The Community School Run-Down

As you can probaby tell by our slogan of self-help faciliation, our goal is to equip people with the knowledge and motivate them to start up their own activities that they can all benefit from as a community. Here’s how this works in terms of a community school. Oftentimes and its pretty common knowledge by now that children have to walk very long distances in order to reach schools and this can be very tiring for the child. Imagine having to walk over 10km a day, just to sit and learn all day and then trek back home. Doesn’t sound too great does it? Our goal is to help make things a little easier for these children, because learning can be challenging on its own.

Areas and communities that have this challenge, will be given the opportunity to apply to our office and will be required to have a ‘show of commitment’ in the form of upfront building materials. After approval has been gained and upfront materials have been sufficiently gathered, the school is then supported with construction materials for either a classroom, a classroom extension or a staff house. An example of some of the construction materials which are given can be seen in the above pictures that depict the materials that were delivered recently to Namsute Community School. (Read more about this on our social media pages).

SPORT: A GATEWAY TO A BETTER LIFE

Kebby Siakachela

Kebby Siakachela is a coach for Chambya Football and Netball club. Chambya FC was born from Luyaba Football team which had over 56 players. The number of players was obviously too high and consequently, a lot of the players couldn’t get the shine they deserved and the less skilled workers couldn’t get the coaching they needed. As a result, Kebby and a few like-minded players decided to start up a new team that would give chance to everyone despite of the potential that they had. Chambya team started with 15 male players in 2019 , and in a bid for inclusion, 10 women joined later on as well which enabled the team to have a netball division as well. As of now the team is comprised of 25 committed young men and Women.

Income Generating Activities can be seen as the initiation phase in the progression to small business development. It is difficult to make the transition from being unemployed and lacking in skills to being self-employed and capable of managing a business operation. Chambya football/Netball Club, through the knowledge shared by RN on clubs starting IGAs for them to be self-reliant, started by donating K1 whenever they would gather for trainings. When they had amassed K150, they bought one goat and also started organic gardening. The team currently has a total of 13 goats and alongside the garden they are running. They sell their produce in the market at Luyaba center and thereafter are able to buy sport equipment. Your past and your circumstances do not define you, and people like Kebby teach us that every day.

The teams’ organic vegetable garden

KICK OUT COVID-19

Kick-Out COVID-19 is a community and food support program which was started with the aim of assisting the Government in their efforts to flatten the curve and help vulnerable communities. It is a consortium of various sports, entertainment organizations and individuals led by Sport in Action with Special Olympic Zambia and is funded by the East London University.

On June 5th, 2020, Respone Network distributed hampers consisting of 25kg of mealie meal, 1kg of sugar, 750ml of cooking oil, 1 mask, 1 hand wash, 1kg of salt and 5kg of beans. The donations targeted some of the families in compounds in Livingstone, namely, Ngwenya, Nakatindi, Indeco and Libala.

Before the hampers were handed over to the families, they were sensitized on how to prevent contracting the virus by washing hands regularly, avoiding touching their faces, wearing masks in public and avoiding crowded places.

EDUCATION FOR THE WIN: One young woman’s journey to a better life

Mutinta with some RN staff after delivering the face masks

In case you were about as baffled reading this week’s title as I was coming up with it, allow me to explain. In most cases, save a few, education has been the key to people being able to better themselves and to be able to provide for themselves and possibly their families as well. In a country where salaries are low and the standard of living is high, many people find themselves unable to drag themselves out of the generational poverty slump. What I’m trying to say, albeit in a rambling way, is that we pride ourselves in being able to contribute to being able to change someone’s life through the provision of sponsorship, which has of course been made possible by our amazing partners and supporters.

As I’m sure you know by now, RN provides sponsorship for children from first to 12th Grade. We also run a skills training sponsorship program where the girls are supported to undergo training in a practical skill such as catering, tailoring, power electrical, etc. Today, we meet a product of the skills training program, Mutinta Mwafulirwa. You may have seen her on our social media when we did a quick interview with her not too long ago. Mutinta, who is now 25 years of age, was on the sponsorship program till she completed the 12th Grade and then went on to pursue tailoring at the Youth Community Training Center (YCTC) and has also completed her degree in Nursing! A truly phenomenal young lady. Tinta as she is fondly referred to, through the empowerment she received in tailoring, started a small business where she sews clothes, etc. for clients. As with all businesses, her business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a way of supporting her, we ordered some reusable face masks from her for our staff. She has also been contracted to sew uniforms for children under the sponsorship program. Mutinta was able to take the education and skill she was gifted to earn herself a living and a sustainable one at that. The epitome of the saying ‘give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime’. Way to go Mutinta!

So you see, providing someone with education, something so many people take for granted, can lead to unparalled positive effects in someone’s life. Want to be a supporter? Contact mail@responsenetwork.org and find out how. Also to support this young lady and her business, DM us for contact details. #staysafe

ALL HANDS ON DECK

In our last blog post, we filled you in on the village sensitizations we held in a few villages to raise awareness among our volunteers regarding COVID-19. It was really important to us to conduct these sensitizations as safely as possible and also as quickly as possible so that the volunteers could return to their respective villages and sensitize their communities as well. A lot of people in rural areas were walking around with the dangerous misconception that the pandemic would not affect them as it was just a ‘town disease’ or ‘for white people’, therefore we had to act quickly to equip them with accurate facts in order to keep them safe. Knowledge is power after all.

Masks and hand washing buckets ready for distribution

After this phase of sensitizations, we realized that there was a need to further aid the fight against COVID-19 in Livingstone. We came up with the idea of distributing reusable masks to parents and guardians of some of the children under the sponsorship program as they put themselves at risk every day to venture out and try to make a living for their dependents. We commissioned some alumni of the sponsorship program who had been under the skills training program studying tailoring, to make these masks that we then handed out on Friday, May 24th. 300 Masks were distributed safely at Ngwenya, Nakatindi, Mwandi and Libuyu Primary Schools. Before guardians were given masks, they were sensitized on COVID-19 and also on how to effectively sanitize their masks.

Media briefing at the office before distribution

The distribution was successful though we could not reach out to everyone, those who received were very thankful for masks and those who missed out are eager for the next round of distributions. In our own small way, we are attempting to find ways to help out and aid in the fight against this terrible pandemic. If you’re interested in finding out how you too can help us help the fight against COVID-19, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on any of our social media platforms or email mail@responsenetwork.org. #stayhome #staysafe #maskup

THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

I think we can all agree at this point that the year 2020 is a complete wash. One never would have imagined that things would take such a horrible turn so quickly. We entered the year optimistic about what the new year would bring and for the rug to be pulled out from under everyone’s feet so rapidly is beyond unnerving. The number of cases globally and nationally are rising at an alarming rate and what many thought was a small viral outbreak, and in some cases, just a hoax, has quickly come to be the number one topic discussed by everyone.

As of today, April 17th, there have been a total of 48 cases in Zambia, with 30 having recovered and 16 active cases remaining. The effects of the virus are truly being felt as the economy has begun to suffer. Livingstone, where our offices are located, is known for being the tourist capital of Zambia and most businesses rely heavily on the large tourist presence we usually have, but due to travel being restricted and mostly all visitors having returned to their respective countries, businesses have had to shut down or scale back. A lot of hotels, lodges and guest houses have had to let their staff go and close down as they could not keep up with the running costs without their clients. Restaurants and other hospitality related establishments are also facing major challenges as their income has drastically reduced due to people not being able to patronize them.

As can be seen in the photo above, there have been quite a number of people recovering but the numbers are still alarming. In response to the current situation, RN has invested K8,000.00 in the fight against COVID-19 through the distribution of handwashing buckets, soap, spirit and glycerin (to be used to make hand sanitizer) and some items of food. The items were distributed in some of the communities in our working areas after our volunteers were sensitized on how best to prevent COVID-19 and the topics they should cover when sensitizing their fellow community members. This is not a battle that can be won in a day and we all need to pool our resources to help contain this pandemic. Contact us to see how best you can be a part of the solution too. Check out our social media platforms to follow our updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community members being sensitized on how to wash hands

#quarantinelife

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find something peppy and upbeat to write about during times such as these. I think none of us has ever seen a virus just escalating at the magnitude that COVID-19 has.

What started as just a rumored or small and contained outbreak in Wuhan, China has led to countless people’s lives being affected. The global cases have are rising at an exponential rate and we are all basically living in fear. The cases as at this today, March 30th, have reached nearly 800, 000 total and deaths have totaled at 37,840.

At RN we’ve taken as many measures we can at this time, sadly our country’s economic status does not allow for citizens to be able to quarantine at home 24/7 as they are in countries such as the United States, therefore it does pose some risk traversing to and from work a day but we are taking care to keep ourselves and our surroundings sanitary at all times, avoiding unnecessary movements and only working half day at the office and the rest of the day, working from home.

It’s quite scary moving about and not knowing where the virus may be lurking or if and when you can be hit by it, moreover when you’re exposed to other people coming from all over Zambia and abroad as well. We’ll continue to lift everyone around the world in prayer and hope for a vaccine to be pushed out as soon as possible. Thank you to all health workers and others on the front lines putting themselves at risk every day for the greater good. You are appreciated more than you know. For regular updates follow @bbc and @who for factual updates on COVID-19. Until next week, stay safe, stay sane, sanitize, self-isolate.

LIGHTS. CAMERA. INTERVIEW.

An interview can be a nerve-wracking thing in any circumstance but when we’re talking about a possible once in a lifetime opportunity, the pressure surely amps up a notch.

We recently held interviews for a program run here at RN called the Youth Sport Exchange Program or YSEP as it is commonly referred to as. The program entails a stated number of volunteers being sent to a different country for a 10 month period. We previously reported about our YSEP volunteers to Norway and Malawi Moses and Patience, who have been fitting in quite well and our Norwegian volunteers to Zambia Daniella and Linn-Kristine were doing so well, sadly due to the dire health situation all over the globe, they will be returning to Norway shortly.

However, the show must in the meantime go on and we invited six hopefuls for interviews in order to select one qualified individual who will be sent on the exchange program to Malawi! For a lot of people in Zambia, the possibility of travel inside the country is a huge deal, so what more being able to travel abroad or overseas? We met the possible candidates for the exchange and after a somewhat grueling process where the selection committee had individual interviews with the candidates followed by group practical/demonstration session, one person was selected to represent RN, their community and Zambia when the time comes. We’ll introduce him to all of you in due time. Of course, all this hinges upon the guidelines and restrictions that might be in place at that time due to COVID-19. We’ll keep our prayer hats on that a solution is found sooner rather than later. This post strayed away from the initial headline quite a bit, but it had to done. That being said, stay safe and stay healthy everyone!

Candidates during the practical session

DEPENDENT NO MORE: FROM WIFE TO BREADWINNER

Today’s blog post finds us in Nampongo village which is about 60km from Livingstone. Nampongo is a hub of activities and the community members have really taken to RN’s self-help philosophy. It is imperative to us, that communities are able to gain the knowledge they are given by our facilitators and utilize said knowledge to start up their own income generating activities that can be sustained, using locally available resources and manpower.

The self-help concept could really be seen to have taken effect during a mini-meeting held on Tuesday, March 3rd, where community members testified to the absolute usefulness and pertinence of RN and self-help. The trip was made with a special visitor to RN, Roger Hansen and our good friends in media, ZNBC TV. The members, especially women passionately testified that their lives have been greatly improved due to learning about self-help groups and the save and borrow method. To explain the method in simple terms, a group of people come together to form a group and decide on how much money to ‘bank’ and how frequently. Once a decent amount has been saved, group members can then begin to borrow at an agreed interest rate. Some members said that they have already saved up to K5000 which is an amazing accomplishment. They added that the self-help groups and like activities have really given them a sense of pride and joked that now it’s their husbands who come to ask them for a bit of pocket money and can now even consider themselves breadwinners as well.

It’s always amazing to hear about such heartwarming stories and to actually see how people’s lives have been changed, simply with knowledge and it didn’t hurt that people were able to tell their change stories and be captured by the media, which will hopefully reach more eyes and ears and help more people improve their lives.

Check out more pictures and video from the visits on our social pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Until next week!

DEPENDENT NO MORE: FROM WIFE TO BREADWINNER

Today’s blog post finds us in Nampongo village which is about 60km from Livingstone. Nampongo is a hub of activities and the community members have really taken to RN’s self-help philosophy. It is imperative to us, that communities are able to gain the knowledge they are given by our facilitators and utilize said knowledge to start up their own income generating activities that can be sustained, using locally available resources and manpower.

The self-help concept could really be seen to have taken effect during a mini-meeting held on Tuesday, March 3rd, where community members testified to the absolute usefulness and pertinence of RN and self-help. The trip was made with a special visitor to RN, Roger Hansen and our good friends in media, ZNBC TV. The members, especially women passionately testified that their lives have been greatly improved due to learning about self-help groups and the save and borrow method. To explain the method in simple terms, a group of people come together to form a group and decide on how much money to ‘bank’ and how frequently. Once a decent amount has been saved, group members can then begin to borrow at an agreed interest rate. Some members said that they have already saved up to K5000 which is an amazing accomplishment. They added that the self-help groups and like activities have really given them a sense of pride and joked that now it’s their husbands who come to ask them for a bit of pocket money and can now even consider themselves breadwinners as well.

SHG club members speaking on how their lives have improved

It’s always amazing to hear about such heartwarming stories and to actually see how people’s lives have been changed, simply with knowledge and it didn’t hurt that people were able to tell their change stories and be captured by the media, which will hopefully reach more eyes and ears and help more people improve their lives.

Check out more pictures and video from the visits on our social pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Until next week!