Child Aid Kasama - Final Report Mauricio da Rocha Rubio Intentions and expectations for the project My time in Zambia is about to finish so this is my final report. First of all I think it’s important to talk about my intentions and expectations in doing this volunteer program. In the first moment I saw it as an opportunity to learn and share life experiences with different people. I wanted to know how people live in US, in Africa and still want to see how the life in other countries is, my goal was also live in a simpler and a sustainable way, so this program provided me the opportunity to archive this main objectives. I learned many things along the way, but in this document I will focus on the experience in Zambia, where I’m for about six months working in a Child Aid project in a town named Kasama, the capital of the Northern Province. Knowing the project in Kasama When I arrived here I yet didn’t know what I would be doing for six months, but I had some guidelines from what I’ve studied about the project in US and those personal goals that I talked before. So in the first weeks we discovered that the Child Aid project here was a bit different from what we were expecting. We would not work with families, but directly with the schools. The Child Aid project in Kasama was running a program called Washe Project, which is focused in bringing safe water and hygiene structures and education to schools. So in the first weeks we went around to those schools and learned more about what was going on in the project, at that time I was observing and figuring out what I could manage to do that fits both in the project need and my personal goals of learning. So I decided in first place that I would put myself in a sustainable way of living, for that I decided to grow some vegetables, manage a cycle for water consumption, use the food scraps for composting and live with a little in a simple way.
In the mean time we and our project leaders decided that each volunteer here would be responsible for five schools, where we would help to mobilize the surrounding community when needed, have meeting and programs with the pupils, more specifically with those in the “Peer education program”.
They are a group of pupils, designated by the school staff together with DAPP, they are responsible for getting the information and sharing with the others in the school and even in their villages, other group that we worked with was the VAGs (Village Action Groups), this ones are responsible for helping us in the community projects and they also act like “peer educators” for the community, and also we were somewhat free to do some personal projects.
First projects in the schools So at that time, we knew more or less the direction of our work, so we could start to develop the first projects. At this time there was an important event that was going to happen in a few weeks, the World Water Day, and for me it sounded like a good opportunity to come closer to the schools and start my own projects doing something for this day. So the plan that I came with was to transmit knowledge about the water related topics to pupils using drama, music etc. So working together with some teachers we wrote some scripts and for a week we trained to improve the performance so it could be presented for everyone in the World Water Day. The idea for the scripts was to do various activities of the daily life, in a proper and in a wrong way. For example one case was washing dishes and cloths in a community water point, we discussed why it was wrong, and came with the solution that the householder should pick a bucket of water from the water point and go at least 20 meters and wash the things there. So we did at least 10 of other scripts like this and in the WWD they presented it for the other pupils in the school. I worked in this program in two of the schools and the result was very interesting, after that the pupils already knew me better and I had a better relation of the school staff. Gardening When the World Water Day was finished I already had learn a little bit about gardening, at this time the only thing that I’ve planted was tomatoes, so I decided to put more focus on my garden and improve my skills to use later on in the projects for the schools. So every day I worked in it, I planted Cabbage, Onions, Spinach, Garlic, Peppers, Soya Beans and Green Beans. It was very nice to grow so many different things, and because it was the raining season they had plenty of water to grow very fast and beautiful.
I also learned a bit about how to control pests and give them more nutrients, my idea was to grow 100% organic vegetables, but I didn’t manage to find a way to protect them with organic pesticide, so for this I had to use chemicals, but for the nutrition I managed to find chicken manure and use it while my compost wasn’t ready.
Musenga Community and Water points Sometime after the second month of the project, DAPP was willing to build a new water point in one of the schools that I was responsible, called Musenga Bethel or Musenga Community School, this is one the schools that I worked mostly, and there was a lot going on there, so I will tell about it a bit. Before my arrival there was a Japanese D.I. in the project working in the same school. Before her, the “school” was just a bunch of pupils with very low income parents, having classes with two local volunteer teachers inside a small woody structure almost falling apart.
This D.I. managed to get donations and mobilize the community to build a new structure, with two class rooms and one staff room, when I went there for the first time, the pupils were moved from the old “school” that was been rebuilt and were having classes inside a church with a structure not much better than the previous “school”. The new building was almost done, but Eukiko (Japanese DI) didn’t have the opportunity to see her accomplishment ready, but I did. I helped them with the final preparations and after sometime they finally started to have classes in the new place.
Here are some pictures of the new school then it was already ready to be used by the pupils. Much better the before uh? Good job Eukiko!
So letâ€™s get back to the water point that DAPP was willing to build there. The first thing that we had to do is organize and mobilize the community, and for that I scheduled a meeting and talked with the community head and the village action group. They agreed to assist us with some people to work in the project. The DAPP deal is that - DAPP provides non-local materials such as pipes and the pump, provides the knowledge of the manual drilling, and the community have to provide local materials, such as sand, bricks and stones, and the man power.
Some days after we started digging, but unfortunately the community was not cooperating very much, only 2 or 3 man appeared, and we needed something like 15. I went to talk to the community head again and he said that he would organize, but unfortunately again the community failed to do their part. At this time there was an important visit coming, the ambassador of United States would be visiting the DAPP projects in Northern Province, because part of the funds for DAPP comes from USAID. So we decided to change the community where the water point was going to be build, for one that was more interested in the project, so we went to organize and mobilize things in the Musa community.
Musa Water point In Musa everything was different, everyone was very committed and at this time Iâ€™ve seen how difficult was to drill the borehole, we took a week of hard work to finish it, but when it was ready it was great. The community was very happy, and few days later the US ambassador came and looked very happy with the work that DAPP was doing.
DAPP asked me and I produced a video of the whole process of building the water point, so now they have it to show to the communities before starting to drill or to show to some other people that are interested. In other occasions I also produced some other media materials such as posters with useful information that was used in some events that I will talk ahead. World Environment Day In this day we organized schools to go together and make some presentation of poems, dramas and etc. related to the World Environment day, more specifically about taking care of the forests, that was the theme of the year.
One of the schools that I was responsible, Milungu, won the first prize with their presentations, I was very happy with them.
After that I continued to work with the schools, especially on gardening, and I started to organize another program for giving desks for the pupils in the Musenga community school. Musenga Desks donation As I explained before, this Musenga community school was very vulnerable, but it was improving, at this time the pupils already were having classes in the new building and they were very happy, but unfortunately they didnâ€™t had desks, and they were having classes on the floor, so I started to work on getting some donations for building desks for the pupils.
The first thing that I did was find and talk with carpenters within the community that could help us to make those desks at a reasonable price, fortunately we found two gentle disabled carpenters who promised quality desks with a very good price.
At this time I was planning in get donations with my family and friends, so I paid them to build the first desk that would be our model, so I could get pictures and talk with people to raise some funds to make the others.
Fortunately some time later, the same white man who gave funds for building the school, showed there and saw the model desk and decided to help us with the money for other 49 quality desks. So it was very good and we organized the disabled carpenters and other ones to build all the desks for the schools. While this was happening I went out to do my Task Week in Mazabuka. Task Week in TCE Mazabuka I wrote a separated report about my time in Mazabuka, so I will not extend this too much. I went there and worked in the TCE project, I was designated to help a field officer in his work and for that I went to live in the bush, in a place without even electricity. We lived there for some days and each day we got our bicycled and cycled to different regions, talking, testing and counseling people in matters of HIV/AIDS.
Final Words When I came back to Kasama I just continued to organize some things that were left, like the desks in the schools, which has been completed and taken to the classes a few days later, other gardens, and also help to mobilize to community again for finishing the water point that we started there. So basically thatâ€™s the most important things that happened in my program in Zambia, it was very interesting and DAPP is doing a great project here, so I hope other DIâ€™s come and help them but also do their personal projects because this is what they need mostly here.
Published on Jul 30, 2011