Reporting from Malawi – Day 1

Malawi House openingToday I visited the Lilongwe Mapuyu North constituency of Hon Christina Chiwoko, a Member of the Malawian National Assembly.

As part of the Scottish Parliament’s partnership with the National Assembly of Malawi, 10 parliamentarians in each institution have been paired.  To coincide with celebrations of the bicentennial of David Livingstone’s birth Alex Fergusson MSP and myself are visiting Malawi for five days.

While we are here the plan is to meet groups which have links with Scotland and to meet with parliamentarians.   In addition to visiting constituencies we are providing a one day workshop in the audit and accountability processes used by the Scottish parliament to scrutinise the work of the Scottish Government and we will both be participating in a one day conference run by the Active Learning Centre on promoting the participation of women in politics.

The secondary school I visited with Christina has 400 students.  It’s a state school with no dedicated accommodation for students, many of whom have to walk long distances to attend classes.   During the rainy season or in the blistering heat that will be a challenging journey.

After meeting the chiefs, the PTA and teachers at the school I was given theBuying tomatoes job of cutting the ribbon on the new house that has been built for the head teacher through the Mapuyu North Constituency Development Fund.   Later in the day I also visited a new market that had also been built to provide stalls for farmers and traders to sell their produce.