Sustainability Matters in Malawi
31 January 2023
We are really pleased to share this member post from Howard Beck of 'Sustainability Partnerships' discussing climate change and sustainability.
Sustainability Partnerships is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes awareness and education about climate change and sustainability. We work with young people and partner organisations to foster wider community engagement on these vital issues.
Sustainability Partnerships are organisers of the 1.5 MAX Global Schools Climate Summit , a three day event which bring together young people from schools in Scotland and schools from Least Developed and Most Climate Vulnerable countries. In November 2022, the participating schools were from Scotland, Malawi and Nepal.
The 1.5 MAX Global Summit is a blended event that combines a rich set of live and virtual activities into what aims to be a ‘transformational’ experience for participants. Pupils taking part in the Summit have the opportunity to meet peers from across the world, and to work on a broad range of cognitive, emotional and creative activities with content ranging widely across global, regional and local issues. Throughout the Summit , activities are youth-led and collaborative, with time and space given to learning about, discussing, and planning how their school group can tackle local matters of concern.
The Summit operates in accordance with principles of equity, diversity and inclusivity. By its nature the Summit, which involves school groups from across the world, is highly diverse involving as it does young people from very different backgrounds and cultures who face radically different socioeconomic, climate and environmental issues. To establish an inclusive framework, the Summit avoids requirements for participation that are impossible or difficult for disadvantaged schools to meet, and additionally, takes steps to engage and include underprivileged schools. All schools involved are helped to prepare for the Summit through a series of weekly project meetings and training sessions for teachers. Last year, six schools from the central and northern regions of Malawi took part. To enable equitable participation, these schools were given IT resources and set up with access to the internet.
To deliver ambitious global events like 1.5 MAX, Sustainability Partnerships puts particular focus on building strong close-knit partnerships to deliver quality educational experiences and at the same time maintain an equitable and inclusive ethos. The 1.5 MAX 2022 event could not have achieved these goals without the generous donation of thirty laptops from the Turing Trust and the tireless support and local coordination of Malawi school activities provided by the Mtuli Foundation.
The first two 1.5 MAX Global Summits, held in 2021 and 2022, have proved successful both in terms of experience and outcomes. Overwhelmingly positive feedback was received from pupils and teachers on the experience of being part of the Summit. With regard to the outcome and impacts of the Summit, teacher reports suggest that participation has prompted a marked increase in eco-related initiatives in schools and local communities.
Sustainability Partnerships and the Mtuli Foundation also work together on other climate and sustainability initiatives. In the first week of 2023, Sustainability Partnerships and Mtuli Foundation agreed to work together on an initiative to help schools respond quickly to what is Malawi’s worst ever cholera outbreak. The record level of cholera infection followed last year’s devastating Tropical Storm Ana which severely affected sanitation and access to clean water across the country. Damage from the storm included the collapse of 53,000 latrines and damage to hundreds of boreholes and water taps. In the second and third weeks, a project to deliver sanitising material and equipment, and health education posters to the schools who participated in the 1.5 MAX 2022 was planned and delivered. Mtuli Foundation coordinated procurement, deliveries and communications with the local schools. Sustainability Partnerships provided initial funding of £780. All schools - Mpherere CDSS, Karonga Multi-Career Academy, Maghemo Secondary School, Mzimba Secondary School, Mpata CDSS and the Mpata Rural Health Centre – have taken delivery of the sanitation and health education kits.
The third 1.5 MAX Global Summit which will take place around October 2023 is currently being planned. Malawi schools will again be participants. Sustainability Partnerships and the Mtuli Foundation are now looking to connect with potential partners and volunteers interested in being involved in 1.5 MAX or other Scotland-Malawi climate and sustainability initiatives. If you are interested, please contact Howard Beck at Howard.Beck@sustainabilitypartnerships.org.uk and/or Robert Mhango at firstname.lastname@example.org, and refer to the websites: SustainabilityPartnerships.org.uk, MtuliFoundation.org and 1.5MAX.com.