#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!

A SAFER INTERNET FOR ALL

To commemorate #saferinternetday that passed not too long ago (check our socials), we decided to look a little closer into the phenomenon that is the internet and social media to be specific.

The internet and social media have quickly become things that are not that easy to forego. I for one know that social media has become so deeply ingrained into my daily life and i most certainly would not even be able to write this blog if we didn’t have internet and social media in the world and I suppose you all wouldn’t be able to read it either. As with all things, the internet has certain rules of thumb that one ought to follow in order to make the net a safer and better place for everyone. Due to the fact that RN offers extra IT lessons to all the kids on the sponsorship program, it is even more pertinent for us to be aware and raise awareness on issues pertaining to internet safety. Cyber bullying as well as a plethora of other issues and dangers can be experienced by all at one point or another if one is not careful or sufficiently aware of the dangers lurking in the web.

Students in the Resource Center where ICT lessons are held

We scoured through tons of literature on this topic and came up with the TOP 4 Golden rules for internet safety.
1. LIVE THE GOLDEN RULE. I will act with empathy, compassion and kindness in every interaction, and treat everyone I connect with online with dignity and respect.
2. RESPECT DIFFERENCES. I will appreciate cultural differences and honor diverse perspectives. When I disagree, I will engage thoughtfully and avoid name calling and personal attacks.
3. PAUSE BEFORE REPLYING. I will pause and think before responding to things I disagree with. I will not post or send anything that could hurt someone else, damage someone’s reputation or threaten my safety or the safety of others.
4. STAND UP FOR MYSELF AND OTHERS. I will tell someone if I feel unsafe, offer support to those who are targets of online abuse or cruelty, report activity that threatens anyone’s safety, and preserve evidence of inappropriate or unsafe behavior.

We sure hope the above tips help you when navigating through these social media streets but feel free to do a little research of your own because after all, you can never have too much information about safety. Also if you or anyone you know is interested on learning more about cyber bullying or other forms of bullying and abuse, and what you can do to help, check out stompoutbullying.org. That’s it for this week’s blog post, don’t forget to follow us on our various social platforms linked below 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/RNZambia/
https://twitter.com/response_netwrk
https://www.instagram.com/response.network/

A LITTLE HELP GOES A LONG WAY

Meet Regina Makai. Regina is currently on our sponsorship program, being supported by Delta Kappa Gamma Society and pursuing a Junior Secondary Teaching Diploma, majoring in English and Physical Education. With a ready smile for anyone who approaches her and a warm aura that puts all at ease, one would never guess the arduous road this young lady has had to traverse.

Abandoned by her father, leaving her mother to fend for herself and resulting in Regina being moved from home to home across the country, being cared for by relatives. This instilled in Regina a strong sense of resilience and the value of education. She is the fourth child and the only girl in the family and resides in a modest home with her mother and some of her siblings who have not yet wed.

Regina and her mother packaging the goods they sell in their ‘ka ntemba’

To make ends meet, Regina’s mother has had several temp jobs here and there and currently runs a small informal shop called a ‘ka ntemba’ where they sell tomatoes, mealie meal, fish, and charcoal among other things. On a regular day, Regina will wake up at around 6 a.m to assist her mother in some household chores before starting off for school where she spends the day until half past 6. Upon returning home, she will once again help her mother with house chores and packaging products for their shop.

The informal shop/’ka ntemba’ where they sell various items

When asked how she feels about the support she has been given, Regina had this to say, “the sponsorship I have received means a lot to me. I wouldn’t be where I am without it and I probably would have gotten into other vices such as beer drinking like some of my peers”. Her mother added that she thanks God for Delta Kappa Gamma and Response Network as there is no way she would have managed to pay for her child’s education. She said that she prays her sponsors and RN will continue to grow and carry on the good work they do for people.

If you or anyone you know would like to sponsor a child and help give them the chance at a better future, contact us at mail@responsenetwork.org.

LET’S TALK ICT

Computer Literacy has steadily been moving away from being a luxury into being a necessity. With the technology age not going anywhere, and indeed intensifying as the years go by, the need to be more than a little conversant in computers is becoming more and more important.

According to an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) survey carried out in 2018, only 6.8 percent of individuals across the country reported to know how to use a computer. The majority of individuals across the country had basic computer skills and mainly undertook basic activities on the computer. The proportion of individuals across the country with relatively more advanced ICT skills was low. The distribution of individuals according to their se based on the type of ICT skills revealed that the majority of individuals with the identified skills were mainly male. Due to this, and also the glaring lack of equipment in schools, leading to children being computer illiterate and failing or dropping ICT, computer lessons began to be held at the Resource Center located at our offices for the girls and now boys on the sponsorship program. The children have a trained ICT teacher to help them navigate the syllabus and we are proud that most, if not all the students have drastically improved in the subject at school.

The ICT teacher and RN staffer, Jocyline has done a great job of motivating the students to regularly attend the lessons and the numbers keep improving every term. Our partners at Academic Work supported us with the Resource Center and the computers and laptops that are used for these lessons, however with the growing number of students attending lessons, more equipment would make things so much better for the students to really be able to get as much out of these lessons as possible. If you or anyone you know would like to add some support to this initiative, feel free to contact us and don’t forget to follow our social media for more updates!

Self-Help is the best Help

As you can probably ascertain from our slogan, RN believes in empowering communities with knowledge in order for them to be able to create sustainable income generating activities. In a bid to encourage communities to sustain the activities that they start up through our sensitization, it is important to give them all the necessary knowledge and tons of encouragement and motivation to show them that they are more than capable of starting and running clubs that not only help them earn a livelihood, but also clubs that aid the community and make it a better and cohesive environment for all to live.

Community Schools started and wares made by various clubs

Some of the self-help activities that the communities carry out include organic vegetable gardening, starting up of community schools, women’s clubs where they make various items ranging from brooms to clothes, animal rearing, beekeeping and many other activities.

Women’s clubs, Organic Vegetable Farming, Goat Rearing and Beekeeping

As much as community members and clubs try to carry out their activities, circumstances beyond their control can deter their progress. Southern Province and Zambia at large have been experiencing unprecedented soaring temperatures and a drought that just would not quit. Though some rain has been received this year, it hasn’t been nearly enough to offset the effects of the drought. Smaller rivers, lakes and dams in the rural areas are quite dry and villagers have to dig in the river to get to the underground water. Gardens are also not thriving as they are supposed to because of this. However, people are nothing if not resilient and though times may get tough, they are managing to come up with some innovative ways to keep their heads above water, no pun intended.

Water is scarce leading to digging in river beds and struggling gardens

That’s it for this week’s blog, if you read to the end, twalumba kapati (thank you very much) and catch a fresh blog post next week! Too long of a wait? Follow us on our socials: Facebook- Response Network ; Instagram- response.network ; Twitter- response_netwrk

2020 Enrollment Roll-Out

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day but teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime. This sentiment can be applied to many facets of life and can also be applied to education. If a child does not go to school, he/she becomes heavily dependent on their parent or guardian for essentially their whole lives. Whereas if a child is given their basic human right of education, they are able to morph into well-adjusted individuals who are able to not only creating a better future for themselves but for their families as well.

Response Network currently has 611 children enrolled on our sponsorship program. This is a program where vulnerable (single or double orphans) children are provided with school fees and other school requirements such as books, bags, uniforms, etc. in order for them to access education that they may not have otherwise been able to access without RN and our partner Academic Work of Sweden as well as several other generous individuals who sponsor a child or two.

Parents/Guardians of kids going into first grade have been coming through to the office to apply for sponsorship. After the application process, a designated team conducts home visitations to assess whether the candidate meets the criteria for sponsorship. These home assessments are currently being conducted. Stay tuned to our social media platforms for more updates!

Self-Help Activities Change The Face of Jokwe Community

Jokwe is a name of the School with an enrollment of more than 250 pupils and it acts as a central place for 8 villages in Chief Simwatachela Chiefdom of Zimba district. It is about 75 Kilometers from Kalomo town, along the road going to Mapatizya, an Amethyst mining area in the district.

Getting ready for market day

The first permanent structure for the School was a 1 by 1 and office Classroom block by Response Network in 2007. This community had very little developmental activity before the intervention by the Organization. Later in 2017, the organization went back and carried out a full program in the area, which led to starting up of various self-help activities by the community and the extension of the School to have 1 by 3-classroom block and a teacher’s house. This time it is a registered School under government office of the DEBS. What started as a “by-the-way thing” among the community members of Jokwe after Response Network held their Sensitization meetings two years ago has now changed the appearance of the community. Jokwe was among the target communities in 2017, when Response Network went round sensitizing communities on self-help initiatives. The community members started various activities just to try out the knowledge they got during meetings. As they continued, they trained how they can make money from the activities they were doing and improve the quality. The clubs members realized that, since they started engaging in various income generating activities, their lives have improved and they can now have money to pay for their children in school and even buy food and other household necessities. They now faced challenge of how to sell their products within a short time so that they could continue making money to continue supporting their families especially during the drought period of 2019. They idea of mobilizing themselves (an idea they got after seeing the exhibition of activities held at Jokwe where many clubs from surrounding area participated) and build a market where all clubs would come and sell their products was supported.

Farming activities at Jokwe

They asked for land by the roadside from the headman, where even vehicles to town pass so that many people can easily access their goods and it was given. This time, the market has attracted many people who come to buy and even spend time during their leisure, as they do not have a nearby shopping place. The market is run by 8 clubs who have already moved to the sight and doing their business although Jokwe has 12 clubs that are active. Four have not yet moved to the market. The community is extending invitation to people who can bring some business and other structures hoping to develop their area. The hosting head-person is very happy about the turn of events in her area and appreciates the initiative and education given to her community. Everyone is now busy finding ways to support their family. The women are overjoyed and feel motivated because now they can earn their own money, and control over unlike before. They feel more empowered to add their voices in making decisions at family level and community.