African communities helping themselves
The best outcome for any development project is when members of a local community are empowered to help themselves. Many such examples were observed by a Global Development Group monitoring team including Project Officer for Africa, Josh Edwards who has just returned from monitoring projects in Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda.
Project J351N Action for Empowerment Community Development Project, is located in Lusaka, Zambia. After years of community consultation and cooperation, a clinic located in the Chibolya slum is now completed and is treating up to 80 people every day. “The community were given the responsibility to plan and establish the clinic. In the early stages, a local committee was established, all Chibolya residents, to construct the clinic using local labour. The whole process was driven by the community and this created an incredible sense of ownership over the clinic; they protect it, they use it, they attend classes; it really is a community clinic.” The project also conducts community health education and classes, neonatal education, referrals to public hospitals, a successful farm co-op as well as supporting the education of more than 100 students through primary and secondary school.
Project J756N Development Initiatives for Grandparents, located in Nkwase, Zambia enables grandparents to look after their orphaned grandchildren through vocational training microfinance initiatives. Josh reflected, “It was great to meet grandparents who had been empowered by the project who had been able to improve their living situation. Visiting the Kavu Older People’s group was a great experience and to see them working so well together was terrific.”
Also in Zambia, “At Kantolomba Community Empowerment project (J698N) we met two women with very limited business or entrepreneurship skills who had been a part of the Women’s Empowerment Program and were now running small shops in their community and pursuing other business ideas. They said they had never thought they would run small businesses and were very happy to be able to provide for their children” Josh said.
At J783 ‘Hearts for Africa (Amani)’ the GDG team saw some really good community engagement initiatives that are creating substantial income generation potential for the local community through agriculture and self-employment.
The trip also included attending the second annual memorial day for Irene Gleeson (projects J746 and J747 IGF Community Education, Development, Health and WASH) in Uganda; visiting project J584 Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Program, Tanzania, which provides clean water and sanitation/hygiene education for communities in the Kilombero, Ulanga and Kilosa Districts; J788 Kangaroo Mother Care, training health care workers and mothers in neo-natal and low-birthweight baby care; and project J427 Eagles Wings Zambia, rehabilitating and transitioning vulnerable children back into homes as well as medical and education programs.
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