Bob Scott – A report from Malawi

Dr Bob Scott, a longstanding HSS member, has just returned from Malawi where he met with member of the Malawi Association for Secular Humanism. This is following the announcement of our new partnership project with our colleagues in Malawi. This is his report:

At the 2015 HSS Annual Conference George Thindwa, the chief officer of the Association of Secular Humanism in Malawi (ASH), gave a stunning presentation of its efforts to combat witchcraft-based violence. ASH has made remarkable progress in promoting Human Rights in the country. It has single-handedly managed to release from prison over 250 individuals, who were being illegally detained on trumped-up charges.

Despite that success in the courts, combating witchcraft-based violence remains a vitally important activity for ASH. Belief in witchery is widespread and much work is yet to be done.

Bob Scott with Mahalia Mambulasa

Bob Scott with Mahalia Mambulasa a local Maths and Chemistry teacher at Chiradzulu Secondary School.

I was keen to meet more humanists in Malawi and during my recent trip there, which brought the total number of visits since 2004 up to 11, managed to do so. Without exception, all the ASH members I had the pleasure of meeting were passionate about what they do, committed to making progress and delighted to learn of Humanist Society Scotland’s members’ wish to work in partnership alongside them.

Potential areas for cooperation which were discussed included opportunities to assist with training, helping to stage a conference in Malawi and producing ASH’s own website. Over the coming weeks these possibilities will be examined in more detail. The benefits coming to Scotland from such assistance would include a powerful sense of shared endeavour; while a greater exposure of Humanist Society Scotland’s members to a tiny group of courageous and committed fellow humanists in a small far-off country who are battling enormous odds could not fail to be inspiring.

I look forward to doing what I can to help HSS and ASH’s joint venture bear fruit…and to trip number 12!

Malawi DonateHumanist Society Scotland and the Association of Secular Humanism in Malawi are coming together to collaborate on a new programme to support human rights, education and development in Malawi. The partnership aims to provide capacity building support to enable ASH in Malawi to grow and develop their work on the ground. The partnership project is supported by the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the Scotland Malawi Partnership.

This is the first initiative of the new HSS International Fund which aims to support the work of humanists working on the ground in developing countries. If we raise more than our target, don’t worry, all funds will be used for activities to support humanists on the ground in other countries around the world.


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