MAJI –a personal reflection from an International Knowledge and Learning Exchange in Malawi

Beswick, instructor at Kusamala permaculture centre explaining forest garden design

Beswick, instructor at Kusamala permaculture centre explaining forest garden design

Philip Revell, Chair of the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network (SCCAN), travelled to Malawi in March 2016 as part of an international knowledge and learning exchange. Philip learnt first hand about the climate change impacts affecting communities in Malawi. He shares his experiences below and reflects on common challenges and opportunities for SCCAN members to learn from and share experiences with communities in Malawi. First published on Adaptation Scotland’s blog.

In common with the rest of southern Africa, Malawi is already facing a significant impact from climate change. Devastating floods in January 2015 affected over 1.1 million people, 7% of the population. 280 people lost their lives and 230,000 were displaced, many permanently. Coping with a disaster on this scale was a major challenge for a country with so few resources and such limited infrastructure.

MAJI, a Bantu word for water, is a Scottish Government climate justice funded project being delivered by VSO Malawi along with a range of local partners and support from James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. The aim of the project is to enhance the resilience of some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities through a more integrated approach to planning future water resource management and direct practical support to ‘Village Natural Resource Management Committees’.

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Invitation: Community Learning Exchange visit to Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm

Invitation to Scottish Communities CAN members:

There is an opportunity for you to join a visit to the Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm in Fife on March 19th.   

CAT5181696305_2b9fdd7c59_b1-680x430The lead organisation is Girvan Community Garden, and the visit is funded by the Community Learning Exchange. There are up to 6 places available for the members of other SCA organisations (including Scottish Communities CAN). 

The CLE will fund travel and subsistence, and accommodation if that is necessary.

The farm tour will take place on Saturday March 19th at the Pillars of Hercules organic farm shop and cafe, near the village of Falkland in Fife, from 12 midday  to 4pm. The tour will focus on how a Community Garden can strive to be self sustainable as a social enterprise using the Pillars of Hercules as a business model.

Learning outcomes:

  1.  How to market and sell organic fruit and/or veg boxes
  2.  How to plan and run events
  3.  How to maximise income from events
  4. How to attract and increase visitors to our community garden through the “green tourism” theme

Please contact Amanda Cornish for further information <>

Amanda Cornish, Coordinator,Community Learning Exchange

tel 0131 260 9501, mob 07843 481 790



Community Engagement Support peer learning project

Here’s a round-up of our project to offer mentoring to members’ projects in 2015, funded by Scottish Government.

Scottish Communities CAN’s aim for this project was to address two key challenges our members face in community engagement work:

  • how to engage with a greater cross-section of their community and,
  • how to deepen their engagement to ensure that interest in their activities leads to lasting behaviour change.


Nine projects were offered up to three days of mentoring support over 3-6 months. Projects had a variety of activities and purposes and came from different parts of Scotland, both rural and urban. Their behaviour change related aims focused on local food growing, home energy efficiency and sustainable travel. Projects were at varying stages and had differing levels of experience.

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Anyone keen to partner with Himalayan Centre for the Community Learning Exchange?

hclogo350Harriet from Himalayan Centre writes:

Dear SCCAN members

The Himalayan Centre for Arts & Culture’s Climate Change Hub Project is keen to undertake the Community Learning Exchange so that we can meet another group exploring ways to tackle climate change, and encounter different perspectives. It would also be a brilliant opportunity for our volunteers who help deliver the project, as their development and experience is a fundamental aspect of the Climate Change Hub.


What We do:
It’s not necessary your project is similar to ours, but here’a a bit of info on what we do:
We work with groups to explore creative and meaningful ways to tackle climate change using a Common Cause approach:
– Supporting householders through friendly Home Energy Visits with a team of trained, approachable volunteer advisers.
– Holding facilitated chats about climate change and how our sense of place may be affected by changing weather patterns.
– Creative workshops to inspire change in people’s lifestyles. These have included pinhole camera workshops, using natural products to dye materials, cooking demonstrations using food normally wasted, and being taught how to use tools and techniques to transform different grades of plastics into beautiful items.
– Developing a growing space on Leith Community Croft, with the community group Leith Community Crops in Pots.

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