The Livingstonia CCAP Synod says the Scotland-Malawi Partnership needs to be concerned with the plight of the poor in villages rather than benefitting the elite only.
General secretary of the synod Reverend Levi Nyondo made the remarks on Thursday during a public lecture and launch of a book on the relationship between Scotland and Malawi titled Malawi and Scotland: Together in the Talking Place since 1859.
The book was written by Professor Kenneth Ross who is also board chairperson of the Scotland Malawi Partnership.
In 2004, the Scotland-Malawi Partnership was born out of the Malawi Millennium Project of the University of Strathclyde in response to the need to bring together organisations, institutions and individuals who are interested in developing and sustaining development links with Malawi.
But Nyondo said since the partnership was launched, it has been benefitting “top people” only and not the poor person.
“If you follow their minutes, if you follow their records, they have been meeting in Glasgow. When they come to Malawi, they meet in Lilongwe Hotel, they meet in Blantyre.
“And even their funding has not reached the poor people in villages, it is only universities and colleges, and my question is: Is this partnership only focusing to help big institutions not poor people in the villages?
“If that is the case, they should add an adjective, maybe Academician Malawi Scotland Partnership, because with us, we understood that this partnership is supposed to help people in the village, in university and everybody,” he said.
Nyondo also spoke against politicising the partnership so that is embraces people from all areas.
Ross admitted that there is need of increasing the number of beneficiaries of the partnership.
“When Edinburgh carried out a study in 2010, they found out that the beneficiaries of Scotland Malawi Partnership were 1.3 million Malawians and 285 000 Scots. So, I think it is a significant number of people who are already participating and benefitting.
“But we need to go further because the connection between our two countries can be for everyone on both sides. So, I don’t think we want to be complacent but we want to see this as the springboard to go forward,” he said.