Colonialism, the Mamie Martin Fund and the future

Mamie Martin Fund volunteer, Richard Robinson, has been thinking about decolonisation from the perspective of organisations like ours. He has published his thoughts on Medium and we share some snippets here and encourage you to read the whole piece.

“In the light of recent debate in the UK I have been thinking about the past links between Scotland and Africa, about how we frame them now, and what that should mean for the future

For many of us our own education and cultural background mean that our ways of thinking and unconscious attitudes carry vestiges of colonialism. We must inspect what we do and how we do it to ensure we compensate as well as we can. We should do this openly, which will offer opportunities to make our contribution more visible in Scotland and more effective in Malawi. We strive for our work and our relationships to be conducted in the spirit of respectful partnership but there is no fixed standard for this. It will always be a progressive process in which MMF must be clear about its rôle.

There is still a power imbalance between Scotland and Malawi, particularly stark in wealth and social capital, and this is partly a result of extractive colonialisation. But poring over the balance sheets of a century ago is less helpful than looking at what is happening today: Malawi is still suffering economic disadvantage from global taxation and trade regimes.

The MMF website already has great stories from girls and women whose education has been supported. It could also play a part in seeking out, promoting, and publishing personal evidence about colonialism.

For readers who haven’t heard of the Mamie Martin Fund before, please investigate! Allowing girls full access to education, and empowering women, is work that is not even finished in Scotland. In Malawi it has huge potential to contribute to economic well-being and quality of life, and I will soon be out on my bike helping to play whatever small part I can.”