Ever thought of bird watching as a way of twinning young people from Scotland with Malawi?

15 September 2021

The Tayside Swifts Project and the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi are looking for two primary schools and one secondary school within Tayside to join this exciting conservation project and twin with schools already eager to start in the Mulanje area of Malawi.

You will need to be enthusiastic bird conservationists, enthusiastic SMP members willing to help your twinned school and self-starters. We’ll give you the information and briefings you need – then it’s up to you!

Swifts live on the wing. They migrate from Europe to Africa in autumn, taking six to eight weeks, returning to Europe in spring to their favoured old homes, nests on buildings, to produce their young. The decline has been dramatic and steady, largely due to habitat loss: but scientists have shown that Scotland’s swifts are disappearing faster than anywhere in the UK – a 62% decline in the 20 years to 2015.

At first concentrating on what can be done in Scotland, the Tayside Swift Project now wants to conserve swifts throughout their whole life cycle – encouraging conservation measures in Africa. So they’re setting up school twinning projects in Swift ‘hot spots’.

In Malawi students will be introduced to bird watching, how to use binoculars (donated via the RSPB), gps (donated by WESM) and guidebooks in the field; the importance of birds found in and around Mulanje and the problems they face due to habitat destruction.

In Scotland, the twinning can support the curriculum:

  • Physical geography
  • Bird migration
  • Ecology of the swifts
  • Nesting swifts in the UK – and how we can help
  • What the Swifts do in Africa – and how we can help
  • Mathematics
  • Weather patterns
  • Art projects and the potential to run/host local exhibitions
  • Swift protection – habitat loss, nesting loss, loss from hunting using fishing lines

From the Scottish school’s side, you would just need to be able to support this digital partnership with internet data funds for online meetings with those in Malawi. From experience at SMP, we find this is usually sufficient at £5/hour per person.

If you’re interested in more information, please contact Lindsey Macdonald from the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi on lindseywesmbt@gmail.com.

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We were delighted to receive this message from Dr. Tiwonge Mzumara Gawa, Board Chair (Acting Director) of WESM and Lester Ray Nanjala, Environmental Education & Communications Coordinator of WESM.

Email WESM here to share your interest