Dear Friends of Makeni,              October 2004


It is time to send you a newsletter giving you updates on a number of issues pertaining to the projects of Makeni Ecumenical Centre, which you support so faithfully.   

1. Water Provision Settlement Villages


After months of delay caused by the supplier and importer and by a local contractor hired to erect and connect the windmills, we are now at long last able to report that the two windmills have been erected. However, the windmill in Mwomboshi is still not properly connected to the borehole. The windmill in Chisamba is now connected and delivers good quantities of water. The total cost of the purchase and installation of these two windmills was ~K72 million [US$15,700]. The next phase now is the erection and connection of six-metre high towers and 10,000 litre tanks. The cost of this stage will be about K15.6 million [US$3600] with the tanks being supplied from our own stock.  Additionally, we have asked the community to help in the construction of reservoirs for storing surplus water to be used for crop watering, gardening, livestock watering and domestic use, as their contribution.


The contractor working on these windmills has been disappointingly slow, and we shall not use his company again. We can only plead with him to finish the work, and to threaten with legal action when he fails to respond. 


One MEC supporter asked whether there is enough wind in Chisamba area all the time, and whether this arrangement of windmills is cost-effective in the sense that the mechanism does not require any other power except wind. We had these issues researched before we proceeded with the windmill projects, and obtained assurances to that effect.


We are encouraging settlers to view these projects as their own and take care of them. This is the reason why we want them to get involved in the fitting of the tanks and the construction of the reservoirs. We feel that they will be able to sustain the project only if they are trained in the maintenance of boreholes, windmills and reservoirs. Once we are satisfied with performance of the first two windmills, we shall proceed with the purchase and installation of a further two.


We agree in principle that part of the investment into the next phase of the windmills project should be raised by the villagers themselves through serious loan recovery. However, there are problems here which should not be ignored. Poverty levels in our nation keep going up, due to many factors. We feel one way the community can contribute is by doing some of the physical work attached to installing wind-driven pumps.  We are working hard to make sure that loans are recovered. So far we have recovered about K10, 000,000 [US$2,200] from the villages, and with much talking to them, we will be able to recover much more.  In Mwembeshi SV over 50 settlers out of 86 families have paid off all their loans.


2. Settlers' local initiatives:


For years, MEC has been encouraging settlers to lessen their dependency on MEC and to collaborate much more with local development agencies. As a result our settlers have sought the advice of and set up links with agencies like the Rural Investment Fund, the Programme against Malnutrition, the Agricultural Support Programme, the Kabulima Organic Farmers' Organisation, the Dunavant Cotton Agency, Cheetah Zambia (for paprika growing), Heifer International (for livestock), Care International (for conservation farming), the Zambia Social Investment Fund, the Conservation Farming Unit (in bee-keeping and cassava seed multiplication, and the Coffee Growers Association of Zambia). These initiatives are indicative that there have been large changes in the way settlers tackle their problems and strike out into new areas of farming.


3. Local Fundraising:


The Centre continues to work hard on getting local agencies to recognise the value and importance of our projects.


So, for example, recently USAID provided us with a grant of $10,727.30 for the HIV/AIDS workshops. This project has now been completed. By way of follow-up we are to send annual evaluation reports for the next three years. USAID has said it is very pleased with the way MEC set up and executed this project. See HIV/AIDS Projects report separately issued from time to time.


We have also received a grant of K80, 734,793 [US$ 17,000] from NGOCC through the Grant Management Unit. K30, 500,000 of this will be for the training of community-based VCTC Counsellors.

K50, 234,793 will be for the running of the AIDS Orphanage Village.


4. Canadian Support Group for MEC:  


Dr Pierre G Dil and Mrs Lee Ann Dil have initiated a small non-profit group support group for MEC in Canada called "Zambia Health and Education Fund", which will enable them to solicit donations for MEC in Canada. We just got notification from the BC provincial government that the name registration has been accepted.


5. St Nicholas Orphanage Village:


The aforementioned Canadian support group, and others in Canada, sent quite a lot of boxes with gifts for the children. Among the gifts were teddy bears for the children.  The Housemother, Judy Passmore, reported,


The children were delighted with them and would not be parted from them. They slept with them. The next morning when I came to the Home, I found all the children clinging to their teddies. We have not yet decided to whom to give the rest of the teddies in the community. Say thank you also to your group ‘AIDS Angels of Africa’ for all the good and hard work and the money that they donated. Your ladies and donors are great. All the clothes are nice to wear - skirts, T-shirts, trousers, dresses, warm clothes and then football shirts. We all, even me, put on a football jersey. Thank you also for the medicines! You are so good. May you continue to work for what is good. Giving is a gift from God. Read, Roman's 12: 6-8, Acts 22: 3-7, Corinthians 9:6 and Galatians 6:10. Thank you also for the toys and books I pray that our wonderful God will continue blessing you.


The children themselves wrote,


Greetings in the wonderful name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We hope God is richly blessing you. Here we are all fine. We children of St Nicholas Orphanage would like to express our hearty felt gratitude to you for the various gifts such as clothes, teddies, books, toys and many more that we received. Each one of is really overwhelmed by these special gifts. We even took photographs while having them unpacked from the boxes and receiving them per child. The toys are beautiful and very colourful. We have never seen so many toys in our lives. What can we say? The young boys, Maybin and Christopher, played and played with the cars. They could not even put them down. We have already been told by ambuya and the aunties not to leave toys all over the place but to put them back in boxes. The girls also had some soccer jerseys given to them. We shall use them when playing other games like net ball.  Yours sincerely, Bertha Kabwe / on behalf of my brothers and sisters in Christ at St Nicholas.


6. Adult Education Courses & Graduation Ceremony:


Mrs Christine Allen reports:


The 33rd Graduation Ceremony took place last Friday 10th September at 10.00hrs. Dr Paul Zambezi, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training was the Guest of Honour. It was a very colour and enjoyable event.


In order to add to the colour of this annual ceremony, the Centre had "graduation gowns" made this time, which students could rent at K30, 000. Photographs of the event are available on request from Fr Mukuyamba, the Centre's Chairman.


The results for the 2003 - 2004 Academic Year are as follows:






To Re-write

Agricultural Training Dept."G"






Agric. Settlement Dept.





To be settled

Homecraft & Tailoring School







In Agriculture General "G" there is a practical certificate and a certificate in theory. All the 14 students in Agric G passed their practical exam and they were issued certificates for the practical work they did in the various subjects.  In HSN all the 11 students passed their Tailoring and Dress Designing Practical Examinations. They also receive two certificates.


Mrs Allen comments,


Some may criticise these examination results but MEC's mission is to offer skills and training to students who would otherwise be thrown out of the education system because of their lack of qualifications, or because they are too poor to afford the fees for further education. We accept students of different levels of education from grade 7 to grade 12. One cannot therefore even begin to compare our results with, e.g., those of students at the National Resources Development College because NRDC only accept Grade 12 students with very good results in Maths, English and Science. Other smaller Agriculture Training Institutions like Monze and Mpika accept students with a minimum of grade 9 certificate.


The students who take the Agriculture Settlement Course all do well because we bring them to the same level. They do an oral exam and their practical work is monitored throughout the year. We are now thinking of new ways and methods to handle students who find it too difficult to even read, write or understand the exam questions.


The Carpentry and Joinery Department results come out in May 2005, and Electronics School results will come out in March or April 2005.  With upgrading of the Computer Courses fees have also been increased - now to K60, 000 per course.


7. Upgrading of Office and Educational Equipment at MEC


MEC has recently acquired two vital items of office equipment through a grant received from the Kloosterkerk, The Hague, Holland.  A photocopier was bought in June. Its arrival made all the difference in the efficient running of the office and in producing educational materials. To protect this expensive new equipment, staff were properly trained in the use of same, and apart from Mrs Allen, only one person, Andrew, the bookkeeper, will be allowed to do the photocopying, and Tamara, the Assistant Bookkeeper, in his absence.


In September, a new computer and printer, costing K5, 160,000, were bought from the remainder of the Klooster Kerk grant. Thus many months of frustration and battling with constant breakdowns and faults with the old computer finally ended. The "old" computer is now being used by the two bookkeepers in the Accounts Department. We are very grateful for these gifts of equipment and MEC looks forward to much improved administrative performance.


A fine gift of money, raised through a church collection at the wedding of a couple of the Klooster Kerk, is being used in the buying of teaching and learning materials for MEC's Adult Education Department.  As soon as this project is completed it will be reported on in a next newsletter.


The Ministry of Science, Technology & Vocational Training have made a grant for the purchase of chairs, desks and office furniture for MEC but delivery of these has been postponed because the person in-charge of the project is on leave...


We hope the above reports are of interest to you. Please use them to publicise our work in your congregation and among friends. Its contents will be included also in our website which you may visit at (There may be delay between the newsletter and website materials being updated.)


8. Mailing List


The webmaster says:


The new host provides a mailing list facility, which we are now testing for the first time.  It only allows us to send text or raw HTML. Sending photos is a little complicated and you may need to give Outlook Express (if that’s what you use) permission to view them by clicking on a message it displays when viewing the email.


Please let the webmaster (Anton Dil) know, by mailing

·       If we are not using your preferred email address

·       If you would prefer not to receive the newsletter

·       If you know the address of someone else who might like to receive the newsletter


There are bound to be some teething problems as we begin experimenting with the mailing list facility. Please bear with us as we sort them out.


We are experimenting with sending this as HTML, and are aware that Outlook Express has a marvellous capacity to mangle it, even though it is written with another Microsoft product.  You will be able to view the letter properly on the website ( If this turns out to be too much of a hassle, then we shall revert to sending a plain text email with a link to the full newsletter, or with the newsletter as an attachment. If you have any strong feelings about this, please let the webmaster know! 


Yours in Christ,


Very Revd Canon Pierre J Dil / Founder-Director MEC