Providing 1,000 Computers for Malawi

A report by Kenneth Gibson, MSP for Cunninghame North.

The SNP Government has provided 1,000 used computers to African trainee teachers and students through its latest donation in partnership with the Turing Trust.

The computers are no longer suitable for corporate use and will be sent to educational projects in Malawi.

This is the second batch of IT equipment the Information and Technology Services Division has donated to the trust, co-founded by James Turing in honour of his great uncle, the World War II codebreaker Alan Turing.

The computers will be serviced and securely cleansed of data before being taken to Malawi.

The Turing Trust was awarded £60,000 by the SNP Government’s International Small Grants Programme to train 80 teachers in Malawi. These in turn will teach 9,000 girls who would otherwise be excluded from digital literacy lessons because of gender, disability or where they live. In total, 18,000 students will learn vital IT skills and improve both their digital literacy and career prospects.

The environmental impact from the donation will offset 280 tonnes of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of planting 700 trees.

Scotland has historic links with Malawi going back more than 150 years to the explorations of Dr David Livingstone up the Zambezi and Shire Rivers to Lake Malawi in 1859. This was long before the borders of the modern nation of Malawi were established.

Almost half of Scots can name a friend or family member with a connection to Malawi, making this one of the world’s strongest north-south people-to-people links. I myself am a member of the Cross-Party Group on Malawi and highlighted the campaign to end the murder of Albino people, whose bones are used by local witchdoctors.

The SNP Government has built increasingly stronger links with Malawi for many years, most notably with the Malawi Development Programme 2018-2023 which funds 11 projects, including a partnership with Water Aid to improve the health of mothers and children through better sanitation and access to safe water in healthcare facilities and childhood development centres.

The University of Glasgow and the University of Malawi are in collaboration to establish an undergraduate dental degree programme.

Supporting international development is key to Scotland’s contribution to the international community. Ambitions for a fairer Scotland are undermined without global action to tackle poverty, promote prosperity and to tackle climate change.

SNP Government funding for international development and humanitarian aid over the years underlines the importance of Scotland being a good global citizen, determined to play our part in tackling challenges worldwide.