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Annet Sonko

Response Network's assistant sports faacilitator Anet Sonko

By Edwin Mbulo

PEOPLE living with disabilities can help to contribute to sports development, says Annet Sonko.

In an interview Annet Sonko who is Response Network (RN) assistant sports facilitator urged people living with disabilities to engage in sports activities.

“Through our community interventions we managed to get people living with disabilities especially women to engage in sports activities and our inaugural sports tournament in Zimba’s Nyawa village attracted 13 teams. We firmly believe that people living with disabilities can help contribute to sports development through their participation in tournaments,” Sonko said.

She added that RN encourages communities to engage in self-help projects as opposed to dependency but however, appealed for assistance from any organisation so as to be able to sustain the tournament planned to an annual event.

“Women in Nyawa mobilized themselves and organised an inclusive women tournament and each team had two men, the qualification for each team was that it should have two people living with disabilities,” she said.

Sonko said the tournament which started on August 14 was held on August 30 and Younger Stars Football Club won the tournament.

“The tournament motivated and encouraged the women to take up leadership roles,” she said.

And Young Star FC captain Veronica Sikayasa said the tournament was the clubs first active football participation.

“This has been our first time to play football and little did we know that we have the skill…the RN facilitator really motivational and inspired us,” Sikayasa said.

She further added that her team would also participate in other tournaments anywhere in Zambia.

Norwegian students aim to use sport to develope rural Zambia

  • Krsitina and Benedikte

    Benedikte Ridderholt (l) and Kristina Antal of Norwegian School of Sports Sciences in Livingstone

By Edwin Mbulo

A NORWEGIAN woman says she is in Zambia to utilise her sports competence to help develop Nyawa area in Zimba district.

In an interview Kristina Antal 25 from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences (NSSS) who is in Livingstone with her colleague Benedikte Ridderholt said she would be in Zambia for ten months until June next year to work with Response Network (RN) after being selected by the Norwegian Sports Association under the funding of the Norwegian Peace Corps.
“I chose to be taken to a rural part of Zambia and I want to learn a lot, see new places, know different cultures and get to meet new people. I also want to show my competence in my work on how sports can be used for development, especially at grassroots levels,” Antal said.

She disclosed that she will be based in Mabwa in Nyawa area over 70 kilometers north-west of Zambia.

Antal said she has three siblings’ one older sister, one younger sister and brother.

She revealed that she just like Ridderholt, was in Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time but has been to Egypt before.

Antal said she was not sure of which country she was going to be sent to between, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana.

And 24 year-old Benedickte Ridderholt said she wants to grow her understanding of Zambia.

“During my stay here in Zambia I want to grow as a human being. Before coming to Africa I only had the perception of the continent as given by the European media, who only showed the worst part of Africa, the media in Europe has a lot of apathy on Africa, so I want to make my own opinion and not trust media gossip,” Ridderholt said.

Being the oldest in a family of two girls Ridderholt said she was happy to be in Zambia and will be based in Nyawa village west of Zimba district under a programme being implemented by RN known as Youth Sports Exchange Programme (YSEP).

“When I was selected I just was happy because all I wanted was to come to Africa, until I heard that I was being sent to Zambia,” she said.

And RN programme officer Julius Simfunkwe said Antal and Ridderholt will be under the mentorship of Amon Kasweka who is RN sports facilitator and his deputy Annet Sonko.

“YSEP also greatly helps the volunteers in aspects of cultural exchange as they get to know our various cultural aspects and our people in the villages where they would be based get to know and understand foreign cultures and values,”   he said.

Simfunkwe added that apart from YSEP, RN which is based in Livingstone also runs other programs such as village self help programmes with the aid of the Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD), Academic Works of Sweden and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).

He added that the non-governmental organisation was seeking for more corporation from local and foreign institutions to be able to sustain its programmes mainly implemented in Zimba, Kazungula and Kalomo districts of Southern Zambia.

Meet Josephine

During the show we are helped by volunteers that are connected to RN in different ways. This year we had Violet Shinguluma from Tujatishe Self-Help Group and Josephine Lishomwa from Lwikute Women’s Club. Josephine shared some insight into how the club works and how it is for her to be at the show.

Josephine and the products

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josephine is 38 years old and has been a member for the club since 2012. The club is based in Buiketo village, 45 km from Livingstone. They are 10 women and 1 man in the club. The members grow produce such as maize, cow peas, ground nuts and sorghum together. After harvesting, they cook and dry the produce they have grown, so that during the dry season they can sell it or have a back up for food. During the show she sells their different produce, and then shares the income, ensuring that all members benefit from participating in the show, in addition to giving invaluable help for us during the show days.

Josephine has been to the show once before, and says “I like to be in the show to learn and get ideas for new opportunities”.

 

The products from the SHG and Women's Club

 

STACSS 2017

Like every year, RN participated in the annual Southern Tourism, Agricultural and Commercial Show (STACSS) for 2017 which was held from 13th to 16th July in Livingstone. The theme this year was “Promoting a Green Economy” which is in line with the national theme of reaching the SDGs of sustainable development of 2030. This was perfect as is it also in line with our way of working, particular with the organic vegetable growing that many of the clubs and self-help groups are doing with our support.

Outside our stand at this years STACSS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The show is a great opportunity for different businesses, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Government ministries to showcase the different services and merchandise that they offer to the community.

Our neighbour stand showcasing the work the inmates do

 

Florence and Caleb representing RN at STACSS 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past years that we have participated we have impressed the judges and won several prizes in the NGO category. We are proud to have won the second place in the overall NGO category this year. Our team put in a lot of hard work and our stand gave an insight in to the variety of programs that RN provides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to this our own co-worker and sensei Mama and her talented Judo group presented their skills during the opening ceremony, showcasing another of the thematic areas RN work in.

Judo presentation during opening ceremony

 

Special Visitors

It was an exciting time for us here at RN when we were visited by two special members of the Academic Work (AW) staff. We welcomed Academic Work of Sweden Group Executive Assistant Sofie Koark and CFO Katarina Linder. We thoroughly enjoyed having them here and hope to have them back soon!

Katarina and Sofie were in Zambia to monitor some of the projects that are funded by AW as well as catch up on the goings on with RN. They were whisked away to Zimba to view our newly launched skills training program. Skills Training is an alternative to tertiary education where people are taught practical skills such as carpentry, agriculture, tailoring, etc.  This is for those who do not wish to or cannot afford to attend conventional tertiary institutions. The came back to Livingstone to see how the skills training program in Livingstone is going. The trainings are held at the Youth Community Training Center (YCTC) in Libuyu. The program was opened to alumni of the Kubala Girls sponsorship program and by the looks of it, Sofie and Katarina, the girls and the present RN staff had a good time.

The AW duo also held a small presentation on what AW does and it was quite interesting to know more about our partners. AW’s core business is staffing and recruitment and it was good to hear about how they do this. For more information on AW, visit their website here.

Below are some pictures from their visit at YCTC with the catering students.

LABOR DAY 2017

Labor Day is celebrated and commemorated annually on May 1st and in Zambia, this means doing what we do best, a march past followed by a celebration.
This year, RN celebrated Labor Day in Livingstone with the march past taking place from the Teacher’s resource center to LIBES college along Kazungula road.
Organizations came out to show solidarity and support with banners flying high. The theme for this year was “tackling today’s socio-economic challenges to secure decent work and tomorrow’s future”.

The guest of honor was Member of Parliament and RN patron, Honorable Given Lubinda and the District Commissioner for Livingstone was also in attendance in addition to representatives from the various unions.

 

As is customary at such events, employees are rewarded in one or other category. The Transport & Logistics officer, Biemba Mubanga was awarded as the most hardworking employee; the Assistant Logistics & Stores officer, Jacob Nkunika was rewarded for long service and the Sports Coordinator, Amon Kasweka was awarded the most improved employee.

after receiving certificates

Introducing FK/YSEP 2016-2017 Pt.3

Last but not least in this series is our male Youth Sport Exchange Program/Fredskorset volunteer from Norway. Here he gives us a little insight into who he is.

My name is Martin Steen Reymert, I am twenty-five years old and I am currently working and living in Livingstone, Zambia, as a sport volunteer for a local NGO called Response Network.

Growing up in Oslo, Norway, I was always engaged in different sports activities, football being the sport I pursued most seriously. After I quit playing, I continued coaching for almost five years, thus I have a good amount of experience in this field. After I graduated from high school, I continued my academic career attending The University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. In June 2016 I graduated with a Master of Arts in Sociology, having written my dissertation on the topic of sport and integration of ethnic minorities.  Proven by my past experiences, I have always found sport and its function as a tool for social development, very interesting indeed.

Here in Livingstone, I have, in close cooperation with a local football club called Nirngo United F.C., initiated a football academy for local children and youth. We have now managed to get close to one-hundred registered participants, who range from 6-16 years of age. Moreover, one of the most important achievements this far has been engaging 4 of the local U21 players to coach the younger children. By focusing on local empowerment, we can be hopeful that the academy will live on after my departure for Norway.

We’ve now introduced you to all three of our YSEP volunteers for the 2016/17 period, their exchange is sadly almost coming to an end in a few short month, however lets cross that goodbye bridge when we get to it.

 

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International day for women or Women’s Day is always an occasion to look forward to and this year’s was no exception. The RN team prepped for 3 whole weeks for this day to go off without a hitch and thankfully it did.

This day is celebrated countrywide and province and district-wide. RN participated in Kazungula District last year and thus opted to participated in Zimba District which on a slow day is about 45 minutes drive from Livingstone. The festivities though delayed turned out to be entertaining and well worth the wait. The Guest of Honor for the function was the District Commissioner who is appropriately for the celebration, a female. The DC urged the offices in charge of land to begin making the purchase of land easier for women as they are the mothers of the nation and a vital part of all systems.

There was dancing galore at the venue of Zimba Secondary School which we got to after a march past from Zimba Civic Center. There was even believe it or not, an eating contest consisting of 5 participants trying to eat as much of the loaf of bread they were given and drink as much of the two bottles of coco-cola they were given within the short span of five minutes. After much toiling and much ado, one person emerged victorious winning herself K50. The second and third runner up received K25 and K10 respectively.

Have a look at the pictures from the event on our Facebook and Instagram pages, however we will upload additional pictures into this article as they become available.

A warm welcome

On February 27th, we received 4 students from University-College of Oslo, Norway! We are always excited to welcome visitors and students here at RN.

 

The students are Baard Dalhaug (23); Atle Pedersen (24); Maren Rejve (23) and Hummeam Khan (26). Baard and Maren are being hosted at Nampongo Village and Atle and Hummeam are being hosted at Siakasipa Village. They are all studying to become Physical Education (PE) teachers.

“We are here for three weeks on an exchange program and we are very much looking forward to experiencing a different culture and teaching the communities something new,” said Baard. To which Hummeam added that that they hope to return to Norway having known more about Zambia and its culture.

We’ll ask them more about their experiences once they have had a chance to experience the rural areas first hand. But for now we wish them luck and a hearty welcome to Livingstone!

*Photo of the students available on our Instagram page (response_network) and our Facebook page (Response Network)

Have a little HOPE

We have a new program starting in 2017 called the HOPE progam. HOPE stands for Hope, Opportunity, Participation, Empowerment and will be run by Response Network and Norwegian based SMISO. SMISO (Støttensenter Mot Incest og Seksuelle Overgrep) is a Non-Governmental Organization located in Tromsø, Norway. It is part of a national network in Norway and offers support and guidance to individuals and families that have experienced incest or sexual abuse.

The purpose of this program is to exchange experience and build competence on preventing and coping with incest and sexual abuse in partner organizations and in the communities in Norway and Zambia. Not only this but also to create awareness regarding incest and sexual abuse for refugees and other people descending from a different culture than Norwegian in Tromsø. Including increasing the culture sensitivity when dealing with people who have been subjected to abuse and related issues.

RN is sending two participants, namely Maunga Kapika and Audrain Muloongo. We caught up with them on their return from their orientation in Johannesburg and they gave us a short insight into how they are feeling.

Maunga Kapika

Maunga Kapika says, “from my exchange, i am expecting to gain experience and knowledge that i can bring back to my home organization and to my community as well. I would also like to gain more knowledge in sexual abuse and get exposure as i am ready to share my experience with SMISO. I look forward to experiencing a different culture and socialize”.

Audrain Muloongo

I am looking forward to having more knowledge on issues pertaining to incest, sexual abuse and their consequences. I would also like to share ideas on how we can educate people on good morals and about respecting human rights. It will also be interesting to see how issues of GBV and sexual abuse are handled in Norway. I am excited to be going overseas though there will be some challenges of climate, culture, homesickness and unfamiliar food,” says Audrain.

With this program, we have also received two participants from Norway. We will be getting to know Preciosa Luraas and Arja Bjørn in some later posts.

 

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