Zambia, Africa

ZAM23 - Chipata Rural Church Orphan Care: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: May 16, 2023

Report from BHW Zambia Partnership Facilitators Following Visit

Key person: Norman Tonga

key peopleWe visited Norman in his village. There was a meeting arranged with many of the beneficiaries in the newly built church that was funded by Share Africa Zambia, the UK Christian funded business that buys the soyabean produce from local farmers.

We greeted the leadership team of the partnership, who are helping to advise Norman on the running of the programme. This includes the local headman, church pastor and other church members. Picture of them shown.


Recent Events

Orphans Programme

Over 30 orphans have now finished grade 12, with many having employment as teachers, pastors, farming, or running their own business.

Currently they have 20 orphans on the programme with nine at secondary and 11 in primary school. They continue to buy uniforms, books, shoes and socks for the orphans. For those going to boarding schools for secondary school, they help with the fees for accommodation and groceries.  All of these costs have significantly risen over the last two years.



Bible teacherLast year Bright Hope World funded 200 local language bibles for the partnership to use as they had advised that many of the local churches did not have access to any at all. When they received the bibles, they set up a programme of teaching church members evangelism for one week. 

Kapeni Tonga, pictured, ran training courses explaining the gospel through key scriptures. Once they had completed the training each one was given a bible and sent off into the field with the mission to use the bibles to teach others. People are hungry for the word of God.

The result has been that three new churches have been planted in the area. 

They have requested for more bibles to be sent for this year. 


Bible School

The bible school that they have started with no external funding has now entered its third year. At the end of the year 30 students will graduate with a certificate. The courses are run with students coming for a week block course three times a year. This happens in the dry season, so they come in June, July and August.

They are accommodated around church members for the week and Timothy Kawaba, an OM missionary, comes to teach them.


being used nowStorage Shed

The shed that was funded last year for US$1,290 has been completed and with this season's harvest starting is now in use. The local people moulded all the bricks and brought cement, iron sheets and re-force wire to complete the building.

It has a capacity of 3,000 bags @ 50kg each, which is a vital part of the farming programmes moving forward.



reliable young peopleNorman has engaged the services of four young reliable men to help with the farming programmes. Their names are Banda Matthews, Moses Sakala, Simon Sakala and Nickson Phiri (pictured). Their role includes distribution of seeds, fertilizer and weed killer during November and December. They then visit the farmers again once germination has occurred to advise the farmers on replanting in the spaces if required.

Upon harvest they go to all the farmers to collect the loan repayments, which for soyabeans is 100- 150kg of harvested crop depending on the loan, or cash for the maize loans. For the soyabeans they need to travel with scales to weigh the bags.

Their cry is for better transport in terms of good quality bikes so they can reach the farms and bring the produce back. Last year when there were 65 farmers, they were paid 2,000ZMK (US$105) for all the work but they are looking to increase this amount due to the work load this year.


Chipata OVC Farm

The farm that was cleared has continued to grow soyabeans (2 ha) and has beehives. The soyabean production is part of the Share Africa Zambia programme, registered as seed growers so they can get a better consistent price. The church community completes the work at the farm, so that more funds are available for ministry projects such as orphan care. They are expecting to harvest around 60 bags of soyabeans from the farm.

The beehives have presented some issues with security and people stealing the honey, and some cattle and other animals walking through the farm and destroying some of the hives. Presently they have six hives of which three have bees producing honey that will be harvested “any time soon”.



growing wellNorman has registered the Chipata OVC field as a “Kafue seed grower” for the Share Africa Programme (SAZ). This means they can supply seeds at harvest as long as they have met the requirements of growing 10m away from other soyabean fields, and the produce is clean from non-Kafue seed. They are thus able to buy seed from the company which this year was 25 bags of 25kg. At harvest he is then able to sell a total of 25 tons of seed back to SAZ at a guaranteed price of 12ZMK cash or 14ZMK on credit per kilo.

This year 150 farmers have been empowered with a loan for 25 kg of the much sort after Kafue seed. Repayment of this loan is at harvest where the grower brings 100kg of harvest. This allows them to plant 1 acre (70m x 70m) which if done well will yield 1 ton of harvest.

15 farmers were also helped with a loan for weed killer, which is a selective weed killer that does not affect soyabeans. Repayment of the loan is 60kg of harvest.

The seed provided to the farmers was from the seed stored from last year's loans. The 65 farmers last year repaid with 6,500 kg, of which half was sold at the seed price of 12ZMK, producing 39,000ZMK to be used in the project. The other half of the loan seed was used to distribute to the 150 growers as seed for this year.

farmingIf a grower is not registered as a “Kafue seed grower” they then must sell their harvest as grain seed. This drops the price to 10ZMK from SAZ, or they sell to other buyers, but the price can be low, i.e., early season price is only 4ZMK.

For a typical grower on the programme, they repay the loan and are left with 17 x 50kg bags (850kg) if they have done a good job. They may need to sell some early to get some cash for living requirements but hope to get the better price from SAZ if they require the tonnage that has been produced.

This project is producing a good income generating activity for the partnership as it can sell as a seed grower for higher prices. It helps the farmers with loans and good seed, plus encouragement from the agents to grow well, but it is yet to be seen how each farmer will fare with selling the produce.

Next year the aim is to have 300 farmers on the programme. 


Maize Growing

very happyThe loan empowerment programme was for 45 growers this season, each received one bag of urea fertilizer and 10 kg of seed. They used the pothole method (called Gaphahi in local language), using compost in the holes before they planted.

The total cost for each loan is 1,300ZMK (US$70) per farmer, which is to be repaid in cash. The picture is of all the maize growers we met at the church meeting.

The farmers are very happy with the results this year, seeing some big cobs that will be used mainly for home consumption. 

Overall, to have a good crop of maize will be very helpful this year, as there is going to be many shortages due to rains and the government subsidizes not being as promised. Many people have not even planted maize in the Chipata area.


Personal Stories

farmerEso Nkoma

Eso is a farmer who was on both the soyabean and maize programmes. He was very attracted to the programme because it gave him the resources to plant a good-sized field and have the inputs ready to plant. Previously he was always waiting for the government subsidized fertilizer and seed that always turned up late and wasn’t ever what was promised.

His fields this year look like nothing he has ever seen before. He is very thankful for the maize crop that he is about to harvest. As he says, “this will take my family though to the finish and sustain us for the year”. 

His soyabeans have suffered from some late rains which has caused some plants to rot, but the crop is still there. He is concerned about how he will sell his crop and is requesting for any assistance to be given.

maize farmer


Now Zulu

Now was part of the maize input loan programme and she faithfully followed the pothole method. She was surprised by this method as it did not require digging the whole field or the use of D compound fertilizer which has become too expensive.

She received one bag of Urea compound and 10 kg of seed to plant ½ hectare. It was good to receive encouragement from the Agents who came to see the field and advise on the methods.

Her crop is looking very good, and she says, “I am walking comfortably without shame”. 


future teacherKennedy Lungu

Kennedy is 19 years old and finished grade 12 in 2022. He has been part of the orphan sponsorship programme since 2015 when his father died, and he was in grade 6. He lives with his mum and has three brothers and three sisters. Only two other sisters have gone to school due to the lack of funds for school requirements.

His mum helps to support them by farming soyabeans and cassava, but this has been a real struggle. Kennedy always helps in the fields, and this year he did his own field and has 6 bags of soyabeans that he can sell.

In grade 12 he had some very encouraging results and scored 13 points on his final exams. From this he managed to get a bursary scholarship to pay for 80% of the school fees at Rickview University to study to become a teacher.  

He still must fund fees of 1,550ZMK per term, plus accommodations of 4,500ZMK per term. This is proving to be a real struggle for him.


preschool teacherJoseph Phiri

Joseph has been on the orphan programme for many years and completed Grade 12 in 2022, other than two papers that he has to re-sit. His total grade points were 28, which is an ok result. He wants to go to college and train to be a teacher.

Currently, he has set up a pre-school for 4- to 5-year-olds in his community in Kateke which is far away from Chipata OVC, but where he went to secondary school and boarded. There are around 100 children that have registered for the school.

The children come from 07:00 till 10:30 each day, and Joseph has to move around them all making sure the activities are being followed, such as reading, sports, drawing and teaching English.

Parents are very happy that the children have this opportunity to get some basic learning prior to the start of school, and they pay 20ZMK per term for them to be there.

Joseph is requesting some books, chalks, and a chalkboard to help with this programme.


Current Issues and Challenges

The biggest issue with the soyabean programme is the market for farmers. As stated in the personal testimonies, growers still struggle to sell at a good price unless SAZ will take the produce. They can sell to the government for around 11ZMK, but this is on credit and may not be paid for many months.

It may be that SAZ will take all the produce this year, but Norman is unsure as the tonnage will be around 120 tons from the 150 farmers. Norman is scouting both SAZ and other possible markets to try and establish consistent markets for the growers. 



It was great to see the development of the farming loans this year, and how it is pushing the partnership towards sustainability. There is still a lot of work for them to help the farmers with a better market, but this is being worked on.