Scotland Malawi Partnership AGM

3 Oct 2020

'Challenge, change and new opportunities: the exciting next chapter'

with the President of Malawi,

the First Minister of Scotland,

and Daliso Chaponda

EVENT SPONSORED BY ORBIS EXPEDITIONS

More than 250 members and their partners in Malawi joined us for the Scotland Malawi Partnership's Annual Conference and AGM on Saturday 3rd October 2020.

The afternoon started with:

- A keynote speech by the President of Malawi, Dr Lazarus Chakwera, in which he outlined his priorities in the bilateral relationship for the coming years

- A special address from the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, giving her support for the Partnership.

And the afternoon ended with a special live performance and Q&A with Malawi's most famous comedian Daliso Chaponda!

 

Context for the meeting:

We recognised that this is a unique moment in the Scotland-Malawi friendship.

-          As Covid-19 continues to define our lives, with Scotland-Malawi travel dormant but digital engagements revolutionising how we work…

-          As Malawi’s new government takes office, with a strong focus on new leadership and governance strengthening…

-          As the debate around Black Lives Matter poses important questions about decolonization, diversity and representation…

-          As Scotland prepares to host COP26, its most significant global summit to date, with the unique opportunity to help define the global response to the climate crisis…

-          And as the Scottish Government reviews its international development policy…

…it is more important than ever that, as a network of 1,200+ organisations and key individuals, we came together to listen, share and discuss the next chapter in the bilateral friendship.

There is challenge.  There will be change.  But we have no doubt that there are fantastic new opportunities, and next chapter in the Scotland-Malawi story will be brighter than ever.

 

What we achieved:

We used the conference to listen to, engage, share, and help re-energise our membership in these extraordinary times.  Now is the time to really champion what we believe as a network and how we want to develop the relationship to ensure it remains as relevant, inspiring and effective as always.

We all want to ‘Build Back Better’, and we wanted Members to help feed into what this looks like.

It was an afternoon of real, frank but uplifting discussions, moving forwards together with our collective strength, rooted in dignified partnership.  All those attending had a unique opportunity to have their views heard, by the SMP and the Scottish Government, at this critical point.

We had a total of 35 digital discussion groups, each with up to 60 organisations and individuals taking part.  Everyone at the meeting had the chance to share their views.

All the sessions were recorded and, in the coming weeks, we are collating all the input we received to produce a formal written report and a digital interactive video resource to help share our members' thoughts and those of their partners in Malawi.  This will be shared with the Scottish Government as a formal public submission to their International Development Policy Review.   

Although taking place on Zoom, the 2020 AGM and Annual Conference was just as memorable, fun, engaging and useful as always. 

One great advantage of a digital meeting was the opportunity it offered for our Malawi partners to get involved.  We were delighted to have had over 100 representatives from Malawi taking part in the afternoon.  

 

Live performance and Q&A with DALISO CHAPONDA!

The afternoon aimed to uplift and inspire, as we re-energise and re-engage our membership at this crucial moment.  

We’re therefore delighted to have had the afternoon brought to a close with a special one-off, live performance by Malawi’s most famous comedian, Daliso Chaponda!

Daliso has a huge number of fans across our membership and has been delighting audiences across the world for a number of years, including regularly featuring in the Edinburgh Fringe.

Since reaching the Britain’s Got Talent finals, Daliso Chaponda has been perhaps one of the most famous Malawians in the performing arts.  His two outstanding BBC Radio 4 series (Daliso Chaponda: Citizen of Nowhere), have explored serious themes of identity, representation, global citizenship and migration in genuinely light-hearted and engaging ways.  He has been an inspiring Malawian voice on the airwaves and on the television.

Daliso Chaponda answered members' questions and spoke about how he uses comedy to help engage people in difficult, and potentially uncomfortable, topics.

 

AGM Papers:

The following formal papers were shared for the Core Business of the AGM:

Orbis Expeditions:

The SMP 2020 Annual Conference/AGM was kindly sponsored by Orbis Expeditions. It would also not be possible without our core funding from the Scottish Government.

Orbis Expeditions is a bespoke travel company specialising in group expeditions to sub-saharan Africa, designed for those wishing to travel with an impact, both on themselves and those they meet. Their Orbis Study TripsOrbis Impact Expeditionsand Orbis Sports Challenge Series educate, inspire and enhance views on today’s evolving society by connecting you with the world as Global Citizens. Orbis Expeditions is based in Edinburgh with our sister company, The Responsible Safari Company, based in Blantyre, Malawi.

Discussion Topics covered:

The afternoon included a range of different interactive and discursive spaces for members to be able to discuss and debate key themes, network, and share information about their work.

There were interactive sessions discussing:

Covid-19: We had a number of excellent speakers, as well as time for our members to: share their stories of the last seven months, discuss learning and innovations, explore recovery and resilience, and set the priorities for the coming year. 

Decolonizing, diversity and representation: In recent months the Black Lives Matter movement has helped all of us to look at our work afresh.  We continued this important discussion by exploring these themes in the context of the Scotland-Malawi relationship.  There is always more than can be done in this space and it is healthy to be challenged, so we wre keen to facilitate a really engaging discussion around diversity and representation.

Governance Strengthening: The new President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, has spoken candidly in his State of the Nation Address about corruption and the need to strengthening governance systems across Malawian life.  This is the SMP’s Year of Governance Strengthening, and we are keen not to miss this opportunity to explore how to use the bilateral relationship to strengthen governance in both our nations.

The Climate Crisis and COP26: In 2021 Scotland will host COP26, the most significant global conference ever held in Scotland.  This is a unique opportunity for Scotland to seize the agenda, inspire the world and help lead the fight against the climate crisis.  We used discussion groups to explore how we ensure the Scotland-Malawi relationship is at the heart of this.

The New Digital World: For all the many and varied challenges Covid has thrown us, there have also been new opportunities, innovations and breakthroughs.  Digital communications technology has changed how all of us work and live.  Just within the SMP, it has revolutionised our ability to listen to many different Malawian stakeholders at the same time, from across the country.  We explored how best we use digital to further enhance the bilateral relationship.

Build Back Better: We all want to Build Back Better, but there is little consensus what this looks like at present.  In the context of Covid, and post-Covid, and with the Scottish Government reviewing its International Development Policy, we will have an open conversation about what we want to keep, and what we want to change in Scottish internationalism.  From the discussions, we will record video snippets and soundbites which will not only feed into our own thinking, and shared through our communications channels, but will also be fed to the Scottish Government, to feed into its policy review.