The term ‘home’ can be an unusual concept for those who live and work away from their immediate family. I often get asked, “Where is ‘home’ now for you, having lived so many years in Africa?” If ‘home’ only refers to where you feel safe and familiar, Malawi is definitely also home for me now. So, travelling back to the UK, my motherland could often seem quite ‘foreign’. However, ‘home’ is much more than just what is most familiar to us; I believe it’s more about who we connect with and how well we connect. That’s why good friends can often become like family, where we can be known and can get to know others. At Links you will often hear us refer to ourselves as the #linksfamily, and we believe this is true through good connections, even with our partners across the world.

My role as Links’ African Region Coordinator was, from the outset, to grow that connection with our Links’ partners in Africa. We want them also to feel like family and develop a stronger, more meaningful connection. With this is mind, it is vital for me to spend time developing the other side of that connection with the Links team in the UK. Most Januarys I come and spend some time in the Links office catching up with staff, learning from the past year together and looking forward into the year ahead.

2019 was a busy year with our partners in Africa, with multiple training-team visits and lots of projects moving towards sustainability and expanding their community impact. 2020 looks like another great year ahead for our current partners in Africa and for new partnerships to be formed. During the UK office time together, it was great to plan some of these training visits and express the current issues facing our partners as they serve their vulnerable and poor communities in, mostly, Malawi and Zambia. I return to Malawi, where I am mainly based, feeling more than ever connected to the #linksfamily.