Foundation trustee visits grassroots projects in Zambia

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  • July 31, 2023
Baraka Community Partnerships Learning Centre Staff

Our trustee Andrew Yeoward has recently returned from a 10-day trip to Zambia where he visited eight projects we have been funding there, including meeting the teams who manage the projects and the communities who benefit from them.

Community celebration
Andrew’s first stop was attending an opening ceremony at Libuyu Health Centre in Livingstone. This is a community health centre with a catchment population of 19,000 including 5,000 children. The 30-year-old building was in a rundown state, and the charity Build It International has recently completed a major redevelopment project which included adding a new maternity and child health wing. Halcrow Foundation funds paid for a safe, watertight new roof on the health wing.

The opening ceremony was also attended by the Chief District Nurse, the acting District Commissioner and the local Director of Planning. As well as taking part in the ceremony, Andrew handed out certificates to the newly qualified maintenance staff trained by Build It International. After this, he also visited other projects that the charity has supported including a school the outskirts of Livingstone.

Libuyu Health Centre

Andrew with Chief District Nurse, Emmah S Mukera, at Libuyu Health Centre in Livingstone.

Promising futures
Andrew then headed towards Lusaka. He met up with Andrew Tembo from Baraka Community Partnerships and they drove to The New Dawn Safe House for girls in Maamba. This is a home for 25 girls aged 15 to 18 years who come from remote villages to study at secondary school. Halcrow Foundation funded the construction of a perimeter wall and gate in 2019 which keeps the girls safe while they are away from home.

The young women welcomed Andrew with songs and shared their ambitions for careers after school or university, including becoming a pilot, accountant, lawyer, police officer, engineer and first woman president of Zambia.

Maamba Safe House, Zambia

The New Dawn Safe House for girls in Maamba.

Supporting schools
After leaving Maamba, Andrew had a bumpy two-hour drive to the main road and headed to Mazabuka. Here he visited Chibolya School and its head teacher Mr Innocent. The foundation funded a project run by Zambia Orphans Aid (ZOA) to build fish ponds at the school last year. The ponds provide 7,000 fish per year that feed around 600 vulnerable children, and the project is so successful that Mr Innocent plans to develop other farming projects. Andrew also met Grace, Patricia and Alinani from the ZOA team and visited Twavwane School where we funded new desks and benches in 2021. He then began the long journey north to Kapiri Mposhi and arrived at Baraka Community Partnerships learning centre in time for dinner.

Twavwane Community School

Chibolya School head teacher Mr Innocent and Andrew in front of the fish ponds.

Community learning
The learning centre has around 15,000 visits per year and gives literacy and IT lessons to local schools who travel to the centre from surrounding areas. It also offers free workshops, cooking classes and IT lessons for adults where everyone has access to a laptop. Halcrow Foundation has funded 90 percent of the learning centre since it was built in 2018, and Andrew reported that the centre is “exceptional. Very impressive and well used, especially the library, IT centre and playground.”

Andrew also visited a project we have supported run by Microloan Foundation which provides small loans and business support to 5,000 women. Afterwards, Baraka’s Andrew Tembo and Andrew headed 20 kilometres into the bush where they visited one of many schools that are in great need of new buildings and a water supply. “The charity chose to build a teachers’ house here instead of rebuilding the classrooms to attract experienced teachers to the school,” Andrew said. He was then taken to another school closer to town where Baraka had built three classrooms with another two classrooms under construction.

The playground at Baraka Community Partnerships learning centre.

Training courses
After an evening barbecue with Baraka staff at the learning centre, Andrew left for Lusaka the following morning and visited the Build It Centre of Excellence. It had a cohort of 25 students learning building skills, including brick laying, rendering, rough carpet including roof joints and formwork and life skills. “Build It puts 300 students through the course each year,” Andrew explained, “which includes three months training and then three months’ placement with contractors. A minimum of 25 percent of students are women.”

Andrew also visited Chitukuko School in Lusaka where Halcrow Foundation funded a teacher’s house and girls’ latrines in 2019. The school serves a population of 700 people who were moved there after the community spread to private farmland. Their new home is in the bush and next to a large walled-off area that is used for fertiliser production. Build It International has also built three classrooms and the community is trying to build three more.

Remarkable results
On the last day of his trip, Kelvin, Priscilla and Christine from Build It International took Andrew north to see three projects they plan to support including a school and a maternity and health clinic. They also went to another school where the classrooms have been condemned as unsafe and cannot be used. Most of the community works for a large farm belonging to a white farmer who is reluctant to contribute towards rebuilding them.

Andrew said, “All the organisations that we have been working with in Zambia have achieved remarkable results with the resources they have. There continues to be a huge need in the country for improved health and education facilities and in women’s empowerment. Zambia is a beautiful, friendly and peaceful country which deserves all the support it can get, and I am sure the Halcrow Foundation will continue to work with these organisations to help provide support. I am immensely grateful to all those individuals I met in Zambia who helped make my visit a success.”

Main photo: Andrew Yeoward with the team at Baraka Community Partnerships learning centre in Kapiri Mposhi. Left to right: Kings, Andrew Yeoward, Andrew Tembo, Francis and Michael.

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