In 2008 Christine Watson, Manager at Discovery, took part in an International Learning Opportunity with the Welsh Government. The placement was in a rural setting in Siavonga, where Christine worked with several Women’s Groups, teaching them business skills to improve their income generating activities.

group holding banner of Swansea Siavonga Partnership

Christine said,”the hardest part of the experience was coming home – I think that’s when I realised that this had been a life-changing experience and things would never be the same for me…I gave talks on my experience to anyone who would listen, collecting donations of cash and goods to send back to Siavonga.”

In 2010 two things happened. Firstly the International Development Office at Swansea University wanted to explore a potential programme for students. Secondly, the Wales Africa Community Links team provided a structure to follow to set up a community linking project.

Christine and Lindsay Haywood consulted community representatives in Swansea, then returned to Siavonga to do the same consultations there. They formulated a partnership agreement, which was countersigned by the Siavonga District Commissioner and the then Lord Mayor of Swansea.

swansea siavonga group

2014 will mark the fourth year that a group of students from Swansea will be going to Siavonga for a month in the summer. They will be matched with a peer group from the Siavonga Nutrition Group.

The Partnership aims to build relationships across different cultures and maximise income generation through sharing experiences and learning, supporting children through education and making the best use of the environment to improve health through nutrition.