Youth Congress 2016 - Edinburgh

7 Nov 2016

On Monday 7th November 2016 over 350 students from 15 schools all across Scotland came together at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh for the SMP annual Youth Congress.

The focus of the Congress this year was Malawi and beyond, we celebrated the links between the two countries – and looked at small actions we could make to contribute to the relationship – and also looked beyond this to the SDGs, global poverty and how the young Scots present could continue their Malawi links beyond school.

Check out the video of the event below!

We began with a welcome from the Principal of George Watson’s College, Melvyn Roffe, and then our Principal Officer, David Hope-Jones spoke about the wider network of 94,000 Scots who are involved with Malawi links that we are all a part of.

David then welcomed Ross Greer MSP to the stage who spoke about how unique the Scotland-Malawi relationship is, that it’s about looking beyond our own borders and what we can do to work with other people. He said to the students present that the future that they’re building in this partnership is incredibly positive, that it’s about the relationships that goes in both directions and enriches both our cultures.

Ross Greer then announced the winner of the Youth Article Competition, Kirsten Irvine from Port Glasgow High, whose excellent article will be published in a Scottish newspaper later this month!

The students then split up into four groups and attended four different activities throughout the afternoon.

Debate

Students were invited to discuss and debate ‘The Sustainable Development Goals will end global poverty by 2030’, with students preparing strong arguments to propose and oppose the statement.

Stalls

Groups of students visited the stalls in the main hall. We were joined by the following organisations:

  • Classrooms for Malawi
  • Project Trust
  • Responsible Safari Company
  • Wellcome Trust Centre For Molecular Parasitology
  • Just Trading Scotland
  • Mary’s Meals
  • IDEAS
  • Scottish Government
  • Scotland Malawi Partnership
  • Traidcraft
  • Beath High School
  • Lattitude Global Volunteering
  • WESM
  • Koolskools
  • George Watson’s College

During this time students were also encouraged to talk to students from other schools by filling out a networking postcard, visit the tweet and Instagram stations to share their positive actions towards Scotland-Malawi links and the SDGs on social media and visit the bridge where they could write an action they would pledge to do on a balloon and use this to build a ‘bridge’ between Scotland and Malawi. These actions were something small that they could do - such as buy Malawian products, challenge stereotypes of Malawi or raise awareness of Scotland-Malawi links – to contribute towards the relationship and be part of the collective positive action.

Workshops

Students also spent time throughout the day taking part in various workshops:

  • Malawian culture
  • Climate Justice
  • Biology lab – malaria
  • CV skills
  • Music - Malawian drumming
  • Drama – A Malawian Village
  • the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Volunteering
  • Malawian wildlife

A huge thank you to our excellent host, George Watson’s college!