Scottish schoolchildren Friday learnt what life was like in two African countries when they linked up by video with pupils from Sierra Leone and Malawi at a special event organised by DFID’s Scottish headquarters.
One hundred and twenty students from schools in Paisley, Hamilton and Glasgow, and 50 more from Sierra Leone and Malawi locked horns on important global issues.
The Scottish children met Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander, who organised a ‘Question Time’ debate, asking questions about how the UK Government was fighting global poverty.
Sierra Leone’s minister of foreign affairs, Zainab Bangura who was with Scottish pupils, gave statement of hope to the Government Technical Secondary School (GTSS) who represented Sierra Leone.
She also answered questions about her country and her role as a minister.
The students also learnt more about how the United Nations operates, the effects of climate change on poverty and development, and DFID’s work in countries that have experienced war and conflict. Via the video conference the pupils were able to learn about there different countries.
GTSS’s Charles Lahai said the conference had educated him immensely. “I now know that Malawi is poor like Sierra Leone and in Scotland every child above five is attending school.”
In a presentation earlier the pupils learnt about the population and wealth distribution of their various countries and the growth of HIV/AIDS in their respective countries.
Malawi has a population of 12 million; Sierra Leone 5 million; and the UK, just over 60 million. On average, people in Malawi live to 42.98 years; in Sierra Leone, 40.58; and in the UK, 78.7.
Half of all people in Malawi live in poverty; in Sierra Leone, it is 70% of the population; in the UK, 17%.
70% of children in Malawi are enrolled in school; 80% in Sierra Leone; and in the UK, 100%. Classes in Malawi average 85 pupils; in Sierra Leone 70 pupils; and in the UK, 18.5 pupils.
66% of Malawians have access to water; 50% of Sierra Leoneans; and 100% of people in the UK. There are almost half a million mobile phones in Malawi; over 100,000 in Sierra Leone; and, in the UK close to 70 million.