Singer Annie Lennox will reveal her findings from her recent trip to Malawi in a thought-provoking film report to be shown at Holyrood tomorrow.
Annie visited Malawi in her role as Special Envoy to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Scotland Branch (CPASB) along with Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP last month.
They will talk about the trip at an Extraordinary General Meeting of Members on Wednesday March 16 at the Scottish Parliament.
MSPs have been invited to the event and will have the chance to ask the Presiding Officer and Lennox about their fact-finding trip to Lilongwe and Blantyre. They visited a number of projects with Scottish links and met politicians including the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Hon Chimunthu Banda MP, and members of the National Assembly of Malawi’s Women’s Caucus.
Representatives from Scottish organisations with an interest in the Scotland - Malawi relationship have also been invited to the meeting to learn what the delegation discovered during last month’s trip.
Speaking ahead of the meeting Annie said: “My recent visit to Malawi was both inspiring and encouraging, despite the fact that there are still so many challenges to be faced. I can genuinely say that "good practice" is taking place in a variety of ways.
“I view the relationship between Scotland and Malawi, as a positive blueprint for future alliances between developed and developing countries. Something we should all be proud of.”
Later in the day the Scottish Parliament will host a reception at Holyrood to mark the centenary of the CPA. Guests include Commonwealth Honorary Consuls, Commonwealth High Commissioners, schoolchildren and representatives from Scottish universities, NGOs and civil society organisations.
The Presiding Officer and Annie will also personally deliver letters from school children they visited in Malawi, to their new pen pals from a Glasgow primary school.
The events mark Commonwealth Day, an annual event when all 54 member countries of the Commonwealth celebrate their links with one another. The specific theme this year is "Women – Agents for Change". This area raises important issues of the role of women in strengthening parliamentary democracy. Annie Lennox and the Presiding Officer will address the evening reception.
Mr Fergusson, who is president of the CPASB, said: “Having our Special Envoy deliver her report the week the Commonwealth highlights the work of woman as agents for change could not be more appropriate.
“Last month’s visit was a truly humbling and moving experience for me. It was clear from what we saw that a little can go a long way. The donations Scots have made over the years, both in terms of time and money, have made a very real difference to people’s lives in Malawi.”
Since 2005, the Scottish Parliament has been working in partnership with the National Assembly of Malawi to establish sustainable links to help share ideas and ways of working. A pilot scheme which has ten MSPs paired with Malawian counterparts was set up last April.
The CPA consists of the national, provincial, state and territorial parliaments and legislatures of the countries of the Commonwealth. The CPA has around 175 branches and a membership of 17,000 parliamentarians. It promotes respect for the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms, and by pursuit of the positive ideals of parliamentary democracy.
Media are invited to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association EGM on Wednesday 16 March between 12.45 and 13.45 in Committee Room One.
Media seeking interviews with Annie Lennox or images from the event should contact the Scottish Parliament Media Relations Office. Media wishing to attend the EGM are asked to notify the Media Relations Office.
Members of the media should contact:
Natalie Walker: 0131 348 6085