International development: Global South Panel minutes - September 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the panel on 22 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development
  • Joyce Phiri, Chair, Association of Malawian in Scotland
  • Chantal Mrimi, Vice Chair Rwanda Scotland Alliance
  • Christopher Mutawali, Chair Scotland Zambia Partnership
  • Antonia Mutoro FAWE (Rwanda)
  • Letty Chiwara, UNWomen Malawi


  • Prof Emmanuel Makasa (Zambia)

Items and actions


Joyce Phiri – AMS worked on the cooperation agreement. Many are founding members of the SMP. Main role to bring Malawians together to celebrate their culture, and to get involved in the Scotland and Malawi relationship. They also welcome students that come to Scotland, to ensure they are orientated well. Many members are involved in trade (she represents Fair trade Scotland), as well as working here.

Christopher Mutawali – ScoZap formed in 2004, and registered in 2017. Their aim is to integrate Zambians into Scotland. To make sure everyone is welcomed and supported. Had a youth project 2019-20, called “Demand Better” to provide young Zambians with activities in the afternoons and at weekends. Organising Independence Day function (Saturday, 29 October in Edinburgh), everyone invited. It will be a mix of entertainment and workshops to keep Zambian culture alive in Scotland.

Chantal Mrimi - Rwanda Scotland Alliance founded a few years ago, and focused on scholarships. They put many students through Masters and PhD degree programmes. They are now trying to revive RwSA and want to focus on academia in sectors such as health where there are still shortages in Rwanda. Wish to collaborate with Scottish Government and University Scotland and individual Universities.

Antonia Mutoro – National Coordinator for the Forum of African Women Educationalists, a pan-African organisation (working in 34 African countries). It’s mission to support girl child education and women’s economic empowerment. FAWE Rwanda founded in 1997 and supported over 3k young girls and women. They support girls who are vulnerable to access education (secondary and university). Currently funding from MasterCard Foundation (2014-22) and Beautiful Word Canada who support University education.

Letty Chiwara – Country Director UN Women Malawi for last six months. Work with a number of issues including Women’s economic empowerment, peace and security, humanitarian action, governance and leadership and ending violence against women and girls. Their focus is on the most vulnerable and looking at both institutional policy and action on the ground.


Thanked everyone for agreeing to join the Scottish Government’s Global South Panel, and apologised for the cancellation of the last meeting at short notice. Explained the Panel came out of our Review.


The Review’s outcomes are aimed at supporting the “decolonisation of aid” ensuring we focus our work on areas where we can make the biggest contribution and difference in our partner countries. Keen that the Scottish Government continues to hear from experts and the diaspora in Scotland. Take a lead from our partner countries to make sure we are providing the support that is meeting the priorities of our partners.

New funding schemes

We are working on restructuring our current funding schemes. Our new funding streams will include:

  • funding under a new equalities programme
  • funding to support sustainable recovery from COVID and
  • funding to support institutional resilience

We are looking for the new programmes in Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia to commence in 2023.

Programme changes

Four key cross-cutting changes are being implemented as a result of the Review:

  • build Back Fairer and Stronger
  • updating our funding criteria appreciate advice on how this objective could be best achieved; Making sure that the funding criteria meets the needs of the people we are looking to support
  • focusing our offer – to ensure a focused approach that best matches needs and asks and
  • constituting a Global South Programme Panel 

Global South Panel

Panel to play a critical role in delivering the Scottish Government’s objectives. Key question: how can the Scottish Government better harness the considerable knowledge and experience Panel members at this table have? How can we ensure we best utilise you and your experience.

Joanna Keating – Gave a presentation on the new programme. We will share a note on this in due course.

The Review responded to Covid and Black Lives Matter, how we support the shift of power to the global south. Held discussions with partner country governments, and Civil Society in Scotland, about future themes, key areas to support the build back from COVID and about our ethos in future. Our new principles were co-designed during the process.

Our new approach/ethos is about amplifying global south voices, equality, partner country lead development, inclusion and diversity.

Minister to have access to experts in our partner countries, rather than always discussing programme changes with people in Scotland.  

Our current programmes end in 2023. Now looking at our new programme. Will be looking at the purpose of: our spend; geographic focus; spend focus; approach and portfolio considerations; thematic focus and our next steps and what you can expect from us. IDF growing to £15m (this Parliament), also have separate CJF. IDF is small, however, if we focus can have transformative impact.

Geographic focus remains Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia, and Pakistan scholarships. Key messages from partner countries is to focus spend on fewer sectors. Therefore heavier focus on health and education. We will take a gender mainstreaming approach to programming. We have a new equalities programme and (separate) climate justice and renewables funds.  

The focus on sectors allows more strategic design and better implementation, leading to better programme strategy, programme management and coherence. Committed to better transparency in the provision of funds (i.e. stronger monitoring and evaluation). 

We would like to discuss with you, how we make sure communities on the ground and civil society in our partner countries know more about what we are supporting, where we are investing and what the opportunities are.  

Also about aiming to support, where possible, funding to the Global South direct. There are four key points we will be working with this framework; ensuring a feminist approach is mainstreamed for our spending (feminist approach to foreign policy); taking a feminist/human right approach; mainstreaming climate justice; and taking a decolonised, Black Lives Matter lens to on our investments. The Global South Panel will help us with all of this.

Also aligning with our International Development Principles, through taking a human rights approach, a participatory approach and shifting power where we can do that. Particularly with funding.

It is not just about funding, it is also about how with a sectoral focus, Scotland can look beyond spend, to innovative global policy, and support global south governments and civil society, in areas such as vaccine equity, an area that Minister Gray has taken forward. We are commissioning a health specialist to help us with the design and build of our new health programme, for Zambia, Malawi and Rwanda in the Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) space. The same with Education, where we are working on a new, inclusive, education programme, which is likely to include scholarships for women and girls in particular.

We have the new equalities programme, including our new Women and Girls empowerment fund, which will only be available to small CSOs in the Global South, who will not need a Scottish partner. We are asking CSOs in the Global South, what they actually need, what do they want? We also have ongoing Equalities programme linked with Civic Governance for example through our Police Scotland’s partnerships with the Malawian and Zambian police services.

Renewable Energy supported through our new Global Renewable Energy Centre, with a partner in each of Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.

There will be ongoing support for civil society; we are setting up a new fund for smaller CSOs. Like the women and girls fund, there will be direct funding opportunities for CSOs in Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda, and grants to small Scottish NGOs. This is about strengthening global citizenship in Scotland, and also Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia for advocacy and capacity strengthening. We will also continue to fund our Core Funded organisations.

There is a separate Climate Justice Fund, under a different Ministerial portfolio.

We will be tendering for supporting our new sectoral programmes in health, education, the new women and girls empowerment fund and the new global citizenship fund for small CSOs, over the next few months. The funding is expected to commence in April 2023.

On non-competitive tendering, we will also have ongoing funding for the Police Scotland and funding to Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, with whom we have had a long-term relationship (15 years). They are now looking to work with Zambia on a south-south partnership in areas such as research on NCDs, and dental services etc.

All of this is in the design phase, and hope to have a discussion at our next meeting on the health programme.

Will send out a note on the programme, so you have that information in writing.

Can we discuss how we use the panel’s experience to influence our policies and relationships with our Partner Countries?

Minister – The new approach demonstrates our clear commitment to our Partner Countries, and the geographic and thematic spread of investment we are making. Keen for your reflections on what we are doing now, what we could do better, what we could do more of, and what we could differently 

Joyce Phiri – Thanks for the opportunity to be part of the Panel, something we have been asking for years, as diaspora input is missing so voices not heard. Diaspora organisation never been funded, and not empowered to be part of the International Development work. Would be possible to fund the diaspora groups?

Minister – Question for us to consider. As part of the Review. SG to take greater cognisance of the needs/desires of our partner countries. Rather doing development to our partners, do it in a partnership. Need to think about how to make sure we help support the empowerment and the voice of the Malawian, Rwandan, Zambian and Pakistani diaspora to have a voice here in Scotland as well. Something we should take away and note.

Letty Chiwara – Congratulated the Minister, the team and government for establishing this Panel. This is unprecedented. In more than 25 years of working in international development, she had never seen a government establish a panel bringing together experts from the global south and the diaspora as they begin a strategy. The Scottish Government is to be congratulated on this approach.

Asked if we can share the PowerPoint presentation. 

Grants to small CSOs, interesting as donors normally leave out small CSOs. We need to consider the criteria for those small grants and what kind of support the SG needs from the Panel to ensure we get the right CSOs to support. Especially need to think about support in terms of institutional capacity building, results based management, reporting etc.

SG may want to look at how they leverage on bigger institutions to ensure resources go to the right places and they are used for good value for money.

Happy to hear about the education programme and the scholarships element of it. Offered to be ground ambassador on the scholarship programme to ensure you get the right applicants. The criteria will be key, in ensuring we don’t support the wrong people.

Minister – Thanks for the comments about the outcome of this Review and the setting up of this Panel. Your view this is world leading is heartening to hear. The idea predates my coming into post.  Good to know the work we are doing meets with the expectations of those we are trying to work, and build greater relationships, with.

Your involvement and the information you bring, is exactly what we hope this Panel can do (i.e. expert opinion, experience, judgement on our direction of travel).

Keen to get out to our partner countries soon. Having your experience, knowledge and insight is important to us. Discussions encapsulated what the role of Panel could be (i.e. making sure we are well guided our work). On educational scholarships, thanks for the offer to be an ambassador for that work. Our scholarships in Pakistan have benefitted many women, it’s heartening to see the benefit this is bringing. Education, especially for girls is a real passion of mine, and something I would like us to do more of.

Antonia Mutoro – Appreciate being included in the Panel. Thought it an innovation. It will help SG spend money in the best way through getting information from those on the ground. Thanks for being so inclusive by having experts/diaspora on board. Discussed issues of Education in Rwanda. Inclusion of girls and women, especially in TVET (technical and vocational education) in Rwanda, and the early years in primary and early secondary are all important. Women’s and girl’s enrolment statistics for TVET and STEM are alarming. Investing in these areas in Rwanda through scholarships, is key. For health and education, access to health services for the youth, especially young women and girls in secondary schools is important. Need to cut teenage pregnancies, through provision of sexual reproductive rights education, and the prevention of sexual violence etc. Require a safe gender sensitive school environment.

With us (FAWE), we have been trying very hard to include the gender response materials so teachers are sensitive in the languages and materials they use. It is important for young girls and boys to stay in school. The inclusion of children with disabilities in schools is key and needs support in this country. FAWE works with Ministry of Education and Minister for Youth, and collaborate on work on this. Hope when the Minister comes to Rwanda he is able to visit FAWE and the Ministry.

Thank you for this programme, which is very, very important.

Minister – His interest in education comes from his Mum, a special needs teacher. His wife is a teacher, and he is the father of three daughters. Understands the importance of insuring women and girls are given information around empowerment of control over their own sexual reproduction is important. Happy to see what more we can do there.

Christopher Mutawali – Thanks for this Panel. It will give SG a guide on what to do in our countries. Important that grants are given to the right people, and not always the same people. The Panel can help with this. Partner countries have issues with schools and people who are struggling with fees, which leads to children not going to school. In relation to funding for scholarships, it is good to help set the criteria for the benefit of everyone.

Minister – Have to leave for the Chamber now, but thanks for meeting me. Thanks all for these reflections and the ideas at this introductory meeting. In future, we will have one or two meetings to reflect on key policy areas such as Health and Education, which have already come through in the discussions we have had. Looking forward to go through those areas in some detail. Clear the value for SG hearing from you through this Panel is strong. Very appreciative of that.

Joanna Keating – In term of next meetings in November/December would propose to look at health. The bulk of our spend will be on Health and Education from 2023 going forward.

We normally run separate country funding rounds. Currently we are reprogramming everything across the board for 2023, and trying to manage and transition between the results of the Review and our new programme.

We will have health and education specialists to help us deliver the new programmes. They will run two workshops, one with our partner country governments and a wider one with civil society and people who have expertise in this area, to discuss design etc. We will invite the Panel to one of those. Once we have the draft designs from our specialist consultants, it would be good to have the Panel’s comments and thoughts on that.

In relation to items to discuss at meetings, are we right to look at health next, and then education? Should the meeting in November being half in half, with health and education? Then do meeting two with half in half as an update? We are interested in your views on how the Panel wants to work. How many times a year should it meet, what kind of areas are you interested discussing; rogramming, policy, or both? Do we start designing the health and education programmes?

Mrs Joyce Phiri – raised economic development, supporting Trade, Not Aid, because we do not empower people in trade. Many products available from Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda. We need to empower communities to feed themselves. We need to include a trade element in the Scottish international development work. Need a space to talk about trade and economic empowerment.

Suggested the Panel meets every month, to discuss a single topic. We need a proper strategy on the issues the Panel focuses on, whether it be health, education or trade. The Panel needs to be strategic.

Joanna Keating – Gary will give an update on trade. We have six month period where discussions on programming is important. We are open to discuss what Panel wants to do. Perhaps, as suggested, discussing one theme at a time. We want to be guided by the Panel on how you can best advise us, and what are the key areas. This is a co-creation, a development process. Our immediate focus now is the programme for 2023. We want the Panel to continue into the long-term and deciding how it best works, what areas it can support the Scottish Government.

Gary Leslie – Agreed on the importance of trade and developing incomes and wealth. Trade tariffs and trading rules reserved to Westminster. Since the UK left the EU, then they have been implementing their own Developing Countries Trading Scheme, to replace the EU rules and regulations on tariff on imports. Been involved with the discussion on this, pushing for minimal tariffs on anything coming from partner countries.  We take on-board the importance of trade for making people’s lives better. We will continue to raising any particular issue that you or anyone wants to highlight, particularly on trade.

Joanna Keating – We continue to support commercial investments. Through a budget of up to £500k per annum invested via an investment vehicle. We have been investing in companies in Malawi, and aim to extend in to the other partner countries.

Christopher Mutawali – Education and health are the key areas that we need to set first.

Agreed re meeting once a month as there is a lot to discuss.

He sees a staff shortage in the Health sector (in Scotland). Suggested setting up a programme whereby we can improve the health sector (in Scotland), whereby we recruit Nurses without jobs from Malawi and Zambia. Suggested we involve the Health Minister in different countries to do this.

In relation to trade, we need to make it easier to import goods.

For education, there is a need for more scholarships.

Suggested the Panel meets every month to allow for these discussions.

Joanna Keating – Good if the Panel wants to meet more frequently (particularly over next six months); the timings originally proposed reflected SG consideration that did not want to impinge on people’s time. Happy to meet once a month though if appetite for this, bringing the Minister in every second month. Would allow the Panel to establish well, allowing conversations and sharing information about how the programming is going, and get your views.

Letty Chiwara – On timings suggested the Panel meet bi-monthly (once every two months), recognising appetite for monthly meetings. Proposed once every two months as we all have busy schedules. Suggested in the month the Panel does not sit idly but share documents and issues via email. The Panel then meets to meet to consolidate issues and comments, and make decisions with the Minister. Once the programmes are running, and then have quarterly meetings.

Raised two priorities on education. One was girls in science and technology, as we do not want girls left behind in this area. Second, for Malawi (and Zambia) how can the programme support girls rescued from early marriage going back/staying in school in School. 

Joanna Keating – will take that as a point to put into the design for the education programme.

Antonia Mutoro – Agree with Letty, how many times we meet, and sending documents. In terms of themes of support for technology and innovation, this would make a big change and impact.  

Due to COVID, in Rwanda there have been a lot of teenage pregnancies, so getting young mothers to go back to school is important. However, the issue is the funding and support for this.  

Panel should also look at economic empowerment, for young women in terms of trade, small enterprises (SMEs), start-ups and sustainable trade and supporting high school graduates to be employable.

Joanna Keating – We will get note of the meeting to you, and the next steps. Seems the consensus is during initial period there will be more activity over the next six months, meetings every month, with paper work shared in between and the Minister to attend every second month – diary permitting. Sounds like a good way forward.

We are excited to have this Panel, and we want to be led by you. We want to be an exemplar, not only with within the SG, but also to other governments as well. Thanks to all of you for being our ground breakers in this area. Will be in touch with the Notes, and the briefing note on our programme. Will try to get the slides on to a Web link (on-line), rather than try to send a set of slides.  

Next meeting

Will be in touch to arrange the next meeting. As suggested, we will meet once a month, bringing the Minister in every second month to inform him of progress and make any decisions necessary.

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