Ian Dunn gives insight into SCIAF's work

Laurie, a pupil at Holyrood Secondary School, is taking part in the Caritas Award. This week, she has been serving the national Catholic Church by being part of the SCIAF team.  The Caritas Award encourages young people to use their gifts to spread God's love ('Caritas') in their communities throughout their faith journey. Laurie put her journalistic skills to good use and interviewed Communications Officer Ian Dunn to get insight into his recent trip to Malawi.

During my work experience at SCIAF, I was given the opportunity to interview Ian Dunn, a communications officer for the charity who works on the climate change projects in Malawi. Ian travelled to Malawi for a week with photographer Colin Hattersley to collect material about the fear over the future of Malawi due to climate change.

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This was Ian’s third time in Malawi in the time he has been working at SCIAF. Ian said, “It has been quite good to see how the projects have been going along”. During his short trip Ian was extremely busy interviewing students from Malawi who were climate change activists, speaking about how the future may be in danger due to climate change. Ian told me, “it’s good to give these people a bit of support and hope.” Ian also spent his time speaking to citizens in Malawi and collecting case studies on the people affected by the current issue and their stories.

When asking Ian what he had achieved during his time in Malawi with the project, besides the obvious answer of ‘collecting material’ Ian went on to humorously add “I hope they have said useful things as I don’t know - I don’t speak Chichewa very well”.

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When speaking to Ian he made it very clear that he thoroughly enjoyed his week in the beautiful country, going into detail about his personal connection to Africa as he was born in Zambia. He also had the sheer excitement of seeing a real life crocodile in its natural habitat! When asked about the highlight of his trip Ian went on to talk about a woman he had met in one of the local communities, “She was really good, a great talker and happy to be on camera, clearly just a very charismatic character. She was just someone who had a lot to give and maybe hadn’t had the chance to”.

When reflecting back on his trip, Ian spoke very highly of all the people he had worked with and the overall experience, He told me he thought Malawi was “a very interesting country with interesting people”. He even went on to secretly admit his fascination with the country could possibly have something to do with him being ‘nosey’. Ian continued to say, “It’s good to go out there and see that the stuff that you’re doing back here is making a difference and genuinely improving people’s lives. There are people now a lot better off because of the work that’s being done so that does kind of recharge the batteries a bit.”

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I concluded my interview by asking Ian if his expectations prior to the trip were met. He answered, “I had been to some similar places before so I thought I had quite a good grasp of what it was going to be like. However, in some places I was impressed with how much further along the project was in comparison to what I thought it would be. I think I was impressed some things were better than expected however some were worse.”

According to Ian, short film he is working about the work in Malawi will hopefully be out by December of this year. Primarily the film will be shown in meetings, conferences and social events but it will also be broadcasted on social media platforms. I’m sure it will be great!