Malcolm Logistics Divisional Managing Director, Jim Haldane, reflects on his recent visit to Zambia with our charity partner Transaid:

Day 1 

The visiting group set off on a 7-hour car journey to Serenje district, in rural Zambia. We were driven mainly by team members from the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) and the MAMaZ against Malaria project (MAMaZ), who partner with Transaid to remove barriers in accessing essential health services, with a particular focus on maternal health and malaria. Upon arrival in Serenje, we were greeted by song and dance from the local people, including community health workers and volunteers - their appreciation for Transaid and partners was overwhelming and their stories about how Transaid's work has literally saved lives, was truly humbling. 

We witnessed the importance of bicycle ambulances that are used to transport pregnant women and people with malaria / other health conditions, to health facilities. For some, the nearest facility could be a significant distance away, with the bicycle ambulance being operated by unpaid volunteer ETS (Emergency Transport System) riders on uneven and tricky off-road surfaces, day or night, and in all weather conditions - the community spirit demonstrated by the ETS riders was remarkable. 

We also visited a health centre that services many districts - a small out-building that only has 3 beds, a locked medicines cupboard and minimal staff. Despite the lack of facilities, which we are told is an improvement on what was there before, the health workers strive to do their best and the community is so thankful for their support. 

Day 2 

We travelled from Serenje to Chitambo district - again met with song, dance, and inspiring community energy. Here, we saw some "sketches" (role plays) and songs that focused on teaching the community how to recognise symptoms of malaria, what action to take and to make use of the bicycle ambulance if needed. We are told that malaria statistics have been notoriously high in this district but due to ongoing support, funding and raising awareness, the statistics are declining, albeit more still needs to be done. 

Having had the honour of meeting the only three Doctors that cover the various and vastly spread districts, who all said that more bicycle ambulances were desperately needed, we know the difference that the eight new bicycle ambulances will make that we transported as part of our convoy. The Transaid and MAMaZ teams are now distributing them in the areas most needed. 

Day 3 

We visited the ITC where students are trained to become drivers of HGVs, buses and motorcycles. I was delighted to see many of the ITC colleagues proudly wearing Malcolm polo shirts, previously donated by us.

One of my key memories from this trip will be speaking to an ITC Trainer, Francis, who shook my hand and said, "Thank you, you don't know how many families you have helped. We are so grateful." He was referring to the three HGVs previously donated by Malcolm Logistics that are used daily to train students and help to: create jobs, provide stability / security for families, improve road safety and reduce road related injury. I was immensely proud to share on behalf of Andrew Malcolm, a commitment to donate more HGVs in the next 18 months and to confirm our plan to send a Scotland based Trainer to the ITC to support with training and processes in late 2024. There is currently a backlog of 600 students waiting to be trained by the ITC, so the ongoing support by Transaid's partners is essential. 


The experience overall was emotional, humbling and eye-opening and I am grateful for the opportunity. I cannot describe the overwhelming kindness and appreciation demonstrated by the communities I visited who have so little, and the inspiring people I met - medical professionals, community volunteers, ITC colleagues and students in training, all doing amazing work to improve lives. There is no substitute for having seen first-hand the challenging and impactful work of Transaid and their UK partnerships. I know that my lasting memories will certainly drive me to continue our support and promote awareness for a very worthy cause.