AGM 2017, a time to celebrate success and make new connections

Mariot Dallas, Trustee, writes about our  recent AGM…
We held our 2017 AGM in Ladywell church Hall, Bannockburn, as we have done since 1993, and we’re grateful for the support Ladywell’s congregation has given us over the years. It was encouraging to welcome around 30 supporters, a mixture of old friends and new. The hall was given a Malawian flavour with chitenges, MMF bookmarks,newsletters and brochures. There was an attractive sales table with Hazel ’s fudge , Malawi jewellery, jam and chutney . Our raffle prizes included the hamper we won with  our winning video, made in collaboration with The Soko Fund, in the Scotland Malawi Partnership competition. We were delighted to have a stall from Wool n Wood, selling very attractive Malawian artefacts.


As friends gathered and enjoyed some hot soup, we could see new video footage by Moira, with Karonga girls singing and dancing, Mercy Sibande, our Malawi manager, and her cute wee two year old boy playing with a plastic bottle. There’s always been lively chat at these meetings as old friends get together and, importantly, new connections are made, ideas  thrown about and experiences shared. Two Trustees, Angie and Jean, met in person for the very first time, having been working together via the internet for some months now. As the formal meeting began, Willie made his opening remarks. This AGM marks a new stage for MMF, as we take the work forward without either Margaret or John, but with their vision very much in our minds. Referring to our mum, who died in December 2016, Willie said,

‘It’s worth reflecting that we wouldn’t be here fulfilling our constitutional duties for this organisation if she and John, and Maxwell and Matiya hadn’t had that initial vision in 1991. If she had wanted to leave a lasting benefit after she’d gone, then this Fund and its work is a grand memorial.’

We moved on with the business. All the current Trustees remained on the Board, and we are pleased to have a mix of new and long-serving members. Lynsey took us through the financial report and we celebrated some successful fundraising and generous donors. As we continue to work with our Malawian partners we are pleased to note that we are moving towards better clarity in record keeping and monitoring systems for the girls we are supporting. Mercy, our Malawi manager is working hard on our behalf on this. She now meets with each individual girl at least once a term as part of our ongoing support as they progress through their schooling.

Angus McLeod of The Ascent Foundation spoke to the meeting about his experience in Malawi. Angus and his wife Jill are committed to supporting young people in education and we are very grateful for their planned donations. Alison Cameron described her recent visit to Malawi when she and Colin were honoured for their lifetime of service to Malawi and we were delighted to be asked to manage the Alison Cameron Scholarships on behalf of the Scottish Government. We’re very pleased that the government looked to us to manage this work on their behalf because they know we will do it well! But, most of all, we are delighted to be able to increase the number of girls we can support.
This has been a very short summary of a busy few hours at our meeting. If you’ve never come along to the AGM, please consider it next year. It’s never dull, frequently inspiring, there are new friendships and connections to be made and we serve delicious soup and cakes. What’s not to like?