Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Zambian Enterprise

Posted on behalf of Clementina Chapusha

Just a five minute drive from the beautiful, modern and well-kept streets of Lusaka’s town center is Chibolya. To visit this place would make one think they have suddenly gone back in time. Chibolya is a dusty, overcrowded shantytown where people live in abject poverty. It’s amazing that in just five minutes people can live such different kinds of lives.

Children International has been in the Lusaka region of Zambia since 2003. Over 6,500 children receive benefits and badly needed services, like dental care and educational aide. The demand for Children International’s services is so immense in Zambia that Children International is constructing its second area center in Chibolya. Around 1,900 children have enrolled even before the center has even opened. Until the new center opens, the children in the area and their parents walk four kilometers to get to the Kanyama Service Area Center for CI services.

Problems abound in Chibolya. Even greater than the hunger for food in this community is a hunger for opportunity. To really fix poverty, people must have access to work. When work is not there you must create it. With this in mind a brainstorm was initiated. Parents of sponsored children (who are also committed CI volunteers) organized themselves into a group of twelve. They united to find ways improve their economic situation and help motivate each other.

The idea of a chicken-rearing project was conceived. With the help of local Children International staff a business plan was written and a request for funding was made. The volunteers were awarded a total of US$1,000 from Children International’s micro-enterprise grant program. Their idea was now able to hatch.

They began their project with 200 broiler chicks in a small rented building, which they used as a chicken run. They secured a source for food and clean water and medicines to keep the birds healthy.

Children International has encouraged the team and inspired them to work hard towards making their project a success. Christine Nantufya is a chairperson for the group; she explains how they would like this great opportunity to grow. “This project will help all the parents who have children on the CI program. It is a group project, but after making profit we intend to give individual loans for individual businesses to empower ourselves.”

These new business people take tremendous pride in their chickens. They take tremendous pride in their new skills. All the volunteers are undergoing training in bookkeeping, entrepreneurship and proper chicken care. They have opened a bank account with a recognized bank. The account will have three signatories comprised of two volunteers and their field officer.

The project has already experienced success. The group of twelve has sold all of the 200 chickens they started with. 250 chicks have been purchased for the next round.

Clementina Chapusha is Children International’s communications coordinator in Lusaka, Zambia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AWESOME!!!! story...Not only are they helping their immediate situation, they are modeling success and teaching their children about an enterprising spirit...about working towards a better future.

Way to go Zambia!