Leaders and representatives of different organizations gathered at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre from the 26th-28th June, 2013 for a ‘Future Search Workshop’ focused on the theme “Co-creating a sustainable future, food secure and environmentally healthy Malawi.Purpose

Future Search is a workshop platform that takes people through an iterative process that helps groups articulate common goals and understandings by looking at the past, present, and future.

The first day of the workshop looked at the past – where we have been as individuals, the nation and the world. Participants thought about notable milestones from three perspectives: personal key experiences that have made them who they are, global or world events that have shaped society and any critical events and milestones. Participants had to think about events that have happened in the past 30 years (i.e. 1980-2010…). The individual timelines were used to tell stories about the experiences people bring into the workshop. The global events were use to tell a story about how the world has changed in the recent past.

The second day was looking at the present (where we are) and the future (what we want). This involved brainstorming the current trends (trends= direction of movement), be it social, economic, technological, political and environmental issues that people believe are shaping their future. Participants said whatever they thought was ideal and the thoughts were written on a flip chart. This was called a mind map. From the mind map, participants discovered how key trends are connected and what people are doing and want to do in the future in relation those trends.

The third and final day was about finding common grounds and action (how we get there). Participants identified what they are doing in their respective workplace and what they are proud about and sorry about. They also identified current notable policies, programs and structures that exist in the country that could help improve livelihood in the country, how stakeholders interact in the country and how progress can be sustained. They also visualized Malawi in the next 50 years and made action plans toward the desired end.Participants in a group photo

It was an eye opening workshop and a platform for mutual understanding.

“A big ‘Thank You’ needs to go to some key people who made this event such a success. First, Chifundo Khokwa (RESCOPE) and Chisomo Kamchacha (Kusamala) for sending out invites and coordinating travel plans for people in Blantyre. Second, Walter Mugove Nyika (RESCOPE), Nelson Moyo (ANAMED), and Eston Mgala (Kusamala) for supporting the idea and moving it forward. Kate Moore for so graciously allowing us to use the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre as our venue. Mark from Land and Lakes Catering who supplied excellent food! And, finally a sincere “thank you” to Masankho Banda, Christophe Horvath, and Clive Wilson (who flew all the way from the UK to attend and facilitate) from Primeast for taking time out of their busy schedules to brainstorm, coordinate, and finally facilitate this event. They did a superb job,” said Molly Cheatum – Kusamala Executive Director and coordinator for the Future Search workshop.

As a way of building on this strong foundation, all the participants have committed to work together towards creating a sustainable future, food secure and environmentally healthy Malawi. The workshop formed a secretariat which shall champion the activities of Future Search-2013 platform.