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.

ACADEMIC WORK VISIT IN PICTURE

Check out the gallery below from our partner organization, Academic Work’s recent visit to Zambia where we went into the rural areas of Southern Province to the villages of Chinkonzya and Mabwa and the barbeque with the sponsorship girls that they so generously support through their #onepercent movement!

Just a little bit of HOPE

As most of us know by now, RN in collaboration with SMISO Tromso has been running an exchange program called HOPE, which is an acronym for Hope, Opportunity, Participation, Empowerment. Two participants from Zambia are sent to work at RN and two Zambian participants are sent to Norway.

The idea being to exchange knowledge on sexual abuse and incest between Norway and Zambia. Our two Norwegian participants, whom you may have already met via this blog and also social media, Preciosa Luras and Amy Andersen conduct lectures on sexual abuse and incest in selected schools around Livingstone. I recently accompanied them to Maramba Primary School where they had a meeting with senior teaching staff where they discussed their results, findings, and experiences while running the program in the school.

The key areas they aimed to target are awareness and prevention. When it comes to awareness, the aim was to find out how conversant the students are in issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and incest and prevention looked at among other things, whether or not the school had an obvious reporting system for these types of cases.

GBV, incest and related issues are very important and schools and communities need to work hand in hand in conjunction with organizations, not just RN, but organizations in general to spread awareness and develop systems and processes that will help protect our children and safeguard them in all ways. This task will not be an easy one, but as Amy said, we never stop learning, and learning new ways and improving upon existing systems and relationships will go a long way in curbing this scourge. For more on the HOPE program, follow HOPE on Facebook:
HOPE- Hope, Opportunity, Participation and Empowerment and Instagram:
@hopenorzam

Amy and Preciosa presenting their findings to staff at Ngwenya Primary School

EXHIBITION DAY

Who doesn’t love a good exhibition or fair or pop up market. Knowing me, I wouldn’t miss the opening of an envelope at this point. So when the Community Education Program (CEP) team told me that they would be heading out to not one, but two exhibitions, I just had to tag along.

Exhibitions were held in the villages of Jokwe and Mafumba where RN has been running various activities. We arrived in Jokwe to much fanfare and a warm reception from the participating clubs, some having covered wide distances to be able to showcase their wares at the exhibition. The exhibition in Jokwe was held at a sporting field, nearby a school that is being supported by Academic Work of Sweden.

The exhibitions took place on August 29th and 30th under the theme “Resistance through self-help initiatives”. The meaning and symbolism behind this theme is that in these tough economic times in Zambia and with the challenge of lack of rainfall, how have these clubs and how do they build somewhat of a resistance to all these seemingly insurmountable challenges. How do they adapt their self-driven self-help activities to the current reality they are facing. There were numerous and varied self-help activities carried out by the groups and clubs, including but not limited to farming activities, skills based activities, i.e. carpentry, basket weaving, place mats, floor mats, reed mats (traditionally called museme (sing.) or miseme (pl.), pottery, bricks, clothing items, grass brooms, etc. Other groups showcased other edible goods such as wild fruits, traditional cakes and homemade beverages.

The groups were judged in several categories, including creativity & innovation, product display & neatness, interpretation of the self-help concept and confidence. The women and gentlemen belonging to the winning groups were beyond thrilled and even performed celebratory dances as they walked up to claim their well-earned prizes which ranged from 50 to 300 Zambian Kwacha.

All in all, the exhibitions were a success and everyone seemed pretty happy with how it went. Some of the winning clubs actually received drip kits which will surely ease their burden when it comes to tending their crops. More on this later though.

For pics and video on this and more, follow us on insta @response.network, twitter @response_netwrk and like us on facebook at response network.

FIRE SAFETY

Fire safety is an essential topic and it is imperative that one know what to do in case of a fire. You know the old saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, better to know something and not need to use that knowledge than not to have that knowledge and actually need it.

With the extent of know-how a lot of us have when it comes to fire safety, if a fire of any classification did break out, I’m sure a whole lot of us would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. We were fortunate enough to have fire experts, Lexka Fire Equipment & Services Ltd, who are situated in Livingstone’s 217 area, along Mosi-Oa-Tunya Road, visit our office for a crash course on fire safety procedures. First off FIRE is actually an acronym, who knew right. So here’s the breakdown:

F – FIND
I – INFORM
R – RESTRICT
E – EXTINGUISH

Those are pretty self-explanatory right? First you find where the fire is, then you inform everyone in the vicinity that there is a fire and assist anyone who is not able to evacuate themselves. You then restrict the fire and lastly extinguish it, if you are able to. We also learnt that there are different types of fire, which are categorized into classes. Class A being solid fires, i.e. involving paper, furniture, cardboard, most plastics, etc. Class B is for fires involving flammable or combustible liquids, i.e. gasoline, kerosene, grease or oil. Class C is for fires involving electrical equipment, like appliances, wiring, circuit breakers or outlets. Class D is for fires most commonly occurring in chemical laboratories, these involve combustible metals, like magnesium, titanium, potassium or sodium. Class K is for fires that involve cooking oils, trans-fats, or fats in cooking appliances, typically occurring in restaurants or cafeteria kitchens.

Now color me ignorant but I had not the foggiest idea that there were actually different types of fire extinguishers for different types of fires. Check out the diagram below.

We should all look into equipping ourselves with the necessary implements needed to combat fires because you never know when disaster can strike. There is such a thing as knowing too little, there is never a point at which someone knows too much…#themoreyouknow #firesafety #educateyourself #stopdropandroll  

Good jobs require better education, Broms

VERY good jobs require better education for children and adults all throughout life, says Academic Work’s Michael Broms.

And Ddabali Educational Zone Head James Nanjame says without the support of Sweden’s Academic Work the community of Siakabanze would not have managed to have a teacher’s house constructed at the school.

Speaking when a delegation of 11 Academic Work visitors handed over a teachers house at Siakabanze Community School in Zambia last week with the collaboration with Response Network, Broms said his delegation was happy with the participation of the community in the construction of the house.

Response Network, a non-governmental organization based in Livingstone, also works in Zimba, and Kazungula districts.

“To have very good jobs we believe that it is very important to have very good education for children and adults all throughout life. We are here to visit you and hand over the house because of the very good
collaboration we have with Response Network,” Broms said.

He said it was pleasing to see that the school also built through financial assistance from Academic Work through Response Network was in good shape and the children of Siakabanze were very happy and
accessing the much needed education.

Siakabanze Community School is located 50 kilometres east of Kalomo district.

And Nanjame also appealed for more support from Academic Work so as to complete a classroom block extension.

“We have a lot of work that needs to be done,” he said.

Chawila councillor Roy Sialubala appealed to Academic Work to build more teachers houses in the area.

He said building a school and a house was an expensive undertaking and thanked Academic Work for the financial support.

Sialubala appealed to parents and Siakabanze community to work hard and develop the school saying government does not help those who don’t help themselves.

“We need more houses so that we can have more teachers,” Sialubala said.

Siakabanze Community School head teacher Wilton Chifuwe told the delegation that spent a night in camping tents at the school that the institution catered for over 300 children sharing two classrooms.

The delegation also visited Siamwaamvwa Community School and presented footballs and skipping ropes.

The delegation on Saturday had lunch with vulnerable girls who are receiving 100 per cent financial support for their education in Livingstone.

The Swedish-based organisation funds the vulnerable girls all their educational requirements until they complete university or collage, while those who don’t make it to university or collage are paid for skills training.