Scottish Parliament launches pairing scheme with Malwai


A unique exchange programme between politicians from Scotland and Malawi has been launched today at Holyrood by the Scotland Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).

The pilot scheme, which was finalised on a recent trip to Malawi by Karen Gillon MSP and Michael Matheson MSP, will match 10 Scottish Parliament politicians with 10 MPs from across the three regions in Malawi.

The programme aims to build up firm bonds between the 10 sets of ‘pairs’, with politicians exchanging information about their parliamentary role and local community electronically via telephone, computer and video link.

The 10 Scottish Parliament MSPs taking part in the programme are:

  • Sarah Boyack MSP, Edinburgh Central
  • Ted Brocklebank MSP, Mid Scotland & Fife
  • Karen Gillon MSP, Clydesdale
  • Robin Harper MSP, Lothians
  • Michael Matheson MSP, Falkirk West
  • Des McNulty MSP, Clydebank & Milngavie
  • Alasdair Morgan MSP, South of Scotland
  • Hugh O’Donnell MSP, Central Scotland
  • Maureen Watt MSP, North East Scotland
  • Sandra White MSP, Glasgow

Presiding Officer and President of the CPA Scotland Branch Alex Fergusson, who today chaired a meeting of the paired Scottish MSPs, said: “Since 2005 we have been working with the Malawian National Assembly to deepen the links between our two legislatures. This innovative pairing programme will build on the good work done so far and will, we hope, contribute to the further strengthening of Parliamentary democracy in Malawi.”

Speaking about the scheme, Karen Gillon MSP said: “Together with Michael, I am delighted to have helped to bring this new initiative into fruition. It will provide us with the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the very real challenges facing parliaments in developing countries.”

Michael Matheson MSP said: “We firmly hope that in time, this innovative programme will be adopted as a model for twinning parliamentarians by other Commonwealth legislatures around the world.”


Since 2005, the Scottish Parliament has been working with the Malawian Assembly to establish links to help share ideas and ways of working.

The Scottish Parliament Malawi programme has been organised by the Scotland Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The programme has looked at several key issues relevant to both parliaments such as:

  • Changing role of MPs
  • Scrutiny of legislation
  • Cross-party groups
  • Effective use of media relations
  • Understanding of constituency working particularly in relation to engaging constituents.
  • Gender issues
  • Revision of Standing Orders

The CPA consists of the national, provincial, state and territorial parliaments and legislatures of the countries of the Commonwealth. The CPA has around 164 branches in 54 Commonwealth countries and a membership of around 16,000 parliamentarians. The General Assembly, attended by 400 members, meets annually.

The CPA is an association of Commonwealth parliamentarians who, irrespective of gender, race, religion or culture, are united by a community of interest, respect for the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms, and by pursuit of the positive ideals of parliamentary democracy.

Full list of MSPs with pairing partners

  • Karen Gillon MSP / Hon. Ralph Jooma, Mangochi Monkey Bay, DPP Party
  • Michael Matheson MSP / Hon. Alfred Chiwaya, Mangochi Central, UDF Party
  • Sarah Boyack MSP / Hon. Christina Chiwoko, Lilongwe Mapuyu North, DPP Party
  • Alasdair Morgan MSP / Hon. Prof Donton Mkandawire, Mzimba Central, DPP Party
  • Des McNulty MSP / Hon. Watson Ngozo, Lilongwe, Mpenu, MCP Party
  • Hugh O’Donnell MSP / Hon. G. Nnensa, Balaka South, Mafunde Party
  • Robin Harper MSP / Hon G Kamanya, Lilongwe, Msozi North, Independent Party
  • Sandra White MSP / Hon R Zulu, Mchinje North, MCP Party
  • Ted Brocklebank MSP / Hon CJ Hiwa, Ntcheu West, DPP Party
  • Maureen Watt MSP / Hon Grace Chiumia, Nkhata-Bay West, DPP Party

You can now get in touch with the Parliament by text message. Our interactive service enables you to get the name of your MSP by sending your postcode, lets you ask questions about the Parliament and its work, and enables you to request a selection of free leaflets. The number to take advantage of is 07786 209888. Texts are charged at standard network rates. More details can be found on our Text Service page.

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