We exist to help coordinate, support and represent Scotland's many civic links with Malawi
The Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) is the national civil society network coordinating, supporting and representing the people-to-people links between our two nations. We represent a community of 109,000 Scots with active links to Malawi.
We are a membership organisation which anyone in Scotland with an interest in Malawi can join. We are non-governmental and politically neutral. We exist to support our members and we are led by members.
We have over 1,000 member organisations and key individuals, including half Scotland's local authorities, every Scottish university and most of its colleges, 200 primary and secondary schools, dozens of different churches and faith-based groups, hospitals, businesses, charities and NGOs, and a wide range of grass-root community-based organisations. Our work permeates almost all aspects of Scottish civil society.
We exist to inspire the people and organisations of Scotland to be involved with Malawi in an informed, coordinated and effective way for the benefit of both nations. We do this by harnessing experience, expertise and enthusiasm across Scotland and providing forums where ideas, activities and information can be shared between our members.
Our work isn't just about 'international development', with donors on one side and recipients on the other. It's about partnership, about joint working, and about friendship.
Our project is to build connections and collaboration on a multi-sectoral basis between two small nations in ways that are transformational for both. There is no template for doing this. So far as we know, we are the first to develop this model of partnership.
We are proud of the 156 year old friendship Scotland has with Malawi: this is a friendship built on mutually beneficial community-to-community, family-to-family and people-to-people links. It is a relationship underpinned by mutual understanding and respect. We believe this is a new and exciting model of international cooperation and a powerful force for change.
The friendship between Scots and Malawians began in 1859, with the warm welcome extended to David Livingstone and his companions when he entered what is now Malawi for the first time.
The challenge posed by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals was taken up in Scotland in the late 1990s by David Livingstone's alma mater the University of Strathclyde when, in partnership with Bell College (local to Livingstone’s birthplace at Blantyre), they launched their Malawi Millennium Project.
The Scotland Malawi Partnership was officially launched in April 2004 with the support of the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
In 2005, the G8 met at Gleneagles, with the Make Poverty History campaign drawing public attention to the issue of international development. At the same time the Scottish Government published Scotland’s first international development strategy, with a particular focus on the relationship between Scotland and Malawi.
That November the Scotland Malawi Partnership, funded by the Scottish Government, hosted a major conference at the Scottish Parliament, 'Malawi After Gleneagles', which brought together key Scots and Malawians from across Government, Parliament and civic society. The conference discussed the historic bilateral relationship and mapped out future cooperation together.
On the 3rd November 2005 the historic Co-operation Agreement between the governments of Scotland and Malawi was signed and during 2005 the Partnership registered as a Scottish Charity (SCO37048) and as a Company Limited by Guarantee (SC294378).
Since then, the Partnership has grown at an astonishing rate as the national umbrella organisation supporting Scotland's links with Malawi. It has been responsive to the interests, needs and priorities of its expanding membership, and it has inspired new generations of Scots to develop friendships with Malawi.
Today 46% of Scots personally know someone with a connection to Malawi. This is now a national effort: one of the world's strongest bilateral civic links.