The Blantyre Declaration - A shared commitment to social purpose

Updated on 1 August 2022

Agreed in August 2022 by the Vice Chancellors of all six of Malawi's public universities and the Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Dundee.

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The Blantyre Declaration represents their shared commitment of the signatories to delivering against the University's social purpose through a combination of education, research, and community service.

The Declaration started a process for universities to discuss ways that they can enhance their roles as anchor institutions for their communities by strengthening the way that they work in partnership with other academic institutions , their communities, government, business, and civil society.

The founding signatories to the Declaration are establishing a joined Working Group to review examples of good practice of working in equitable partnership to wider benefits to society. The Group will produce a report in early 2023 to inform next steps to implement the commitments of social purpose made in the Declaration.

  1. We the leaders of our Universities have come together to discuss ways that we can enhance our role as anchor institutions for our communities and to commit to a process of strengthening the way that we work in partnership.
  2. We believe that our universities have a distinctive social purpose that is delivered through the combination of education, research, enterprise and community service.
  3. Our institutions deliver their social purpose by:
    • empowering graduates with the knowledge and skills they need for their future lives
    • delivering research that addresses current global challenges and opportunities, supports sustainable development, and addressing the fundamental human aspiration for greater learning and understanding
    • working with business, government and non governmental organisations to deliver the innovation and entrepreneurship that creates new products, services and crucially jobs.
  4. Our institutions are committed to empower our students and staff through their academic endeavours whilst simultaneously serving our communities (community groups, businesses, government, civil society) local, nationally and globally.
  5. We recognise that universities increasingly need to work in partnership with others in order to deliver their social purpose. Those partnerships will include working with other academic institutions, but also with governments, businesses and civil society. An effective modern university will have a range of partnerships than will include local, national and global partners.
  6. We want to build more productive, sustainable and equitable long-term partnerships that deliver against our social purpose, responding to the needs and opportunities identified through working together and with our wider communities.
  7. Our partnerships need to become more symmetrical, utilising the strengths of each partner to respond to the priorities, needs and opportunities in the nations and communities where we are located. Where partnerships are international the way we work will recognise and build upon wider relationships between nations.
  8. We are committed to enhancing the delivering of our social purpose by building more equitable future partnerships. Our initial ambitions for more equitable partnership include:
    • We will co-identify priorities and then co-design and co-deliver agreed projects.
    • We will share the benefits of our work equitably
    • We will create opportunities for our staff and students to contribute to and participate in partnership-based activities.
    • We will adopt a culture of openness to learning from others.
    • We will adopt systems and processes that benefit from best practice in our sector whilst also meeting any legal or contractual requirements.
    • We will provide opportunities for the professional development of our students and staff, as well as sharing professional development opportunities between partner institutions.
    • We will work in ways that promote equality, diversity and inclusion.
  9. Our institutions already work with networks of other institutions, including government, businesses, civil society, funders, service providers and user communities in order to deliver our social purpose, through education, research and engagement. We will seek to engage members of these broader networks in our exploratory discussions arising from this declaration and to learn from their own approaches to building effective partnerships and other ways of collaborative working.
  10. We will convene a working group of staff and student representatives from the signatories to the declaration and other partners and networks who share our vision on building more Equitable Higher Education and Research Partnerships. This group will be asked to consider next steps and will review examples of good practice within our institutions as well as looking more widely within the higher education and research sectors as well as the public, private and development sectors and from civil society. The group will work to produce a report summarising their findings and recommendations within six months. This report will inform our next steps
Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS)


Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR)


Malawi University of Business and Applied Science (MUBAS)


Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST)


Mzuzu University (MZUNI)


University of Dundee


University of Malawi (UNIMA)


Corporate information category University governance