2014 4th quarter news

Settlers leaving the centre

Settlers leaving the centre

We are pleased to offer you the 2014 4th Quarter Newsletter, rounding up the news for the year on some of our projects, successes and challenges in 2014.

It has been another busy year for the settlement project, and the end of an era for Mwomboshi and Kalwelwe settlement villages, as both have now reached full capacity. The final groups of families settled in October 2014 brought the totals to 102 and 47 families in Mwomboshi and Kalwelwe respectively.  Chisamba will now be the destination of choice for future settlers, where they will join a population that already numbers 230 families.

The administrative manager, Mr Joseph Silwenga, reports that by settling families in these villages we have offered a lesson of how rural development can be stimulated in Zambia, as MEC continues to provide infrastructure, social amenities and services such as schools and clinics to these villages. This in turn encourages the government to join us in developing facilities at these locations. There remains a good deal of work to be done, for example Chisamba is in the process of trying to build several classrooms for secondary school pupils and Mwomboshi is trying to source support for a clinic to serve nearly 10,000 people in the area.

image011We also have reports from the our Makeni Schools. In September, the secondary school visited the National Assembly building on a tour, including a visit to the main chamber where members of parliament debate. They also learned about the background and history of the National Assembly and the items kept there, such as the speaker’s mace. It sounds like they had a great day!

image005

Margaret Mulimba in striped green top

Deputy Headteacher, Margaret Mulimba, was in South Africa for a month, attending a peace-building and transformations course run by the Africa Peace-Building Institute. She will bring back her new found knowledge of the theory and practice of conflict resolution and other techniques, which will help feed into the work of the peace club at the school.

 

 

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Esther Chisenga in Katete

We also have a report from Esther Chisenga, a former pupil, who is now studying Enrolled Nursing at St Francis School of Nursing and Midwifery, nearly 500 km east of Lusaka. She is finding her work interesting and challenging and thanks Makeni Centre and the Friends of Makeni for their support and sponsorship.

Another noteworthy piece of information is that a letter of understanding has been signed between the Lusaka District Medical Officer and the centre, which will help to clarify the relationship between the centre and the government in our shared provision of medical services. Government clinics have been hosted at the centre since its early days, without formal arrangements. This agreement will help to put the understanding on a more formal footing.

image012Finally, here is a picture of Carien Plummiers from Kloosterkerk Worldwide, one of the most important supporters of MEC.  Amongst other activities, Carien demonstrated some handcraft works to the Children at St Nicholas Orphanage when she visited with her husband and two friends in November 2014, as shown here. Our thanks go out to all our supporters and visitors over the year!

Posted in Agriculture, Clinics, Primary School, Secondary School, Settlement Villages, St Nicholas Orphanage, Staff, Supporters, Volunteers | Leave a comment

2014 3rd quarter news

Here is the 2014_3rd_Quarter_Newsletter, reporting on a variety of interesting new projects, successes and challenges facing the centre in 2015.

image002We have reported before on the need for the secondary school to have a science laboratory for our students, but now we have a further challenge in that the government has required schools to have three separate laboratories for chemistry, physics and biology in order to be fully accredited and offer Grade 12 examinations. Currently our students have to travel to neighbouring schools to sit their exams, incurring considerable expense.  The estimated cost of building an additional two laboratories is K281, 000 ($45,400), not including lab equipment.

In the July 2014 meeting between the MEC Executive Committee and the Parents Teachers Association it was resolved that the project starts as soon as possible and assistance is already being offered by the Friends of Makeni in the Netherlands. Local fund-raising is also being undertaken.

image004We also celebrated our 43rd graduation ceremony, with Mrs Wenda Dil acting as guest of honour.

Our congratulations to all the graduates and their families, who will have helped support the students through their studies!

 

image005Thanks are due to our faithful and hard-working supporters Paul Jongeling and Vera Ootes, for helping to establish irrigation facilities on the centre’s grounds, which will mean that the agricultural department can grow crops year round. For the initial part of the project, maize, cabbage, onions, Chinese cabbage, and local vegetables such as pumpkin leaves and sweet potatoes leaves have been planted.

We also owe thanks to Barclays Bank, who continue to offer support to the orphanage. In June ten Barclays staff not oimage011nly offered advice on financial issues, supplied lunch, and brought paint supplies, but even rolled up their sleeves and helped to paint the dining hall!

It is so encouraging to have this kind of local support.

 

image012Another example of local expertise was seen in a three week course on bee-keeping taught by Mr Goodfellow Mugala, a student in Agricultural Settlement and member of the Bee-keepers Association of Zambia. He volunteered to offer the training knowing the potential that bee-keeping can offer farmers in the settlement villages.

MEC continues to do great work in reproductive health in the settlement villages, and ran a three-day programme in our villages in July and August, with support from the NGOCC. Over 1500 members of the community, including teachers, pupils and village leaders, took part in the event. The campaigns were coordinated by Mrs Catherine Oreta and facilitated by Mrs Getrude Shinkanga, a very experienced youth and gender expert.

image008Amongst our agriculture graduates in Mwomboshi is Figer Hakwaambwa. He joined us a young teenage father and is now able to look back on his experience. He is also offering advice to teenagers in the village on putting their education first, as well as occasionally volunteer teaching in the community school.

There is more on these stories in the newsletter!

 

 

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2013 Annual Report

Dear Friends, attached is our 2013 Annual Report.

In addition to reviewing some of the main stories of the year, we have reports on the activities of all the departments at the centre, and of the challenges and successes of the year.

Government introduction of sweeping changes to minimum wages (setting them at levels beyond the capacity of non-profit making organisations) proved a contentious issue,  however the centre maintained its services and continued to seek ways of expanding and focusing its offerings. There has also been a lot of long-term and strategic planning, with the help of Dutch experts.

Continuing challenges include water provision in our settlement villages, staff turnover and recruitment to some of the adult education courses on offer.

17 students who graduated in agriculture are working in various farms as
managers and farm supervisors. 19 students were enrolled in the Settlement
course, surpassing the targeted number of 15. All the Settlement students
completed their course and were settled in Mwomboshi and Chisamba Settlement
Villages. The department is also looking into the production of Aloe Vera as a cash crop.

An outbreak of African swine fever in the region meant that the piggery was not able to sell pigs, even though our own piggery was unaffected.

The Electronics department recruitment has been falling for some years, even though graduating students are much sought after, and therefore it is planned to phase out Electronic Systems Maintenance and Repair courses.

The primary and secondary schools continue to increase their enrollment and we have had great support in improving teaching practice from our volunteers and visitors.

The health services on offer, from HIV/AIDS counseling to family planning services continue to serve large numbers of people within our region, whilst the static clinic services have been phased out.

There is a lot more detail on the various projects in the attached report!

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2014 2nd quarter newsletter

Here are some more stories from the first half of the year at Makeni Ecumenical Centre in our 2014_2nd_Quarter_Newsletter:

Internally fundedPiggery block works renovations have been going on at the piggery block to improve the facility for student training, ensure the safety of the animals and increase livestock production, to help contribute to the centre’s income. Some roofing works remain to be done.

Piggery

The poultry production is next on the list for an upgrade!

We once again owe many thanks to our partners in Belgium and the Netherlands, who have funded the refurbishment of the shower and toilet facilities at St Nicholas Village for Children.

Refurbished shower blockSpecial thanks go to Paul Jongeling, Vera Ootes, and Mieke Claus for their support in this project, which has greatly raised the morale of the children and staff.

We regret to report that a bridge constructed in 2013 in Mwomboshi settlement village, which provided access for many residents to the clinic, secondary school, hammer mill and markets across Chalampa stream, collapsed in February after heavy rains, apparently due to inadequate building works on the part of the contractor. It is hoped that funds can be found to repair the bridge soon.

Grace Kambika

Grace Kambika

We also have news about a successful remedial study programme for Grade 9 pupils that produced great results for the students concerned, and testimony from Grace Kambika of St Nicholas Village of how Makeni Centre has helped her to progress through her studies and given her the ambition to succeed in life.

 

James Chininga

James Chininga teaching a lab at MEC

Finally there is more news from another Makeni student, James Chininga, who is studying biomedical sciences at Chikankata College. James reports that he is enjoying his studies, which already appear to be being put to good use, as evidenced by the photo here of James taking a laboratory session at MEC during a holiday visit. His thanks go to everyone who continues to support his studies.

Posted in Agriculture, General news, Primary School, Secondary School, Settlement Villages, Supporters | Leave a comment