Wedding list with a difference

On July 20th this year, one of our long-term regular supporters got married in Scotland. Hope Robertson married Malcolm Fleming on a lovely sunny day in Cramond followed by a reception near Biggar. Their special day brought sunshine to many girls in Malawi because they asked their family and friends to make a donation to the Mamie Martin Fund as a wedding gift. What a generous thing to do! In addition, the groom told the wedding guests about our work as part of his wedding speech. It is great when more and more people hear about our work and the need for it. 

This form of fund-raising is particularly appreciated in Malawi,  where money is central to wedding celebrations. Money is thrown in the air as the guest dance and that money is a vital part of the process of the couple setting up home together. Many of those who get married in the UK are lucky in already having a home, and Hope and Malcolm decided that they did not need any material gifts but would like their happiness to make a difference to girls’ education in Malawi. Their generous family and friends donated more than £2,300.00 – enough to pay for school fees for seven girls for a year. Wow!

If you also wanted to mark a special occasion and invite donations to the Mamie Martin Fund, you could ‘start fundraising’ on our Virgin Money Giving page or on Give as you Live. We’d love to know about your plans so that we can share them with other supporters and friends.

Huge thanks to Hope and Malcolm for this thoughtful and generous contribution to our work supporting girls in Northern Malawi.

MMF team 21st-Century-ready in Malawi

Having been introduced to WhatsApp by our youngest Trustee, the Board has come to understand the importance of this mobile phone app in Africa. A  messaging tool which uses very little data, it has transformed communications within Malawi and between Malawians and the rest of the world. It works when mobile signal is poor and seems to be much easier for Malawians than email; it is usually accessed by mobile phone. 

Communication between us and the Head Teachers of the schools we support has always been challenging. They have very little internet access but most of them have internet-enabled mobile phones. Having been using WhatsApp with Mercy for some time, we set up a group for the Head Teachers to communicate with each other and with us. It was an immediate success!

“This is wonderful, Moira and Mercy. It will really ease our communication. Wishing you lots of God’s blessings.” Head Teacher, Bandawe Girls’ Secondary School.

“It is worthy having it. Communications simplified.” J. Mwale, Elangeni Secondary School.

It has already been used by the teachers to confirm Mercy’s school visits itinerary and by Mercy to confirm the parameters of the new MMF places which will be available to the schools from this month.

Isn’t it lovely when something so simple solves a problem that seemed complicated? Thanks to Mercy for her help with it and to all the teachers who are engaging with it so positively. It should be noted that we are not endorsing or advertising this app in any way; we are only sharing our experience of using it in this particular situation.

Scotland Malawi Partnership Member Awards 2020


We were honoured to be part of the Scotland-Malawi Partnership Awards event this year. While not receiving an award this time, we did get the chance to meet Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, who presented the awards and met representatives of as many member organisations as possible. HRH impressed everyone with her knowledge and understanding of the issues we face in our international development work. She was warm and gracious with everyone but we were all still left feeling shell-shocked from trying to do and say the right thing. 

Our Trustees, Moira Dunworth and Lynsey Shepherd, represented us at this event and Moira used the occasion, of course, to give her Malawian dress another Edinburgh outing. This dress is made from the chintenjie (cloth) designed last year by the Malawi-Scotland Partnership (MaSP). Vera Kamtukule, CEO of the MaSP, spoke eloquently about the value of the Malawi-Scottish links. 

Mzuzu Golden Coffee

Everyone loves drinking Mzuzu Coffee – in its distinctive gold packaging – when they visit Malawi. However, any that we can buy in Scotland has been roasted and finished here. So to grow the export market for the finished product – and keeping the all important roasting income in Malawi – Fair Trade Scotland Ltd teamed up with Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union to bring the roasted and packaged coffee to Scotland. The green bean is 20% heavier than the roasted bean – so doing the roasting and packing in Malawi is great for the climate too! 

This coffee is organic, single origin and fairly traded – what’s not to like? Economic development in Malawi is a concern of all of us working there as we strive to enable Malawians to have a brighter future. So that we can have this coffee easily available to buy, this great project still needs support from investors and you can be part of it by making a donation on this page.


Post: Administrator/ Bookkeeper

The Mamie Martin Fund, which supports the education of girls in Malawi, is looking for someone to support the work of the Board of Trustees and donors. You will have administration and bookkeeping skills and be committed to the charity’s vision .

12 hrs per week to be worked on a flexible basis

Based in Scotland, the post holder will work from home and attend meetings

Preferred start date is the 2nd December 2019 but this is negotiable

For more information please contact

Closing date: 30th September

Pens and bands

Our new pens and bands are supplied by Ross Promotional Products Glasgow. The pens are made from recycled plastic and Ross Promotional are a Glasgow Living Wage company.

We’ll be sending a bundle out to Malawi with the next Trustee visit. Last year when we met with girls who receive  MMF support they told us that they’d like some way of identifying themselves as MMF girls within the school community so that they can make friends easily and offer each other support. We hope these attractive rainbow coloured bands will do this.

Here in Scotland, we will sell the pens and bands ( £1 each) when we are out and about doing talks and events. Watch out for news of how to buy them on our website shop and in the meantime if you’d like some, contact Mariot (

Tom Dallas, one of Mamie and Jack’s great grandsons, lent a hand to show off the pen and band in the video!

A midwife’s night duty shift, Malawi, 1963

We are proud to have Alison Cameron as our Scottish Patron. So we were thrilled to see her 1963 snapshot of one night’s work published in the Society of Malawi Journal, Vol. 72, No. 1, 2019. We are grateful to the Journal for permission to share it with you on our website. In this article Alison describes the pressures and uncertainties of giving birth in Malawi. It was a dangerous business then and, even though maternal and infant mortality rates have fallen considerably, it is still a dangerous process for mother and baby.

Malawi infant mortality today is 39 per 1,000 live births (, down from 64 in 2007. The SDG target for 2030 is to reduce it to 12 deaths per 1,000 live births globally. As a means of comparison, it is currently 4 deaths per 1,000 live births in the UK. Maternal health is also an area of grave concern in Malawi. Malawi’s most recent estimated maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is 439 per 100,000 live births (NSO Malawi & ICF, 2017); below the WHO (2015) estimate for the sub-Saharan African region of 546 ( in 2000, it was roughly 1120, so it has more than halved in 20 years).

Malawi’s proportion of institutional deliveries has increased sharply from 55% in 1992 to 90% in 2015-16 (NSO Malawi & ICF 2017). Malawi provides free maternity care, but quality of care appears suboptimal (Leslie et al, 2016; Ministry of Health Malawi & ICF International, 2014). Health centres offer basic emergency obstetric and new-born care; a limited number of referral hospitals offers more comprehensive services. Malawi’s health system is affected by severe lack of physical, financial and human resources (Chimwaza et al., 2014).

Alison  has been a supporter of the Mamie Martin Fund since it was founded. She and her husband, Colin, have worked for 60 years to build and maintain civil society and governmental links between Malawi and Scotland. The Scottish Government has honoured that work by creating an endowment fund in Alison’s name and asking us to administer it. This fund supports 45 girls through school and 4 at university over four years each.

Source: National Statistical Office – NSO/Malawi and ICF (2017). Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2015-16. Available from: Accessed 31 January 2019. Zomba, Malawi, and Rockville, Maryland, USA: National Statistical Office and ICF.

Legacy Giving

We were humbled to receive a legacy recently. The parent of a long-time supporter had died and his family decided to divide the estate between their favourite charities, How generous! This prompted the following post.

It is estimated that as many as 70% of adults in Scotland do not have a Will. This may be because we are reluctant to think about dying or because we assume our nearest and dearest will inherit automatically anyway, so why bother? But dying intestate (without a valid Will) may mean that your wishes will not be carried out the way you expected or wanted. You may also leave your family with complicated and expensive financial and legal problems to sort out. Legacies left to registered charities are taken from your estate before it is assessed for inheritance tax, making it an even better idea.

We would be delighted if you decide to leave the Mamie Martin Fund, or any other charity which you support, a legacy in your Will, after any legacies to your family and friends. Make sure your solicitor uses the full charity details of your chosen charity in your Will: Our full name and registered address is: Mamie Martin Fund, 43 Ravenscroft, Irvine, Ayrshire KA12 9DE Our registered charity number is SCO21483

Thanks to Alzheimer Scotland on whose website we found some of the information above.

The Thompson Scholarship Fund was set up in the autumn of last year to honour the memory of Jack and Phyllis Thompson. Their family, Scotland-Malawi Partnership and their Church colleagues in Malawi asked the Mamie Martin Fund to provide some scholarships in their name. The fund-raising page for this was on BTMyDonate, which is closing at the end of June. The money raised so far (£6,981.00, including Gift Aid) has already been received by the Mamie Martin Fund. This amount has been logged on the new page, hosted by VirginMoneyGiving.

The goal is to create three scholarships over the four years which is the norm for secondary schooling in Malawi. We will start that provision with two scholarships starting in September 2019 and add the third when the funding gets closer to its target. At least one of those places will be at the secondary school for Deaf children in Embangweni. All of the places will be for girls.

Thanks for all your support of this project. You can continue to help by sharing this link and encouraging friends and family to bear it in mind when undertaking challenges – a run, bike ride, climbing Everest, etc. On this new page you could set up your personal fundraising page, or just donate directly to the Fund. If you need any help, get in touch with

Preparing for Malawi trip

Governance visits to Malawi are an important part of our work with our partners there as well as playing a vital role in our accountability to our beneficiaries and donors.

Moira (left) and Angie plan their Malawi trip

This year Moira Dunworth will go to Malawi again and will be joined by fellow Trustee, Angie Wynn, for whom this will be a first trip to Africa. They met to discuss dates and other practical preparation tasks. Then they booked their flights so the trip will be from 25th September to 15th October. They hope to visit all of the schools we support and meet all of our partners as well as the many friends of the Mamie Martin Fund in Malawi.

A key task on this trip will be the signing of a new Partnership Agreement with the Diocese of Karonga. We start supporting girls at their boarding school, St Mary’s, in 2019 thanks to the Scottish Government’s funding of ‘Alison Cameron Scholarships’.