Just weeks after the appointment of Malawi’s first female President, aid funding to tackle female poverty has been announced by the External Affairs Secretary.

Fiona Hyslop has confirmed new Scottish Government support for five women’s projects in Scotland’s historic ‘sister-nation’, Malawi.

Targeted for support

They are among 19 projects in Malawi run by Scottish–based organisations which have been allocated funding from the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund. The projects will receive £2.1m in 2012-13, £1.9m in 2013-14 and £1.7m in 2014-15.

Joyce Banda is Malawi’s first female President, the first ever female Head of State in Southern Africa and only the second ever in the whole of Africa. Welcoming her appointment, Ms Hyslop highlighted the need to tackle the impact of poverty on women and girls – who make up the majority of the world’s poor – and confirmed the commitment of Scotland to play its part.

The Cabinet Secretary said:

“Scotland has a special relationship with Malawi, whose people are some of the poorest in the world.

“Women often suffer the most from the effects of poverty and I am pleased that five of these projects will specifically help women and girls – saving lives, helping women to become more active in their communities and empowering them to take up opportunities in business and politics.

”The recent appointment of Joyce Banda as Malawi’s first female President is testament to the fact that women in Africa are making progress socially, economically and politically. I am confident these projects will help to continue that progress.

“Scottish-based organisations have been working for many years to improve the lives of people in Malawi and this round of funding from the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund will enable that work to continue.

“We in Scotland are aware of our responsibilities to the wider world. That is why I have protected Scottish Government spending on international development, helping to make a real difference to some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

One of the projects – the Scotland Malawi Anaesthesia Project, supported by the University of Dundee – will provide training for healthcare workers to reduce the number of women dying in childbirth. Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

Dr Catriona Connolly, founder and Director of The Scotland Malawi Anaesthesia Project, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Scottish Government International Development Fund to take the award-winning PROMPT (Practical Obstetric Multi-Professional Training) course – on team training and management of obstetric emergencies – to the three regions of highest maternal mortality in Malawi. This is a massive challenge but an incredible opportunity to build on the infrastructure we have developed with our Malawian colleagues through the anaesthesia refresher courses since 2006. It is a huge opportunity to get into three district hospitals and really help our colleagues to tackle maternal mortality in their region.”

The Active Learning Centre, which aims to get more women into politics in Malawi, is another project receiving funding. Through its training programme, it will build a network of up to 2000 women across the country with the skills and knowledge to become candidates in the 2014 local government and parliament elections and/or leaders in their community.

The Women’s Legal Resource Centre (WOLREC) is the Active Learning Centre’s NGO partner in Malawi. WOLREC Chief Executive Maggie Banda said:

“All the evidence shows that gender equality is central to sustainable development.

“Here in Malawi we need more women as leaders, in their local community, in councils and in parliament. As a country we want to empower women, and this project will make a significant contribution to supporting women across the country.”

Oxfam Scotland will receive funding over three financial years for a project to help women farmers. More than 15,000 female-headed households in the Lilongwe, Dowa and Mchinji Districts will have improved income, food security and greater capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

John Makina, Country Director for Oxfam in Malawi, said:

“This project will bring about major changes in the lives of the vulnerable people in Malawi, in particular women who are largely marginalised in the communities. The project, once implemented, will change the status of women, in particular changing their social and economic status in the communities. Their increased participation in the value chain will enhance confidence building among women and therefore increased space for decision making. In light of climate change challenges, the project will enhance their resilience and adaptation strategies in order to cope with the challenges.”

Related Information:

A total of £5,629,583.51 has been allocated to projects in Malawi from the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund in 2012-15.

A full list of projects receiving funding will be made available on the Scottish Government website here.

A range of case study materials and photographs are available on request. See the contact details below.

The five projects which concentrate largely on empowering women in Malawi are:

Organisation: Active Learning Centre

Project Title: Empowering Women As Local Leaders

Total award: £179,455 over two financial years (2012-2014)

This project will help to consolidate democracy in Malawi through a cascade training programme which will build a network of up to 2,000 women across the country and provide them with skills, knowledge and confidence to become candidates in the 2014 local government and parliamentary elections and to become effective leaders in their community.

Marina Chikhawo is one of the women to receive support from the project. Further detail of her story, and a photo of Marina, is available on request.

Organisation: Oxfam Scotland

Project Title: Women farmers access value-chains and adapt to climate change

Total award: £382,238 over three financial years (2012-2015)

This project will improve poor women’s economic, social and environmental resilience through participation in value chains, increased status and adaptation to climate change. 15,000 female-headed households in the Lilongwe, Dowa and Mchinji Districts will have improved income, food security and great capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. We have funded previously successful Oxfam projects in Chiradzula, and welcome their expansion into these new areas.

Elizabeth Phiri is one of the women farmers to receive support through the project. Further detail of her story, and a photo of Elizabeth, is available on request.

Organisation: University of Dundee

Project Title: Scotland Malawi Anaesthesia Project

Total award: £241,681 over three financial years (2012-2015)

This new project will reduce maternal mortality and morbidity through the introduction of PROMPT training – a proven team approach to recognition and management of emergencies in maternity care, that will increase the knowledge and ability of individual maternity health care workers. This project will work with the School of Anaesthesia which is soon to merge with the College of Health Sciences in Malawi. The funding will be implemented using a ‘train the trainers’ method and the funding includes the supply of medical mannequins to allow in-depth training on a variety of obstetric emergencies.

A photo is available on request to accompany this case study.

Organisation: Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Scotland

Project Title: Ntcheu Integrated Maternal Health Project

Total award: £399,427 over three financial years (2012-2015)

Working through VSO Malawi, this project will improve the skills of clinical staff, specifically midwives, to provide quality maternal services whilst improving the knowledge and health seeking behaviour of 70 villages in two traditional authorities of the Ntcheu District. The project will also explore linkages with other organisations in Ntcheu to address climate change and will support motherhood groups to further mitigate against the negative impacts of climate change.

Organisation: The Healthy Lifestyle Project (North Lanarkshire Council)

Project Title: Aiming Higher in Malawi Schools

Total award: £89,300 over three financial years (2012-2015)

This project will improve and increase the teaching and learning opportunities, number of students and exam performance in Physical Science, Mathematics, ITC and Enterprise for Secondary School Students within the Mulanje South West and Thyolo East locality. The project will particularly focus on new opportunities to significantly increase the participation and exam success for girls through the creation of Mother Groups and Girls Go For Health Groups. These groups

will provide training and support on issues such as violence against women, prevention of HIV/AIDS, early pregnancies and marriages for youths (male and female).

Scotland signed a co-operation agreement with Malawi in 2005

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