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Annette MacLeod’s group was awarded funding by Wellcome-ScotPEN to take their successful Parasite Street Science Project to Malawi in October 2022 to work in areas affected by African sleeping sickness, using street theatre as a route to engaging the public with their research.

The team travelled to Rumphi and Nkhotakota to work with a group of health promotion officers, medical staff, two professional performers from VOICES Malawi and four community participants who had previously been affected by African sleeping sickness.  Our newly-developed Talk About Tsetses performance was created in rehearsals in Rumphi and toured to local villages, football and netball bonanazas and marketplaces in Rumphi and Nkhotakota over a period of two weeks.

We collaborated with dance troupes Lugo Cultural Team in Rumphi and Chiusi Kanada Dance Group and the Gule Wamkulu dancers in Nkhotakota, whose energy and skill attracted fantastic crowds.

Our activities were covered by local radio stations in Malawi and the programmes created will be made available to radio listening clubs to engage audiences in Q&A sessions and to continue the conversation about African Trypanosomiasis.

We worked with final year Pharmacology BSc (Hons) student at University of Glasgow, Tiarna Meehan, who produced a stop motion animation as part of her project:

The UK team were overwhelmed by the warm welcome and support we received in Malawi and would like to thank the Malawi team for the opportunity to work with them on this project.  We hope that this work will lead to more opportunities to work together on projects of this nature in the future.


A collaboration between the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology, University of Glasgow School of Life Sciences, Surge, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, and Malawi VOICES.

With thanks to our funders:  ScotPEN-Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Grant, Microbiologiy Society Education and Outreach Grant, MVLS Engagement with Research Fund, University of Glasgow Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology, Creative Scotland.


Thank you to the Directorates of Health and Social Services for Nkhotakota and Rumphi District Councils, Partick Thistle Football Club, The Scottish Football Supporters Association, Ross Corbett, Glasgow University Football Club and Bo’ness United Community Football Club for their support of our project.


This project is funded by the ScotPEN Wellcome Engagement Award (Wellcome Project Number 217078/Z/19/Z)

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