Increased income -- The production of milk and dairy products along with vegetable crops has become a major source of income for the families. Poultry farming and mobile petty shops are also additional income generating sources for some groups.
Engagement in collective income generating activities has enabled groups to multiply their group funds, which are loaned to needy members at a low interest rate.
Having access to a regular income has enabled families to enroll their children in school and tend to their health care needs. With surplus income in hand, many families have improved their houses and bought assets such as land to expand production activities.
Improved nutrition, hygiene and sanitation -- Hygiene and sanitation of project families has improved through the construction of 31 concrete toilets and 20 improved stoves in family homes. The supply of clean drinking water and a sewage system are all contributing to a decrease in health risks and disease.
CAHWs (Community Animal Health Workers) are very active in the communities providing their services. Through frequent visits they ensure that animal sheds, feeds and health care are given proper and timely attention.
Families are consuming nutritious, healthy and balanced meals. Their diets include fresh vegetables produced in their kitchen gardens and milk. Special priority is given to infants, adolescent girls and pregnant mothers in view of their nutritional requirements.
The Copperbelt Rural Livelihood Enhancement Support Project (CRLESP) has been operating in the four districts (Masaiti, Mpongwe, Kalululshi, and Luanshya) of the Copperbelt since October 2010. Its target is 6,210 direct project families who will enhance their livelihood through integrated agricultural production, enterprise development, promoting human health, water and sanitation.Heifer International being the lead implementing organization has partnered with the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) and Village Water Zambia (VWZ) as a strategy to achieving a holistic sustainable community development.
The project has worked closely with government partners from Ministries of Community Development, Mother & Child Health (MCDMCH) and Agriculture & Livestock (MAL). These have also been providing training and monitoring project activities. To enhance the partnership and project ownership by participants, review and planning meetings are held monthly at community level.
To date the project has reached 2937 families through various interventions; provision of livestock 140, vegetable production 120, human nutrition 120, agro forestry 82, water and sanitation activities 2495.
Photos to come
This project, which only began at the end of November, 2011, has made great progress. SHGs (Self-Help Groups) have been founded, group rules and development plans have been made through group discussions. SHGs received trainings on Values-Based Holistic Community Development and Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development. A total of 130 original project families underwent training in animal management and received 141 cattle.
Difficulties encountered included project farmers wanting to hold on to traditional but unsustainable animal husbandry methods. In technical trainings, the environmental and economic costs and benefits of raising livestock using traditional versus new methods were compared. This comparison demonstrated the advantages of the new methods of animal husbandry, changing the farmers’ attitudes toward change. During a one-month period, 130 project families rebuilt their cattle shelters and worked to create better facilities to help the cattle survive through the winter.