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Safeguarding in the times of COVID-19 – Malawi and Scotland working together

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A member blog post by

Linda Dembo, acting CEO of MaSP and Philippa Ramsden, Programme Manager

Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP) and Scotland's International Development Alliance

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In the grand scheme of things, it was only a few short months ago that our world changed dramatically with the emergence of COVID-19. How quickly we have become used to our new ways of living and working and absorbed this shift in our focus and attention to adapt and respond to this crisis.

In any crisis or emergency, the marginalised and vulnerable are disproportionately affected and are particularly at risk of abuse, exploitation, harm and neglect. In these COVID-19 times, new safeguarding issues and risks are emerging due to isolation, lockdowns, school closures and restrictions on work and movement. As we have been adjusting to this new reality across the world, it has been essential to listen and try to gain a sense of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on our safeguarding work.

It has therefore been especially encouraging to find out that in Malawi, the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP) has continued to take forward their work on safeguarding.

This work stems from conversations and plans which followed on from the High Level High Level Conference Malawi and Scotland: Together for Sustainable Development”, organised by the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP), the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP), the Scottish Government and the Government of Malawi“. This was held in Lilongwe in September 2018 and safeguarding was high on the agenda.

This developed into a Scottish Government funded project to enable MaSP to strengthen safeguarding policies, procedures and standards in their membership. This has become particularly important as the impacts of COVID-19 have led to significant increases in vulnerability and abuse in Malawi due to the economic and social impacts of the disease.

MaSP has aimed to reach as many as possible across the country, providing training to a range of staff and representatives in safeguarding. So far, the project has seen the training of just over 150 people from member organisations in the southern capital, Blantyre, in Mzuzu and Lilongwe.

The project has also drawn from the Alliance’s Safer for All Safeguarding package and developed a safeguarding package of policies and procedures. This has been translated into Chichewa and Tumbuka and is on their website

This collaboration has already borne valuable results and we were pleased to hear directly from Linda Dembo, Acting CEO of MaSP at our Digital Summit on 24 September. She kindly took a break from the safeguarding training in Mzuzu to share insights and information from Malawi on COVID-19 and its impact on safeguarding.

We are pleased to have come some distance already, and we know that this is a journey that we continue to travel together.

Upcoming Safeguarding Training/Events

  • 4 November 2020 – Safeguarding Essentials for Trustees
  • 9 – 20 November 2020 – Blended course on Leadership and Safeguarding Culture
  • December 2020 (Date TBC) – Safeguarding Working Group
  • 18 – 31 January – Blended training for Safeguarding Leads/Focal Points
  • 3 February 2021 –Reviewing your Safeguarding Policy

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