Benefits of SMP Membership!
Any individual or organisation in Scotland with a link to, or interest in, Malawi is welcome to join the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP), just as anyone in Malawi with a link to Scotland can join our 100% Malawi-led sister network, the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP).
We’re proud to be an inclusive, diverse and member-led network. Our services are designed around the needs and priorities of our members, so they naturally change over time, but here’s 18 awesome benefits which members of the SMP enjoy:
- Events and Engagements
- Member Forums
- Weekly Bulletin
- Collective Voice
- Your own webpage
- Media and Communications
- Visa support
- Political Representation
- Access to decision-makers
- Practical support and advice
- Malawi input
- Computer access in Malawi
- Pop-up exhibitions
- Malawi Library
- Educational resources & Lesson plans
- Shared learning and networking
We host and co-host over 50 events a year, with a total attendance over 4,000. All our engagements are designed to deliver specific strategic objectives, tailored around our members’ needs and priorities. 612 members gave feedback in 2021/22, with 91% rating our events as "excellent" or "very good". See all upcoming and past events.
We have a suite of Member Forums, including in: Primary and Secondary Education, Further and Higher Education, Renewable Energy, Governance, Health, and Faith links. Each Forum is designed by and for members, with strategic priorities and regular meetings to deliver against these. Of the 240 members that gave feedback in the 2021/22 year, 98% stated that SMP Forums had supported/strengthened their work with Malawi.
We send weekly e-bulletin to members and other senior stakeholders in the bilateral relationship. Each bulletin has an average of ten news items, with information, news, updates and key opportunities of use to all those involved in a Scotland-Malawi link, it’s the single best way to keep up to date on all things Scotland-Malawi.
By member numbers, the SMP is the largest cross-community international development network in the UK. So, by joining the national network, you get to have a strong voice in the sector, championing dignified, equitable north-south civic partnerships and holding governments to account.
All members of the SMP have their own webpage in our Members Directory where they can share information, documents, videos, photos and other resources about their links with Malawi. The directory can be searched by Scottish local authority, Malawian district, area of partnership, or UN Sustainable Development Goal, meaning that anyone, anywhere can find your link and connect with you.
We offer training for our members, including for example our annual Chichewa language classes and cultural courses run by members of the Malawi diaspora. These courses are invaluable for those visiting Malawi for the first time or looking to brush up their language skills.
As a member, we can help promote your work with Malawi through our weekly e-bulletin (1,600 key recipients; 20,000 opens annually), on social media (1 million+ twitter impressions; 400k+ Facebook reach) and through other media outputs like our brilliant People to People Podcast.
We can also help secure mainstream media coverage, including through our own regular Scotsman column. In the 2021/22 year alone there were 385 news pieces about Malawi in the Scottish media (that’s more than one news article a day for a year!), over 93% of which were positive in tone. We have a dedicated Media and Communications Officer who is here to help!
The SMP has a working agreement with the UK Government to help secure UK visas for our Members inviting their Malawian partners to Scotland for short visits. We can formally endorse UK Visa applications and support appeals if a UK visa is rejected. We can also endorse and support Malawi visas for those travelling from Scotland (however this is very rarely an issue).
The SMP runs the Malawi All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in the UK Parliament and the Malawi Cross Party Group (CPG) in the Scottish Parliament and, in this capacity, we have strong links with all 59 Scottish MPs and 129 MSPs. We publish and disseminate an annual Holyrood Constituency Mapping Report briefing MSPs on our members’ work in their constituency/regions, and a Westminster Constituency Mapping Report briefing MPs on our members’ work in their constituencies. Our network is supported and endorsed by all five Scottish Party Leaders; we often represent our members by giving evidence to Parliamentary Committees; and we have co-authored ground-breaking all-party Parliamentary Reports. We fastidiously maintain our political neutrality while ensuring our members’ work is well represented in parliament and supported across the political spectrum.
Every year we use our leverage to create inclusive opportunities for a diverse range of members to meet with key decision-makers, including: the President and First Lady of Malawi, Malawi Cabinet Ministers, UK Ministers, Scottish Ministers, High Commissioners, MSPs, funders, and other key influencers.
We have a small but dedicated and capable staff team of 5.6FTE, supported by 16 volunteer Trustees and a membership of over 1,300. These resources and this expertise are at the disposal of members to support their links with Malawi. Everyday, our staff team respond to requests for advice, information and practical support from our membership. It’s what we get out of bed for!
Through our sister network, the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP), we’re able to tap into information, advice and support from Malawi (just as MaSP members can tap into support from Scotland). Our digital events now have more people joining from Malawi than Scotland, which means all our discussions have real, live, expert input from across Malawi.
SMP members’ partners in Malawi are able to use the MaSP Communication and Resource Centres (CRCs) without charge. The CRCs are buildings with computers, printers, office facilities and meeting spaces, in Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre, which groups in Malawi with links to Scotland can use for free to support their Scottish links.
We have two free pop-up exhibitions which members can book out. We have an exhibition made up of 17 free standing banners, one for each of the UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals), with a Scotland-Malawi case study for each. The second exhibition is of the 11 Scotland-Malawi Partnership Principles, spelling out the word “PARTNERSHIP”. We have specific lighting rigs for both exhibitions and also many Malawi and Scotland flags members can borrow. Using these, members can make even the most dull event space lively, colourful and on message.
We have a library of books and resources relating to Malawi and the bilateral relationship which members are welcome to borrow from without charge.
We have a series of education resources and lesson plans to support school links with Malawi, with a suite of new resources soon to be launched. In 2022 we published a completely updated Practical Guide to School Partnerships, with a Foreword written by the Minister of Education in Malawi. We have a dedicated Youth and Schools Officer supporting our 250 school members, offering talks, advice, support and resources all year round.
Perhaps the most impactful benefit of SMP membership is access to our brilliant, diverse and inspiring membership of 1,300 Scottish organisations and individuals working with Malawi. We have a regular programme of events and online tools to help support networking and two-way shared learning between members, as well as between Scotland and Malawi.