Areas of action
All projects supported by Abantu Zambia have their origin in a Zambian initiative.
The inhabitants of the villages supported by Abantu Zambia create their own committees to determine the village needs. Projects are thus conceived, carried out and managed by the inhabitants themselves (from drawing up the plan to defining material needs, human resources, timing…)
This philosophy is the necessary starting point for the achievement of any project.
In the rural setting, the first concern of parents is the education of their children. The first
request that reaches us from a new village is always for a school, since the village people
actually prefer staying in their locality rather than moving to town. A move to town =
abandoning their soil + AIDS + sicknesses + …. A minimum of “conveniences” stabilizes
a population in a village: a well, a mill, an easier access to seeds and a medical dispensary.
Abantu Zambia co-operates with the local population in the following areas:
Abantu is acting in the following areas:
40% of the children have no access to schooling. The first request of each village is for a primary school that permits children to be educated in their own village. The maximum distance that a child can cover on foot is 10 km.
Going to town involves an increase in school costs or in the number of students leaving school. Other consequences of schooling in town are a greater exposure to prostitution, AIDS and drugs, and the displacement of entire families.
If both parents die of AIDS in town, the children return to their grandmother in their village.
But how will she raise them on her own? The solidarity of “women’s associations” is absolutely necessary.
b. Agriculture and stock-farming
The principal crops are maize, peanuts, sunflowers, cotton and rice. Livestock is mainly
chickens, goats, pigs and cattle.
The rainy season begins in November and ends in March. There is no agricultural policy that sufficiently protects the Zambian farmers. They assume all the risks (drought/flooding) linked to their activity..
Farm products are consumed for the most part by the farmers themselves, and occasionally sold when the harvest is sufficient.
The fight against malnutrition and the attainment of self-sufficiency in food production are necessary steps enabling survival and the sustainable development of a population. Thus, a
sufficient crop guarantees staple foods for 1 year. The surplus can be resold or exchanged,
resulting in an additional but modest comfort.
Agriculture and stock-farming also lead to revenues that finance children’s schooling.
What the women do best in a village is farming. This is precisely where aid for procuring seeds needs to be developed.
Here again, the women’s clubs play a primary role. They farm a little extra, watch over
children who are on their own and help the aged. We must find the means to help these courageous women’s clubs!
c. Health Care
Health care is a necessity in each community. The precarious state of health in certain villages forces the inhabitants to make long journeys for medical care. To have access
to health care, the villages group together to draw up projects for creating dispensaries, health centers, maternity clinics, etc…. Abantu Zambia provides the material and financial aid for these projects.
Zambia numbers 12 million inhabitants, including 10% orphans. Each community is directly confronted with this new situation, and families do not always have the means to welcome all the orphans.
These children need a lot of attention and a specific structure. To ensure this, orphanages, sponsorships and specialised school centres have been put in place.
Life expectancy in Zambia is 42 years.
e. Financial Aid for Projects
In view of safe-guarding food production, we have been helping villages buy
maize seeds and fertilizer for several years now. The variable weather and growing time necessary for the crop makes this type of aid difficult to obtain from the traditional organisations in micro-financing.
In some villages, we have set up a loan system for the purchase of seeds (one 10kg sack of maize, and fertilizer) in October, to be reimbursed at 10% interest in August after the harvest. The project worked very well for several years, but two poor seasons of continual rain ruined this fine balance. However, it is at this very moment that we must put in an effort and begin again!
The food supply for a whole year depends on the annual rainy season (from December to March): in reality, this is the one growing season, whether it is good or bad, sufficient or
Abantu Zambia also provides partial financing for some small business projects proposed by the inhabitants. This financing is mainly granted to groups of individuals (women’s clubs)
Through the years, the women’s clubs have formed and developed activities that generate
revenue to help orphans and the more vulnerable members of their community. Some groups have also undertaken community projects such as the renovation of a school building.
The activities most often developed by the women’s clubs are :
- farming (maize, vegetables and jatropha)
- raising chickens
- the management of a motor-driven mill and oil press
By offering financial aid, we help specific women’s clubs start up their activities, so that
they take responsibility for their own development.
We are now working with about 30 clubs, composed of more than 650 women.
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