Fostering Partnerships in Malawi

Fostering Partnerships in Malawi

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By Gary Brough, Communications and Resource Mobilisation Manager at Church of Scotland’s World Mission Council


While you may think of travelling missionaries of decades and centuries past, the Church of Scotland might seem an unlikely member of Scotland’s International Development Alliance.

The Kirk is not an aid or development agency. The truth is, it offers so much more through a network of relationships and partnerships with churches around the world. They work together to address some of the many injustices of our world including human trafficking, gender based violence, lack of healthcare and education, and the impact of climate change to name just a few.

While congregations and individuals support this work generously, this is not simply arms-length philanthropy. The Church of Scotland can celebrate dozens of close and well-formed partnerships with churches around the world and a history of collaborating to bring practical support but also fellowship and hope.

I write as one the Kirk’s mission partners, of whom there are around a dozen worldwide. But what does that mean today?

In countries like Malawi, working with and through the local church means having a partner who is respected in the community, able to access all areas of society and who will be there working still even after a funded-project has ended. A great model for sustainability.

I work for the Church and Society Programme (CSP), the human rights, democracy and justice arm of the Central Church of Africa Presbyterian, the Church of Scotland’s partner church. I’m working as the Resource Mobilisation and Communication Manager – a development job title if ever there was one! I’m in Mzuzu, northern Malawi with my family for the next three years.

As many of The Alliance’s members will know, Malawi faces many challenges as a result of endemic poverty. CSP works in the north of Malawi to address just some of these and focuses on access to justice, effective and accountable democracy, gender equality and the effects of climate change.

It is a privilege to join experienced and knowledgeable Malawian colleagues and to work together to address these challenges. Being here in person gives an opportunity to contribute, to learn and it strengthens the partnerships between the two churches and hopefully will improve our combined impact as a result.

I come from 6 years with EMMS International and bring experience of working there. But we’re also fortunate in Scotland to have access to great tools and training like some of The Alliance’s effectiveness and safeguarding resources. Being here in person means I have the time and relationships to share some of these tools, and to learn from my colleagues here and share that knowledge back in Scotland.

In Malawi, I work alongside another of the Kirk’s Mission Partners, Linus, a human rights lawyer. There are partners in Zambia improving health and education, in Nepal leading development programmes and others worldwide.

It’s easy to pay lip service to partnership, but I feel very fortunate to be able to work in partnership in a very in-depth way. I’d encourage you to find out more about the work of the Church of Scotland’s World Mission Council and how it might overlap with your work and interests too.