Jackie in Malawi Blog #6 - AYISE

21 July 2016

Our Jackie visited 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 #6 - AYISE

It was summer 2014, Glasgow was getting ready to host the Commonwealth Games, and I had just started with the SMP. There were athletes from Malawi competing in the Games and I was sent with a delegation of Scotland-Malawi keen-beans to welcome them to the Athlete’s Village. We were handed backstage passes into the village, met the team, took lots of pictures, chatted about Malawi (they were all still practically fresh off the plane!) and toured the facilities - it was awesome.

As part of the Glasgow 2014 celebrations, there was a big concert in Glasgow Green. There were Malawian artists over to perform at the concert which had been supported by Lake of Stars, one of our members who organise an annual music festival in Malawi. One of the guests of honour was Monica Dzonzi, UNICEF Youth Ambassador for Malawi. Monica is a friend of one of our Board Members, Ben, and also his brother, Jamie, who leads his schools’ partnership with Malawi. A rep from SMP was invited to join Monica, Ben and Jamie at the concert and I was asked to go. I met the trio off the train in Glasgow and Monica and I immediately got chatting.

Monica told me about the Youth Centre she works at in Bangwe in Southern Malawi which supports hundreds of youths. The Youth Centre gives them a safe place to play sports or just hangout but also has a computer lab and provides training in ICT skills. It’s a brilliant initiative which I only wish more of Malawi’s youths had access to. The Youth Centre is only open out-of-school-hours to encourage the youths to stay in school.

From that first meeting way back in 2014, Monica and I have remained friends, so it was only natural when I knew I was heading back to Malawi I would visit her and the Youth Centre, AYISE – Active Youth Initiative for Social Enhancement.

We were given a tour of the facilities and told about all the great work they’re doing. They have a library, kitchen, and even an orchard to grow their own fruits. The centre was full of youths, from primary school aged right up to secondary school and university aged. Monica then arrived and we got chatting, reminiscing about old times, updating each other on our lives and just having a good girly gossip!

You can be over 5,000 miles apart, but friendship knows no distance, has no limits, and certainly no boundaries. It was amazing to see Monica again and I’m looking forward to when we can next catch up, be it in Malawi, or Scotland.

The friendships that exist between Scots and Malawians are the reason why the relationship between the two countries has existed for over 150 years. The people-to-people model of partnership we pride ourselves on really does work. I’ve certainly seen it in action during my time in Malawi, but I’m also lucky enough to be a part of it.

-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 >>

Jackie and Monica