Saltire Scholar takes on challenge in Malawi

Ewan McInnes blog

Rory Doak, is spending the summer in Malawi to help tackle one of the world’s challenges. As part of Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Saltire Scholar programme Rory is interning with ‘Classrooms for Malawi’ (CfM) to investigate innovative ways to build in Malawi.

Rory, a Civil Engineering student at Edinburgh’s Napier University, will spend the coming weeks working and travelling with the CfM volunteer team in Malawi. He will spend time on site using current building methods to build the 6 new classrooms planned for this summer. During his time in Malawi he will meet local government officials, the forestry commission, universities, architects, contractors, builders, social enterprises and NGO’s to gather their knowledge and experience.

Rory will then return to Scotland to document and present his findings to CfM, The Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures (COCIS), industry experts and academics. These organisations will then examine Rory’s findings to assess whether his recommendations could help to solve major construction problems around the world.

Rory’s internship is funded through both CfM and COCIS and is a legacy of Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Saltire Programme. Andrew Vincent, co-founder of CfM and Robert Hairstans, Head of COCIS met while completing the Saltire Fellowship programme. Recognising the important role it has played in their own careers, they wanted to provide the same opportunity to someone else and therefore chose to collaborate and fund a Saltire Scholar.

Established in 2012 CfM has built and refurbished more than 70 classrooms as well as 10 dorm rooms, teachers homes, kitchens and toilet blocks. CfM only build when they have a government agreement in place to fund a teacher for that classroom. The team works in partnership with local builders and village councils to build sustainable classrooms that are then owned and maintained by the local community.

Rory Doak, Saltire Scholar, said:

“My Saltire internship is an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the world, applying what I’ve learned at Edinburgh Napier University and through the support of COCIS. I’m excited about what can be achieved.”

Andrew Vincent, Saltire Fellow and co-founder of Classrooms for Malawi, said:

“The Saltire Foundation and Entrepreneurial Scotland’s way of thinking has massively influenced what we are doing. We now have two Saltire Fellows (Robert Hairstans and me) and a Saltire Scholar collaborating with industry to come up with a solution to solve not only Malawi’s problems, but similar problems faced by many other countries around the world.”

Sandy Kennedy, Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland and the Saltire Foundation, said:

“This is a fantastic example of the positive reach of Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Saltire programmes and I am proud to see alumni collaborating together to encourage innovation and provide further opportunities for others.

 “We provide students with unique internship opportunities all over the world to encourage a global outlook and to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. It is through these opportunities we support the development of Scotland’s next generation of business leaders and our vision of making Scotland the most entrepreneurial society in the world.”