Crops in Africa

Genetic improvement of orphan crops to increase resilience to climate change and improve productivity

Scotland rural college 2

Area of work: Agriculture, Genetics, Climate Change, Sustainability
Location of work:
Across Malawi

Partner organisation:
AICC
Project lead: Dr. Felix Lombe
Contact details:
aicc@aiccafrica.org

Funding: BBSRC as a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)
More information:
https://www.sruc.ac.uk/homepage/1123/formulating_value_chains_for_orphan_crops_in_africa

Description of project

The current strategy regarding orphan crops focuses on genetic improvement to increase resilience to climate change and to improve productivity, under the assumption that increased diversity of crop species sown and harvested implies a greater diversity of consumption. However, this is not the case in rural or urban areas. The purpose of this project was to more effectively bridge current supply-side research on orphan crops with attitudes from consumers, to help have an impact on poverty, health, sustainable growth and food security in developing countries.

The project is multidisciplinary with the interaction of social, crop and food scientists. Its components comprised:

  1. Supply chain and demand component – It aimed to understand the demand side of orphan crops and their value chains and how production systems interact with their political, economic, societal and cultural contexts. SRUC knowledge exchanged with the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC), which is interested in the generation of sustainable agribusinesses to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth in the agricultural sector.
  2. Food science component - The food science worked on ingredients and healthy products is targeted to food companies who will be contacted by the project's team members through links with other parties.
  3. Crop Science component - This component worked on strategies for maximising crop productivity and quality, and ensuring resilience to increasing climatic variability and against pests and diseases for the selected orphan crops. In this way, it will complement other international promotion efforts on these crops.
Key successes and outcomes so far

The project ended in 2019 and the plans are to continue transforming the results of the project into papers to disseminate them.

Based on the impact so far, we would say that there are four key successes

  1. The research showed the importance of including the demand on the development of orphan crops and this was understood by the African Orphan Crops Consortium. This was also clear from our discussion with Malawian stakeholders (African Institute of Corporate Citizenship).
  2. The survey of breeders carried out showed their preferences in terms of what orphan crops should be prioritised amongst a list of 101 crops. It highlighted that three top bottlenecks to orphan crop’s use are: knowledge about crops and how they could be used was most often considered the most important constraint, availability of high-quality planting material and market availability.
  3. The project highlighted the need for experienced traders specialised in organising supply chains as a key component for linking farmers to the markets. It was found that these traders require to be specialised on supply chain management.
  4. There are opportunities to produce processed foods that are healthier and the research studied the possibility of substituting current ingredients at least in part with healthier orphan crop ingredients (e.g., amaranth and finger millet).
Future and ideas for partnership development

The survey of breeders carried out showed their preferences in terms of what orphan crops should be prioritised amongst a list of 101 crops. There is the possibility to do work about those crops to study the most important constraint, availability of high-quality planting material, market availability as well as consumers’ interest.

Key for the development of the food industry is to understand the demand that it faces, e.g., how they response to prices, changes in income, advertising. The information about the food demand is limited and more work should be focused on it to be passed to the industry and other stakeholders. It is important for issues of trade, sustainability, nutrition and health, etc.

University of St Andrews

St Andrews has previously been in a collaborative project with the college of Medicine in Blantyre, to assist with a major review or its medical curriculum. The changes were successfully implemented in 2009 and St Andrews has since continued to work on other Malawian projects, as well as remaining an engaged member of the Scotland Malawi Partnership.

Projects

Project 1: The Implications of Cyclone Idai on Disaster Management in Malawi

A scoping project to establish future areas of research on disaster management in Malawi, particularly since the severe flooding in 2015 and 2019.

University of Dundee image 1

Area of work: Disaster Management, Flooding
Location of work:
Lilongwe, Chikwawa and Nsanje

Project lead:
Hebe Nicholson
Contact details:
Hn7@st-andrews.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Malawi Scotland Partnership
Partner contact:
Vera Kamtukule
Contact details:
vera@malawiscotlandpartnership.org

Funding:
The University of St Andrews’ KE Impact Fund
More information:
http://www.malawiscotlandpartnership.org/

Description of project

The project aim was to examine the impact of Cyclone Idai, which occurred in March 2019, on the management of flooding in Malawi. Cyclone Idai was a novel weather phenomenon in this region, with no previous cyclone of this magnitude occurring before. It had an international reach in a way unlike previous flooding events in this region. It also occurred just 4 years after the worst flooding experience in Malawi in living memory, which occurred in January 2015. Thus, this cyclone event has implications on how potential disasters are viewed, prepared for and managed in the future. This research produced a report for relevant stakeholders in Malawi and Scotland, which details what these implications entail. As well as highlighting future areas for relevant research.

The report was produced through information gained during fieldwork between September – November 2019. This fieldwork consisted of interviews and focus group discussions with relevant government, academics and NGO officials in Lilongwe, Chikwawa and Nsanje, and members of three flooding-vulnerable communities in Chikwawa and Nsanje. There were 21 interviews with government officials, academic and NGO employees, as well as six community focus group discussions. The interviews and focus group discussions focused on the impact of the March 2019 flooding and the difference this cyclone has or has not made.

The project built on research conducted by the PhD intern, which looks at government resettlement as a way to manage flooding in Malawi. Thus, the PhD intern had existing knowledge of the disaster management structure and process up until Cyclone Idai, which was expected to have changed the situation. How it is changed was the subject of the research.

Key successes and outcomes so far

We have finished the scoping project and are assessing what future projects can develop from this.

The scoping project produced interested findings, suggesting that weather systems forming from the Indian Ocean do have a significant impact on Malawi and are worthy of future research

Many of the interviews and focus group discussions conducted in the Lower Shire region of Malawi were with communities that the researcher had already worked with. This made a significant difference in the reception we received from these participants, which was particularly useful when we had such a short period of time for the scoping research. It enabled the participants to trust the researcher from the beginning and open up quite frankly about the impact of the cyclone and how the viewed the future of disaster management.

Future and ideas for partnership development

The research highlighted the need for future research exploring further the potential impact of weather systems (such as cyclones) formed in the Indian Ocean on Malawi. These weather systems are different from the monsoonal rains that Malawi normally receives, in that they are less predictable. They cannot be part of the seasonal forecast, as they only form a few days before they hit land. They are likely to become increasingly erratic and severe and have a greater potential for damaging countries further inland, like Malawi, which are less prepared for weather systems from the ocean. Whilst the government departments appear extremely capable to predict these weather systems, the general public of Malawi appear less aware of their dangers and how they may be different to normal monsoon rains. Therefore, more research could be conducted with Malawian academics and the support of the relevant government departments, exploring how to further prepare for and raise awareness of weather systems from the Indian Ocean.

Project 2: Comparative analysis of communication during Health Education (HE) and Health Coaching (HC) in primary healthcare in Malawi

Exploring the characteristics of information communication in the Health Education model vs Health Coaching model

University of Dundee image 2

Area of work: Health, Education, Coaching
Location of work:
Blantyre

Project lead:
Prof. Peter Mossey
Contact details:
p.a.mossey@dundee.ac.uk

Partner organisation: School of Public Health & Family Medicine, College of Medicine
Partner contact:
Dr Susan Carnes Chichlowska
Contact details:
MPHTutor@medcol.mw

Funding: GCRF

Description of project

Study Summary
An ethnographic study comparing HE versus HC in an urban primary care setting in Malawi is proposed. This method utilizes video technology, safe haven image storage, observer software and coding expertise from the University of Dundee (UoD). Training of healthcare professionals by the accredited health coach on the HC approach over 3 months will be followed by video recorded observations of 40 HC and 40 HE scenarios on 2 types of healthcare professionals` communication with their patients; (a) Dentists and (b) Dental Therapists at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. A health professionals’ workshop by experts from the University of Dundee to be conducted in Blantyre, Malawi at the end of the study.

Background to the study

A significant cause of mortality and morbidity in Malawi is due to NCDs (Muula and Mpabulungi, 2007; Msyamboza et al, 2011). Over the years, the HE model for effecting behaviour change has shown relative ineffectiveness in NCDs prevention and control (Kivela et al, 2014). The HC approach is emerging as a potential tool which guides and prompts people to be active participants in managing change in their own behaviour (NHS England, 2019).

Key successes and outcomes so far

At the moment we are in the process of finalising the ethical application with the National Health Sciences Research Committee of Malawi (NHSRC).

Future and ideas for partnership development

The integration of the oral health agenda with other NCDs because of the shared risk factors will create collaboration with other health professionals. The recent affiliation of oral health to the NCD Alliance alongside partners in diabetes, CVD and cancers will provide an ideal platform for a cost effective health improvement strategy. This trans-sectoral approach with an emphasis on upstream factors such as the social determinants of health brings together oral and general health with potential for primary prevention of all NCDs.

Also, interdisciplinary health related research activities in Malawi have, via the Tayside Institute for Global Health (TIGH) and the Dundee Africa Research Network (DARN) raised awareness and uncovered a range of other research activities in different UoD schools which will mean great opportunities for coordination and cooperation.

The participants in this pilot will also be well placed to develop future study protocols e.g. a follow up RCT and jointly apply for major research and implementation grants.

University of Stirling

The University of Stirling, in close collaboration with colleagues in Malawi, is engaged in a range of applied health across a range of research to develop cultures, communities and society, improve global security and resilience and developing and evaluating approaches and interventions to improve health and wellbeing outcomes.

Projects

Project 1: Safe Roads Africa

Preventing injury and death caused by road traffic collisions, and to develop, implement and evaluate a community resilience intervention that trains community members in life-saving first aid.

University of Stirling 1

Area of work: Health, Wellbeing, Traffic Collisions
Location of work:
Bangwe West, Limbe and Domasi

Project lead:
Dr. Edward Duncan
Contact details:
Edward.duncan@stir.ac.uk, Dr Greg Mannion - greg.mannion@stir.ac.uk

Partner organisation: University of Malawi College of Medicine, Polytechnic and Chancellor College
Pakachere Institute for Heath, Development and Communication
Jacaranda Foundation
Partner contact:
Dr Wakisa Mulwafu
Contact details:
wmulwafu2@gmail.com

Funding:
Medical Research Council, The Arts and Humanities Research Council, the University of Stirling
More information:
https://saferoadsafrica.com/

Description of project

Our work started in 2017 in Malawi, which has one of the world’s highest rates of road traffic related mortality (approximately 5,700 deaths as a result of RTCs each year) but one of the world’s lowest, though rapidly rising, rates of vehicle ownership.

Our Medical Research Councils and Arts and Humanity Research Council funded awards has the following long-term partnership aims:

  • To establish lasting interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral research partnership to develop, evaluate and disseminate innovative and sustainable solutions that prevent and respond to road traffic related trauma in Malawi, and across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • To investigate the barriers and facilitators, including cultural and contextual factors that influence the community prevention of and response to road traffic related trauma.
  • To develop a programme intervention to improve community prevention and first-response within local communities highly affected by road traffic related trauma.
  • To consider the potential transferability of the developed programme intervention across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • To communicate the outputs of the partnership, and the interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral methods that are used to achieve its aims, to a local national and international audience.
  • To develop a partnership funding plan to ensure sustainability of the partnership.
Key successes and outcomes so far

Following from our work to date 42 individuals in Bangwe and Domasi have been trained in an intense internationally recognised First Aid training Programme. Following our prevention intervention, improvements to the road infrastructure around two schools in Limbe have been made – a direct consequence of our work. Further details on this work can be found on Twitter by searching #saferoadsafrica.

Future and ideas for partnership development

To date the community resilience intervention has been co-developed with local communities and national stakeholders. In addition, a prevention intervention targeted at adolescents in schools has also been developed and feasibility tested. Research funding applications are currently under review and further applications are planned for the Spring of 2020.

We continue to aim to:-

  • Reduce the number of road traffic related collisions in communities
  • Save lives by responding better to collisions when they occur
  • Enable people who have been affected by road traffic related trauma to recover and continue living healthy and productive lives

We are very open to collaborating with people who are interested in working to reduce deaths and injuries due to road traffic collisions.

Project 2: REvAMP Consortium for Alcohol Policy research (Malawi)

Promote population level policy and policymaking in Malawi that can reduce alcohol-related harms in Malawi

Area of work: Alcohol, Policy
Location of work:
Across Malawi

Project lead:
Dr Isabelle Uny
Contact details:
Isabelle.uny@stir.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Chancellor College University of Malawi
Partner contact:
Dr Benjamin Kaneka
Contact details:
bkaneka@cc.ac.mw

Funding: Internal Connect funding and the University of Stirling
More information:
www.unima.mw

Description of project

We develop effective working relationships with LMIC partners (currently Malawi, Uganda, South Africa, Lebanon, Peru, Brazil, and Honduras) on alcohol policy research. We discuss and agree research priorities of mutual interest that meet and develop viable research project proposals, with a view to UK ODA-linked Research Funding (GCRF, MRC Applied Global Health).

We are also interested in the impact of alcohol marketing on consumption at community level.

Key successes and outcomes so far

We are currently developing funding applications for projects in Malawi, Uganda and South Africa (MRC Applied Global health, Health Systems Research Initiative 7, Global Research Challenge Fund)

Future and ideas for partnership development

We would like to collaborate with any Scotland Malawi Partnership member who is working on the population level impact of alcohol policy and looking to reduce harm from alcohol consumption at community level.

Project 3: Promoting Respectful childbirth Care in Malawi

Intervention Development and Feasibility of Using 'respect circles' to promote respectful care in childbirth in Malawi.

Area of work: Health, Maternal Health, Quality of Care
Location of work:
Blantyre District

Project lead:
Dr Isabelle Uny
Contact details:
Isabelle.uny@stir.ac.uk

Partner organisation: MUST, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital
Partner contact:
Prof. Address Malata
Contact details:
amalata@must.ac.mw

Description of project

Together the partners have submitted a bid to the Global Health Research Challenge Fund Maternal and Neonatal Health seed funding for an Intervention Development and Feasibility of Using 'respect circles' to promote respectful care in childbirth in Malawi. Our objective is to work together to refine, prototype and assess the feasibility of delivering an intervention based around 'respect circles' for improving the quality of childbirth care in Malawi. The main aims are to:

Gain a deeper understanding of women's, guardians' and midwives' priorities around childbirth, and identify any conflicts in priorities;

  1. Gain a deeper understanding of women's, guardians' and midwives' priorities around childbirth, and identify any conflicts in priorities;
  2. Identify barriers and facilitators to changing the behaviours of midwives, but also of women and guardians, and ascertain what elements of the intervention can address these factors;
  3. Collaboratively agree on concrete changes (action plans) which can be made immediately at low cost to promote good communications and high-quality, respectful childbirth care at health facilities.

Project 4: Bats without Borders

To improve ecological knowledge of bats in southern Africa and to conserve bat populations and biodiversity.

Area of work: Research, Conservation, Bats
Location of work:
Across Malawi

Project lead:
Prof. Kirsty Park
Contact details:
k.j.park@stir.ac.uk

Partner organisation: MUST
Partner contact:
Dr Tiwonge Gawa
Contact details:
Rachel@batswithoutboarders.org

Funding: Rufford Foundation and EU (via the Global Biodiversity Information Facility)
More information:
http://www.batswithoutborders.org/

Description of project

Bats without Borders, a registered Scottish charity based at the University of Stirling works across southern Africa to conserve bat populations and biodiversity by engaging with children, adults, students, researchers, communities, decision makers, conservationists, land managers, agricultural industry and private and public institutions.

The founder, Dr Rachael Cooper-Bohannon, an honorary research fellow at UoS is based in Malawi, and Prof. Kirsty Park (based at UoS) is the Chair of the board. A brief outline of recent activities is listed below:

  • In partnership with the Livingstone Museum (Zambia), we completed the EU funded Zambian bat data mobilisation project – as well as increasing the amount of bat data available to researchers, this project greatly enhanced local capacity through training.
  • Members of the BwB team regularly run a number of training and education courses, including for rangers and community members at Kasanka National Park.
  • In 2019, we ran a workshop for early career ecologists in Malawi, funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund through the University of Stirling. Thirty participants from across Malawi joined the workshop, which included speakers from BwB, University of Stirling, Malawi and South Africa. Discussions and group exercises covered threats to Malawi’s biodiversity, identifying information gaps, designing ecological surveys, science communication and presentation skills. The long-term vision for positive economic and societal outcomes likely to be achieved through the workshop will be to: 1.) strengthen capacity to bridge knowledge and skills gaps to enable Malawi to halt threatened species’ population declines; 2.) work together to prioritise action to mitigate the current conservation threats of Malawi’s fauna and flora; 3.) address threats and improve the conservation status of focal populations and/or habitats that are threatened and declining.
Key successes and outcomes so far

Bats without Borders continue to work with local NGOs, National Parks to pursue all areas of the charity’s work (outlined above).

Project 5: From fuel to pot

An interdisciplinary partnership to address the role of solid fuel use in food preparation in the household in Kenya and Malawi.

Area of work: Household Energy use; maternal and child health
Location of work:
Blantyre (informal settlement of Ndirande)

Project lead:
Dr Isabelle Uny
Contact details:
Isabelle.uny@stir.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Malawi University for Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS)
Partner contact:
L. Kalumbi

Funding: Arts and Humanities research Council
More information: https://www.stir.ac.uk/research/hub/contract/1420147

Description of project

More than 3 billion people globally cook their food on solid fuels including wood, charcoal, coal and animal dung, as these are the most available and affordable sources of energy. Those most affected are poor urban and peri-urban dwellers in low and middle income countries (LMICs) who cannot afford to connect to the modern energy infrastructure for their cooking needs, and who live in high-density housing with limited ventilation. Women and girls are particularly at risk as they are the primary cooking fuel gatherers and the primary cooks in most LMICs. The aim of this 20 months project is to better understand the role of solid fuel ( charcoal, wood, biomass waste etc) use in cooking food in informal settlements in Kenya and Malawi, given its adverse health impacts, and in order to develop innovative and contextually appropriate interventions. We will work closely with community members in the slum of Mukuru ( Kenya) and Ndirande ( Malawi). We will use participatory and and interdisciplinary methods to explore the lived experiences of women and children in households which cook food with solid fuels in Kenya and Malawi.

We will conduct walking interviews to understand the experience of the of ‘fuel to pot’ journey in Mukuru and Ndirande and use photovoice methods to explore and understand the lived experience of community members of cooking using solid fuel. We will also visualize and sense-check the data co-constructed with community members using a range of techniques focused on visual literacy (pop-up exhibitions of posters, paintings or drawings made by local artists and videos), and engage in a discussion with community members in Mukuru and Ndirande around potential intervention ideas which the Partnership may take forward to address their priorities in terms of cooking food on solid fuels. We will take the feedback from those discussion to further stakeholders events with policy makers, government officials, NGOS, academics and traditional leaders and discuss the potential intervention ideas and their feasibility and appropriateness, at events in Nairobi and Blantyre.

Key successes and outcomes so far

What has worked well in these first few months (bearing in mind the pandemic and the impact of the ODA cuts) is our programme of training and knowledge sharing online, co-designed and delivered by members of the team in Malawi, Scotland and Kenya.

Future and ideas for partnership development

The project will finish Sept 2022. We will use learning and findings to co-develop with the communities involved potential interventions that are both contextually appropriate, but also feasible and sustainable.

University of Strathclyde

The Strathclyde Malawi Programme is a valuable illustration of the University's contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, spanning student activities, research ad impactful knowledge exchange. Over 20 years, Strathclyde has established a secure and expanding network of partners in Malawi, spanning universities, local and national government agencies, businesses and third sector organisation.

Projects

Project 1: Distributed pumped hydro for transforming energy and water access

This mid-stage energy catalyst project focuses on the integration of smaller-scale, pumped storage hydroelectric systems to provide power for local communities.

Area of work: Renewable Energy, Water
Location of work:
Mulanje Region

Project lead:
Dr Douglas Bertram
Contact details:
douglas.bertram@strath.ac.uk

Partner organisation: BASEFlow Malawi
Contact details:
info@baseflowmw.com

Funding:
Innovate UK and in partnership with Water Powered Technologies Ltd
More information:
https://www.waterpoweredtechnologies.com/

Description of project

Details of project partnership and subcontractors are currently under review.

Key successes and outcomes so far

In the first three months, we have selected two sites, one in Malawi in the Mulanje region, and a second site in Uganda. We are working with local community and academic partners to support developing these pilot sites and hope to roll out wider installation in due course. Community engagement is progressing well and my colleagues have visited Malawi and Uganda for the first round of commissioning talks.

As of October 2019, the project has been put on hold for 6 months to resolve contractual issues in Uganda. Once resolved, the project will progress with site development.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We would be keen to work with wider community partners in water engineering, agriculture, renewable energies and power generation, water resource management, policy, economic and governance to explore future opportunities.

We are also keen to work with new communities and NGOs to identify future sites for development.

Project 2: Closing the Inequality Gap in Children’s Educational Attainment in Malawi

Improving educational attainment for children in disadvantaged schools in Malawi.

University of Strathclyde 2

Area of work: Education
Location of work:
Central Malawi

Project lead:
Dr Edward Sosu
Contact details:
edward.sosu@strath.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Partner contact:
Dr Felix Maulidi

Funding: University of Strathclyde SFC GCRF funding
More information:
https://pureportal.strath.ac.uk/en/projects/evidence-into-action-promoting-equitable-access-to-quality-peaq-e

Description of project

Children in Malawi face significant challenges of equity and access to quality education. Crucially, benefits of educational improvements are not equitably distributed. For instance, children from more advantaged backgrounds outperform their peers from low-income households, those in urban areas do better than rural schools, and resource allocation preferences continue to inhibit educational outcomes for girls. Addressing these challenges requires sustained attention to generating high quality research to inform education policy making, and development of structures to support evidence-informed educational policy making

This project aims to address these challenges through the development of an interdisciplinary network of academic and non-academic partners in the UK Malawi to:

  1. carryout research examining the nature of inequalities in educational access, experiences and outcomes
  2. enhance research capacity and expertise in the generation of robust policy relevant research evidence
  3. consolidate an active network of key stakeholders necessary for enabling research evidence into policy and practice;
  4. develop and pilot intervention to improve educational attainment for children attending schools with low progression
Key successes and outcomes so far

A research dissemination conference “Closing the Inequality Gap in Children’s Educational Attainment” was held in Malawi on 2nd April 2019. The event brought together key stakeholders from various organisations (e.g., Ministries of Education; Civil Society; Universities; NGO’s; and the media). The findings presented focused on the role of multidimensional poverty as well as social, cultural and policy barriers to children’s educational attainment. The dissemination event was extensively covered by national newspapers (daily nation), radio and television in both countries:

https://allafrica.com/stories/201904030191.html

http://www.luanar.ac.mw/luanar/news_detail.php?id=592

Participants discussed solutions and ways of improving attainment for these children. Among other things, there was a commitment from staff from the Ministry of Education to ensure that issues such as inability to pay examination fees is not a basis for preventing children from attending lessons.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Our findings indicate that, barriers to educational attainment for children from disadvantaged backgrounds cuts across various sectors. There is therefore an opportunity for collaboration with other organisations involved in issues related to school building, nutrition, transportation, and economic empowerment

The next stage of this work will involve the development of an intervention protocol based on our findings aimed at improving educational attainment in these schools.

Project 3: Tsogolo Langa Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Programme

The overall programme aims to increase the use of sexual and reproductive health services by all women, including underserved women, youth, adolescents and people with disabilities.

Area of work: Health, Sexual & Reproductive Health
Location of work:
Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Dedza, Mangochi, Mchinji, Mwanza, Nkhata Bay, Phalombe

Project lead:
Dr Tracy Morse
Contact details:
tracy.thomson@strath.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Population Services International (PSI), Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Malawi, WASHTED Centre at the University of Malawi

Description of project

This is a 5-year implementation project to improve sexual and reproductive health rights in Malawi. Led by PSI Malawi, the University of Strathclyde are leading the research component which will focus on identifying gaps in current provision of service and developing innovative methods for service delivery and uptake to improve sexual and reproductive health rights in Malawi.

Key successes and outcomes so far

To date this programme has developed a research agenda hand in hand with project partners and stakeholders to ensure that the work being undertaken is addressing specific concerns for Malawi and SRH sector.

The research team have undertaken an extensive desk review of SRHR related to adolescents and have extensive experience to share in this area with other partners.

Future and ideas for partnership development

The project began in July 2019 and will continue to November 2023. The team is currently completing the development of the research agenda with partners and will be focussed on undertaking specific research over the next four years with a focus on adolescent sexual and reproductive health services.

Project 4: Driver of Antibiotic Resistance in Uganda and Malawi (DRUM) 2018 - 2021

This grant provides funds for formative research to understand the factors that may be contributing to antimicrobial resistance in Malawi and how day to day environmental interactions are contributing to this.

University of Strathclyde 3

Area of work: Health, Water, Hygiene, Research
Location of work:
Blantyre, Chikwawa

Project lead:
Dr Tracy Morse
Contact details:
tracy.thomson@strath.ac.uk

Partner organisation: WASHTED Centre at the University of Malawi, Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust

Funding:
MRC

Description of project

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an internationally recognized threat to human health, with the greatest burden of drug resistant infections predicted to occur in low and middle income countries (LMICs). In Malawi and Uganda there is already a high incidence of severe bacterial infections from bacteria that are resistant to first and second line antibiotics. Given the limited availability of reserve antibiotics, these infections are often untreatable, and it is therefore essential to identify the drivers of AMR that are responsible for these drug resistant infections.

Exposures associated with WASH are integral to enteric bacteria and AMR transmission. This is affected by a lack of feces management and multiple uses of water, meaning AMR transmission, and must be considered across multiple exposure pathways. The overall DRUM programme is looking to understand and identify the critical areas which could be targeted to reduce both the development and spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in urban and rural settings in Malawi.

Specifically, the work that UoS are engaged in with partners, is looking to assess

  • how WASH practices and infrastructure may be contributing to the spread of AMR bacteria in the environment
  • where we find these AMR bacteria within household and institutional/communal settings
Key successes and outcomes so far

Data from the project is still at an early stage however this is a good example of an interdisciplinary project which takes a holistic look at AMR transmission across multiple sectors and specialisms.

Future and ideas for partnership development

We are keen to work with anyone with an interest in working at the nexus between WASH and antimicrobial resistance. The field work for this study in Malawi is now 50% complete and will aim to be completed at the end of 2020. It is hoped that by understanding the context and setting in which this transmission is occurring the next stage will be to develop trial interventions to reduce exposure pathways.

Project 5: Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity Consortium 2015-2020

The consortium aims to research current gaps in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector with a focus to meet SDG 6 clean water and sanitation for all.

Area of work: Hygiene, Sanitation
Location of work:
Chikwawa, Mangochi, Blantyre

Project lead:
Dr Tracy Morse
Contact details:
tracy.thomson@strath.ac.uk

Partner organisation: WASHTED Centre at the University of Malawi

Funding:
SHARE Consortium (UKAID)
More information:
www.shareresearch.org

Description of project

National programme for capacity development, research uptake and national research priorities including main study on impact of community-based WASH and food-hygiene interventions on diarrhoeal disease incidence in children under 5.

SHARE is a consortium led by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. University of Strathclyde entered into the consortium at Stage 2, leading the main research as PI and the national programme of capacity building, research uptake and further research. Additional research has informed policy gaps (menstrual hygiene management) and has provided the basis (formative work) for future and existing extension studies (e.g. fishing communities, early childhood development centres, food safety, etc.) This programme has also funded PhD scholarships at UoS.

Key successes and outcomes so far

We have conducted a successful intervention study to reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal disease in children under the age of 5 years. We are happy to share all materials and information from this study (currently under development for publishing).

Research in MHM has helped to inform the development of a national framework (draft) and ensure inclusion of MHM in the National Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy (2018 – 2024)

Research in fishing communities has support the development of further funding applications to address sanitation and hygiene in these marginalized populations.

We have undertaken capacity building within the Polytechnic and our partners and graduates through this programme to strengthen research in the WASH sector in Malawi.

Future and ideas for partnership development

All field work is now completed and we are completing data analysis and research uptake activities. We are happy to share the learning from these studies with interested parties.

Project 6: Interdisciplinary Network for Addressing the Barriers to Sanitation and Hygiene in Fishing Communities around Africa’s Great Lakes 2018 - 2020

This is an initial stage programme to develop a regional network to understand the contexts affecting WASH in fishing communities.

Area of work: Hygiene, Sanitation, Water
Location of work:
All districts with lake access

Project lead:
Dr Tracy Morse
Contact details:
tracy.thomson@strath.ac.uk

Partner organisation: WASHTED Centre at the University of Malawi, Mzuzu University, WESNET, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Health

Funding:
GCRF Networking Grant

Description of project

Building on previous research under the SHARE consortium, we identified a specific need to examine the neglected populations around the Great Lakes. This 5 country network has undertaken policy and spatial assessments (under preparation for publications) and is now developing multi-country proposals to understand specific needs of these populations in relation to WASH and food safety.

Key successes and outcomes so far

We have demonstrated the value of bringing together a range of disciplines who touch upon fishing communities to examine and discuss the best way forward to research and address WASH in these populations. This wide range of perspectives has shown both the similarities and discrepancies across disciplines and countries affected.

Future and ideas for partnership development

The initial project comes to an end in 2020 and will be seeking further funding for future work. This will include more in depth ethnographic research and development of WASH interventions. Reports and papers from the policy and spatial assessments are currently under development. We are happy to work with a range of disciplines and organisations who are working in either sanitation or fisheries as we move forward with this group.

Project 7: Development of Simple Methods to Improve Assessment of Air Pollution Exposure and Cardiorespiratory Health of Women and Children in Rural Malawi (2018-2019)

Monitoring air quality at household and population level to provide a baseline and understanding of the current levels and potential impact on health.

Area of work: Health, Air Quality, Pollution
Location of work:
Blantyre, Chikwawa

Project lead:
Tara Beattie
Contact details:
t.k.beattie@strath.ac.uk

Partner organisation: WASHTED Centre at the University of Malawi
Partner contact:
Dr Tracy Morse
Contact details:
tracy.thomson@strath.ac.uk

Description of project

Continuing previous work in Malawi and led by Dr Beverland, this formative study is developing a novel method for measuring the health impact of personal exposure to cooking stoves in rural Malawi. The study also explores the social, economic, and cultural issues contributing to exposure, and will provide the basis of a larger future funding application to extend this work and method.

Key successes and outcomes so far

Successfully used a range of air quality monitoring equipment to measure exposure while working hand in hand with health workers in Chikwawa. Also built capacity at WASHTED to conduct air quality monitoring. Field work is completed and now being written up.

Future and ideas for partnership development

Results of our work will be published in due course, and have led to development of larger funding grants. There are a number of organisations now working in air quality and we are seeking to network them more effectively to benefit Malawi.

Open University in Scotland

The Open University has been involved in international education work in Malawi since 2008. This includes the Malawi Access To Teaching Scholarships (MATS) project (2012 - 2016), working to support over 900 marginalised young women from rural areas of Malawi through secondary education. As well as the 2017 co-project with Voluntary Services Overseas & Chancellor College, supporting teacher education in Malawi by facilitating of a MOOC for 180 teachers across Malawi. The Open University is in the process of negotiating a contract for a new education programme in Malawi, beginning early 2020, which will continue OU's presence in country.

Project 1: Malawi Access to Teaching Scholarships (MATS)

Provide more female role models in schools in rural areas in Malawi to influence girls to stay longer in school.

Area of work: Education
Location of work:
Salima, Machinga, Zomba, Nsanje

Project lead:
Dr Lore Gallastegi
Contact details:
Lore.Gallastegi@open.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Forum for African Women Educationalists in Malawi (FAWEMA)
Contact details:
administration@fawema.org

Funding:
DFID – Keeping Girls in School
More information:
http://www.open.ac.uk/about/international-development/projects-and-programmes/mats-malawi-access-teaching-scholarships

Description of project

Malawi Access to Teaching Scholarships (MATS) was run in partnership with Forum for African Women Educationalists in Malawi (FAWEMA) and funded by UK Aid. It provided support to over 2000 marginalised women from rural communities to gain the skills and opportunities needed to find a route into teaching and become role models for 160,000 rural school-age girls in Salima, Machinga, Zomba and Nsanje districts.

The two-year scholarship consisted of two elements:

  • School experience placements, where the scholar undertook a supported Teaching Assistant placement in a primary school in their local area. This gave them valuable classroom experience and helped them to see what being a teacher involves, as well as providing a role model for girls in the school. An experienced primary teacher (mentor) assigned to the scholar supports them through the school experience, meeting them every 2 weeks.
  • A one-year upgrade course in specific subjects via distance learning helped the scholars prepare for taking or retaking their Malawi Secondary Certificate of Education (MSCE) exams, the qualification required to apply for teacher training college. Distance learning meant the scholars could stay within their community. Once a week the scholar would attend tutorials where they were supported with their studies by a subject-specific secondary teacher (tutor)

Study and training materials were developed by the OU in collaboration with education officials from MoEST and educationalists in Malawi. The OU provided expertise in open and distance learning, and Malawi experts provided curriculum and subject knowledge. The materials were based on the MSCE examinations syllabus in the four core subjects of English, Mathematics, Physical Science and Biology. Further training and guidance materials were also developed for facilitators and participants.

MATS was highly successful in increasing the number of female role models in Malawian schools, helping almost 1000 scholars achieving the MSCE certificate, and doubling the percentage of girls completing standard 7 and 8 in target schools.

Key successes and outcomes so far

The MATS project was completed in December 2016. The Learning Assistant programme model developed in Malawi was taken forward by the Girls Education Challenge GATE programme in Sierra Leone which has created a pathway for marginalised rural women to enter teacher training college (TTC). It supported 483 women (47% who were mothers prior to becoming a Learning Assistant) to pass the TTC entrance exam and enrol in the distance learning teacher training programme.

The learning assistant model has been taken up by the Education Commissions ‘Education Workforce Initiative’ as a promising way to create alternative routes into teaching and promote a more inclusive workforce. (https://educationcommission.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Transforming-the-Education-Workforce-Full-Report.pdf)

1633 scholars graduated and earned the certificate of completion, and over 600 District Officials and Head Teachers were sensitised in the importance of positive female role models in school. 930, or 54% of active scholars, achieved the MSCE certificate, significantly above target, a tremendous result for school returnees, a number of whom had not been in school for 5 or significantly more years. It increased aspirations, with 52% of those surveyed planning to remain involved in teaching, 19% wanting to pursue further studies, 27% seeking employment or starting their own business, and only 2% pursuing no opportunities.

The project also had an overwhelmingly positive impact on girls in the target schools, with 92% of teachers behaving as better role models for girls (from a baseline of 20%), and the percentage of girls in participating Standard 7 and 8 classes that completed that year of primary school increasing from 47% at baseline to 91%.

Future and ideas for partnership development

The learning resources developed for and used by teachers and teaching assistants as part of the MATS programme are freely available to download as Open Educational Resources via the OU’s OpenLearn Create portal https://www.open.edu/openlearncreate/course/view.php?id=2564

Future ideas:

  • Wider expansion of the learning assistant programme, or programmes championing alternative routes into teaching across Malawi
  • Provide the KGIS MATS Progression Handbook at secondary level nationally
  • Develop a subject knowledge upgrade programme for unqualified Community Day Secondary School teachers, based on the KGIS MATS MSCE study material
  • Destination study for scholars to look at the impact of the project on creating more opportunities for women in rural Malawi

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:
j.remant@hw.ac.uk

Partner organisation: Malawi Congress of Trades Unions, Malawi University of Science and Technology
Partner contact:
Limbani Kachali
Contact details:
limbanikachali@gmail.com

Funding:
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.

OTHER SMP MEMBERS IN FE/HE PARTNERSHIPS

This section lists other SMP members who are not Further or Higher Education institutions, but are in partnerships which involve FE/HE institutions in Malawi.

Contents

The Turing Trust

The Turing Trust supports education in Malawi and other African countries by reusing computers and improving teacher training using ICT.

The Trust in Malawi is based in Mzuzu with their partner organisation, Centre for Youth and Development. Their goal is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to get the digital skills they need to make the most of the digital world.

Please contact us to discuss collaboration if your Malawi projects require IT equipment.

https://turingtrust.co.uk/

The Soko Fund

The Soko Fund is a Scotland-based charity which has partnered with Malawi's four public universities to provide scholarships to women from disadvantaged communities. The scholarships provide women with the funds to study vocational degrees in subjects including education, health, engineering, business, journalism and agriculture. It currently supports 65 undergraduates. The Malawi based Soko Graduate association provides support for graduates into employment, including a growing number of internships.

https://www.thesokofund.org/

Orbis Expeditions

Orbis Expeditions is a social impact expedition company operating exclusively in Malawi, working with students, businesses and individuals to provide specialised planning and logistical support for many groups including University Field Trips and Skills Sharing programmes. Orbis are the official travel partners of the SMP.

Orbis Skills Expeditions arrange 7-day challenges which combine educational experiences based around the work of the UK Global Goals, skills sharing, mentoring, adventure and business networking with entrepreneurs and universities in Malawi.

https://www.orbis-skills.com/

Gaia Education

Gaia Education is an international NGO which provides students across the world, of all ages and cultural backgrounds with knowledge and skills to design a thriving society.

They work with traditional and indigenous communities in the Global South to improve the way they manage their environments and villages, while addressing climate change vulnerabilities.

https://www.gaiaeducation.org/

Young Academy of Scotland

Young Academy of Scotland brings together young professionals from all sectors to work together on projects that benefit Scotland and the world.

They work in partnership with sister Young Academies worldwide, as well as other international-facing organisations.

https://www.youngacademyofscotland.org.uk/

FemEng in Malawi

FemEng in Malawi is an international outreach collaboration between the University of Glasgow and Malawi University of Science and Technology. Female engineering students from both universities will work together to develop and deliver workshops to promote STEM education in Malawi.

The aim is to increase the number of female students pursuing STEM careers in Malawi and provide a network for students in STEM courses. The first visit to Malawi will take place in Summer 2020.

http://gufemeng.weebly.com/

Maura’s Mission

The aim of Maura’s Mission is to advance the education of people in Malawi by providing educational bursaries allowing those who desire further education but whose families cannot afford school fees to receive education to secondary and higher education level.

https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/charity/mauras-mission

Malawi Millennium Project

Set up to celebrate the Millennium, the Malawi Millennium Project was founded on Malawi's historical links with Scotland and the University of Strathclyde through explorer and missionary David Livingstone who studied at Strathclyde in the 1830s.

The project aim is to assist in educating the personnel necessary to train future generations of Malawian teachers, nurses, scientists, technicians and engineers

https://www.strath.ac.uk/malawi/