I was delighted to see last week the Scottish Government announce the results of the second round of its small grants programme.
This innovative programme is funding small Scottish organisations to work in Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Pakistan and India, with significant impact.
It is inspiring to see the government taking an innovative approach to its work in international development; an approach which builds upon and values the efforts of the people of Scotland. Today, more than 94,000 Scots have a link with Malawi, be it through their school, church, university, hospital or community group, and 46 per cent of Scots personally know someone with a Malawi partnership.
This is a unique national effort.
Sadly, too often large national programmes ignore the work of civic society, where so much impact is achieved through dignified two-way partnerships.
Smaller organisations, driven by volunteerism, are often able to achieve incredible amounts with comparatively little resource.
Where their work is built around long-standing community-to-community, people-to-people links they are able to design projects well attuned to local needs and priorities.
They are bottom-up not top-down and, for all these reasons, they have a genuinely transformative impact.
With this small grants programme, we see government working in synergy with people, to great effect.
Scotland Malawi Partnership