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.
The original families have now had the privilege of becoming proud donors by passing on livestock, grass seed and vegetable saplings to a new generation of families in need. The sale of livestock and vegetables from their farm has earned project participant families an average of $2,993 during this reporting period. The increased income has also influenced the families’ food consumption habits by incorporating milk and fresh vegetables into their diet. Thirty-five families initiated vermiculture, and 40 families started using organic compost in their farms, reducing the amount of chemical fertilizer used in the community. Project participants are very aware of the impact of applying healthy practices in their households and communities. The addition of 23 concrete toilets and 35 improved cooking stoves built during this period will have a positive impact on improving the quality of life for beneficiary families. The communities involved in the project are enjoying a more harmonious life. Project activities emphasizing values-based development have resulted in the eradication of discriminatory behavior, disputes and domestic violence in participating groups. Many women have learned to read, write and have also become adept in basic numeracy skills, making their daily lives a lot easier. Infrastructure improvements in participating communities were evident during this period. The Laligurans and Kopila Women’s Group were awarded a grant for $1,392 from the Municipality Office to black-top more than half a mile of a community road. They also received $487 for controlling soil erosion on the riverbanks. Additionally, the Godavari Women’s Group received a plot of land worth $6,961 where a community building will be constructed. These are indicators of stronger group-cohesion and long-term vision for sustainable changes made possible by leveraging community resources and Heifer’s support.
Please see attached document for complete update.