THE LINKS between Scotland and Malawi go back to David Livingstone. Nowadays, it's more than a hardy Scotsman and his brother exploring the African country and learning about its people.
One of the most familiar sights in Scotland's schools is a wall of project work on a country with very different economics and politics from our own, but a great deal of shared history and geography.
Malawi too is a land of mountains, forests and lakes. The two countries even share place names. "We will be taking a group of our pupils out to Blantyre, which is named after Livingstone's home town," says Tony Begley, depute headteacher at Holyrood Secondary in Glasgow.
For schools yet to discover the benefits of links with Malawi, there will be an opportunity on November 3 in Perth, says Mr Begley, with the launch of a new resource. "I have been working with the Scottish Malawi Partnership. We have produced a guide for schools wishing to form links with Malawian schools, to help them add a global dimension to their curriculum."
That extra dimension can come from any number of activities and shared experiences, he says. Pupils can write to distant colleagues. They can work separately or together on modern studies, art, music or religious education projects. They can learn in a highly motivating way about the developing world and its health, economic and educational challenges. They can even visit to see for themselves.
The 60-page guide, backed by Learning and Teaching Scotland, contains advice and information on all aspects of setting up and maintaining links with schools in Malawi, says Mr Begley: "Why you'd want to do it, what the benefits are, how you make a start, where to get advice or grants."
For more information, contact Tony Begley E ABegley@holyrood sec.glasgow.sch.uk; Leo Williams of the Scottish Malawi Partnership, T 0131 529 3164, E firstname.lastname@example.org