Classrooms for Malawi are delighted to announce the appointment of our new Chief Executive Officer, Amy Blake.

Since our inception as a charitable organisation in 2012, we have benefited from the hard work and leadership of many volunteers (past and present) who have tirelessly worked to deliver a positive impact for the children of Malawi. In order to continue and grow this amazing organisation, as a board of trustees, we made the decision to appoint a full time member of staff who will lead the organisation in our next exciting chapter of growth and to deliver even more positive impact to the children of Malawi.

The Board of Trustees are delighted to welcome Amy as our new CEO. Over to Amy…

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Over the past 20 years I have worked with a range of different size charities and NGO’s to help develop income streams and to support strategic direction and operational effectiveness. My most recent role was as Director at the International Voluntary Service (IVS) where I spent three years working with a fabulous team of staff and volunteers all committed to providing volunteer placements linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This experience taught me the value of leading an agile, forward thinking team, able to respond quickly to need and in turn, make a lasting difference to those communities that need it most. Prior to IVS I worked with organisations including The British Red Cross, Capability Scotland and UNICEF.
Why did you choose a career in International Development, and why Classrooms for Malawi?
I think International Development is a career that you don’t necessarily chose, it chooses you. Growing up, I was always very interested in global issues (coming from a family of teachers we couldn’t go anywhere without my parents giving us the full brief of every country we visited!) and I was especially drawn toward studying politics at university. During my studies, in the mid 90’s , I took some time to visit West Africa and undertook volunteer work for a charity directly supporting primary school children in The Gambia. I was absolutely overwhelmed by this experience, I witnessed serious poverty, disability, illness and inequality but also communities with drive, determination and a clear belief that a good quality, fair and equal education could lift families out of poverty. I returned with a burning passion to work in International Development and specifically to focus on education as being the route out of poverty. I have been on an amazing journey working alongside, and learning from, some inspirational leaders so when I saw the CEO post at Classrooms for Malawi advertised it felt that this was the position I had been working so hard to reach, a role where I could pursue the goal of promoting education as route out of poverty. I am proud to have been selected as their first CEO and I am so excited to be able to take CFM to the next stage in its growth cycle and to enable many many more children in Malawi to access the education they deserve.
What are you looking forward to most in your new role as Classrooms for Malawi CEO?
I have been nothing but impressed with the work that Classrooms for Malawi has carried out in Malawi and in Scotland with a team of dedicated volunteers, partners and a hugely committed board of trustees. I am really looking forward to getting to know the current partner schools, the volunteer teams and all of those that have been involved in the CFM journey so far. It will be great to drive the 2020 programme forward, we already have many Scottish schools committing to partner with Malawi schools and support a range of building activities, this work will provide access to quality education in a safe and secure environment and we look forward to welcoming more partners on board over the coming months.  I can’t wait to start growing the programme of activities and to look at new and innovative ways to provide education for even more children in Malawi, I believe that through the work of CFM and our partners, the future is bright for education in Malawi.
What makes you tick out of the office?
I am a big fan of anything outdoors, I really enjoy trail running and mountain biking with my dog and am lucky to live quite close by to some great countryside where you can loose yourself (literally) for an hour two. I have even been known to take part in some triathlons and duathlons however open water swimming is definitely not for me. I really love to travel and get to know other countries and cultures, I have three children and find it hugely rewarding to take them to new places and to show them another way of life, hopefully to inspire another generation of advocates for International Development!
Anything you’d like to say to our amazing volunteers and partners?
All I can say at the moment is a huge THANK YOU for everything you have done so far to get CFM to this point – it is an amazing achievement and with your continued support I know we will achieve great things and take the organisation to the next level – there will be no stopping us!