Jackie in Malawi Blog #2 - North Berwick High

29 June 2016

Our Jackie is currently in Malawi on a Road Trip with our sister organisation - the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP), to visit and film member projects.

Our Media and Communications Officer, Jackie Farr, is in Malawi to join our sister organisation, the Malawi Scotland Partnership, on their Road Trip!

You can follow Jackie's journey on Twitter and Instagram using #JackieInMalawi, and find out about the projects she visits in these blog posts.

Blog #2 - North Berwick High School

Whilst visiting First Aid Africa in Ekwendeni, I received a text message from a teacher from North Berwick High School to let me know they had arrived in Ekwendeni. It just so happened that the project they support was directly opposite First Aid Africa’s office, across the road!

It felt slightly surreal that in this small town of Ekwendeni, right in the north of Malawi, there were two of our members working just over the road from each other. Both worked directly with the local community and had very successful, two-way, dignified partnerships. It just cemented what we at the SMP believe; that this new model of international development, based on people-to-people links, really does work.

As the sun was quickly setting, we agreed to come back the following day and visit the Youth Resource Centre they support and find out more about their partnership with Malawi. North Berwick have a school partnership with Katunguwiri CDSS in Mzimba but also support a Youth Resource Centre in Ekwendeni.

The next day, Clement, Shadreck and I travelled back to Ekwendeni. One of the teachers had texted me their location, “just follow the noise!” and she was right! There was music and laughter coming from the end of the compound, it didn’t take us long to find them. We were given a tour of the Youth Resource Centre and heard of the impact it was having on the local community. Clement and Shadreck interviewed the students about their school partnership as I chatted to others - the friendships they had made so far on their trip seemed to be their favourite part of the trip. Once again, the people-to-people approach of our model of development was shining through.

The students had only spent a few days with the learners from their partner school but already had made life-long friendships. They showed me their pictures and videos, each excited to share stories of their adventure; it was heart-warming to hear them.

10 years ago I went on my first school exchange trip to Dublin. I spent a week with students at our twinning school on a variety of music and culture projects, it was quite honestly one of the best weeks of my life. By the end of the trip we had made life-long friends and until this day, we still visit each other regularly – I have actually just returned from visiting my friends in Dublin only a month ago!

From my own experience I knew from the way the North Berwick students were speaking about their new friends, that their relationships, and school partnership, would also stand the test of time. Seeing a school partnership in action was a brilliant experience, and I wish North Berwick and the rest of our 200 schools, the very best with their own partnerships – I only wish I could visit them all!

We sometimes forget about the importance of friendship when working in international development. So much of the sector comes from the Global North talking at the Global South. Thankfully, with the help of the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals, or the Global Goals as they are also known, there is a new dialogue emerging. This conversation involves voices from all nations, developed and developing, working together to achieve these new 17 Goals, in a dignified two-way approach. Scotland was in fact, the first country to publically support the Global Goals, and I’m very proud to be part of an organisation, along with its membership, that also fully supports these Goals.

- Jackie Farr, June 2016

Blog #1 - First Aid Africa >>

Blog #2 - North Berwick High School >>

Blog #3 - Grow Movement >>

Blog #4 - Community Energy Malawi >>

Blog #5 - Nkhoma Hospital Cervical Cancer Screening Programme >>

Blog #6 - AYISE >>