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ZAM28 - Kitchen garden training and micro-enterprise loan programmes: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: May 16, 2011

Chingola Conference Report - "Feed my lambs: Tend to my sheep"

 

Reinforcing training
 

 

Overview

25 of the leaders from Bright Hope World partnerships came to Chingola for a three day conference. The aim has always been to empower these people to become trainers of farming and mindsets in their communities. This was one reason for getting them together to review what has happened so far and to reinforce the training they received in 2010.

We also wanted to discuss micro loan finance options and to have a review of how the partners are looking after the young orphans in their communities.

Showing the others his farm
 

Farming

We visited four farms that were grown by the partners since being trained last year. One farm was very well done by Joseph and his wife. They are over 60 years of age and did very well. The other farms were not so good, but it was good to visit them to highlight where our partners need improvement. 

The most interesting aspect of visiting the farms was that all the people trained have no problem in recalling the technical aspects of the farming methods. They all know what is meant to happen, but they often don’t apply this knowledge into practice.

We also found that a cultural mindset that has been developed is that if something is difficult, then we are excused from doing it. Most people managed to do some of the work “at standard” but no one did all of it that way. Weeding seems to be a job that they find difficult.

So important to weed
 

We reviewed the techniques focusing on "at standard" - being on time, mulching, weeding, soil structures. In mindsets we discussed that what Jesus did on the cross was difficult but he toiled through it, and he is our example to follow. Also working "at standard" means doing all parts of the method well, not just one part of the method. Education says 50% is okay, but this is not "at standard" when we apply it to farming. It will be interesting to see how this year’s crops go.

Note that the partner who did very well could not attend the conference. Lonard Daka from Chipata managed to train 15 people last year in his village and they have all done very well with the maize. He trained them both in mindsets and techniques, and they started very small just 25m x 25m. Both of these elements seem key for the future.

Micro loan education
 

Micro Loans

Jude Goatley who used to do our role in Bright Hope is now in Kenya training and developing micro loan programs. She came to help out with the conference and ran a 2 hour session on micro loans. She gave some very important guidelines in setting up a micro loan program, some of the key elements were as follows:
• People need to start small
• Participants should have demonstrated that they have been able to save money, even small amounts
• There is a need to set up a vision and then criteria for who would be eligible for a loan. That way any new person can be selected based on the criteria, and it becomes less of a personal decision against them
• There needs to be a specific person assigned to run the program and they should not be the spiritual leader in the partnership

Lots of time for talking
 

Caring for Orphans

We had a long discussion about orphan care and what we are doing. One key question was “Is buying uniforms and paying for school fees enough to help transform these children?”

While the work that has been done is seen as helpful, it is also seen that to have real impact in children’s lives there needs to be more input in terms of:
• Befriending the orphans
• Mentoring and counselling the orphans
• Meeting with the guardians to discuss their roles and responsibilities
• Having more volunteers to help with the work

Children are seen as being precious in Gods sight, and even Jesus said, “unless you become like these little ones you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven”.

It is good to involve children in some of the work like farming but we need to be careful that we are not exploiting them, or even being seen to exploit them into child labour. We must always work with them and train and encourage them.

Testimonies

Each partner had a chance to explain to the others how the partnership had developed and what programs they were running. They were also encouraged to discuss some of the difficult issues they face being lights in their communities. Some of the issue they face are:
• When the white man visit others in the village get jealous
• Costs of the programs of education are rising and the funding stays the same, meaning we have to make difficult decisions on how best to use the funds available
• Getting the guardians on board with what their responsibilities are in caring for the orphans 

Plenty of praise time
 

Summary

Overall it was a great time for the partners to relax and learn and encourage each other. Jeremiah ran plenty of praise times. We also want to give a huge thanks to Babs Patching who came with us and used her vehicle to travel many bad roads to transport partners to the farms we visited. She really got us out of a spot!!

Future Plans

From here our plans are to:
• Visit partners again to discuss how we can help them firstly grow a great example crop
• See what they need to help them train others in the community
• Possibility of micro loan schemes
• Set up some training programs for orphan care for volunteers
• Aim to try and train some younger school leavers in the methods, possibly with the help of the GLO Alive program