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This Scottish Organisation Is Helping Thousands of Girls in Malawi Learn Computer Skills


Why Global Citizens Should Care 
The Global Goals are 17 goals that work together to end extreme poverty by 2030, and include goals such as achieving gender equality and ensuring everyone has access to quality education and health care. International development is an essential part of this effort, both for providing immediate disaster relief and for developing countries’ long-term stability and infrastructure. Join the movement by taking action here to support Britain’s international development work. 

A small Scottish organisation has been quietly working to help deliver access to digital education for tens of thousands of students across sub-Saharan Africa. 

The Turing Trust — named after British computer science pioneer Alan Turing — works to reuse computers and improve teacher training in ICT.

And now, it’s received funding from the Scottish government, meaning the organisation can reach a further 9,000 girls in Malawi to train them in computer skills. 

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In March, the organisation’s team of volunteers sent 1,300 PCs and accessories to Malawi. 

“This is the culmination of hard work by our fantastic staff and volunteers over the last year, collecting and refurbishing the PCs and ensuring they are all loaded with educational resources,” a spokesperson for the organisation said. “We look forward to the impact they are going to have in Malawi.”

The organisation is one of 18 small Scottish-based voluntary organisations that will share £450,000 between them, from the Scottish Small Grants international development programme. Eight of the organisations are working with local partners specifically in Malawi. 

The new funding will help the Turing Trust train and equip 80 teachers in Malawi, specifically targeting girls who would be likely to miss out on an education because of their gender, disability, or where they live.

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Scotland launched a pilot of its Small Grants initiative in 2013, designed to support the work of small international NGOs based in Scotland — many of which may not be in a position to access funding through larger mainstream funding rounds, according to the Corra Foundation, a grant-maker that administers the programme. 

Ben Macpherson, Scottish international development minister, said the fund is used to support projects that demonstrate a “commitment to enhancing Scotland’s role as a good global citizen.”

“Scotland is proud to be an internationalist, outward-looking country, and over the last six years this programme has enabled Scottish organisations to make a significant impact and help some of the world’s most vulnerable communities,” he added, when announcing the recipients of the 2019 funding round. 

Macpherson said: “Partnership working is fundamental to the success of this programme, providing an opportunity for Scottish organisations to build their capacity for international development work and, crucially, to work closely with their in-country partners to promote capacity building, learning, and delivery on the ground.”

The Small Grants Programme is developed in partnership with Scotland’s International Development Alliance and the Scotland Malawi Partnership. 

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According to Jane Salmonson, chief executive of Scotland’s International Development Alliance, the Small Grants programme “makes it possible for smaller organisations working out of Scotland to make a distinct contribution to the achievement of the sustainable development goals in partner countries.” 

Among the other organisations that will receive funding are: 

  • Children’s Medical Care Malawi (CMCM) — works to improve paediatric care training for student nurses in Malawi.
  • Seed for Life — scaling up of a sustainable food programme in Bemvu, Malawi. 
  • International Resources and Recycling Institute (IRRI) — to provide solar-powered lighting and basic phone charging system to five off-grid primary schools in Bvumbwe, Malawi, leading to improved learning outcomes and teacher retention. 
  • Leprosy in Utale Village Plus (LUV+) — to provide income generation support for nine communities of people affected by leprosy in Zambia and Malawi.
  • Friends of Chitambo, an initiative that provides extra training for emergency workers in central Zambia, including training for hospital and first responder staff, emergency call handler protocols and training, and promoting knowledge resources on emergency medicine in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Rwanda.