I have just returned from a two month visit to Zambia.
Despite the rain stopping early, a reasonable maize crop is expected. The poultry and dairy projects are doing well. Guinea fowl and fish are now mature and ready to increase their numbers to provide a good stock of both.The guinea fowl were the first birds to be reared from eggs using a new incubator recently donated
The centre is now accredited to Teveta – the local training body – and is able to undertake examinations on site. Unfortunately staffing issues prevented the tailoring students from sitting their exams last term. We hope to have a new trainer in post soon and the students will then be able to sit their exams – in the meantime at least two are producing goods and selling them to help maintain themselves and their families. Another past student is keeping chickens to earn a living.
It was agreed to try to increase community involvement in the project and encourage local youth leaders to make use of the facilities for their own activities where it doesn't impact on the training operations. It is likely that some sports and other activities will take place at the centre, leading to more young people becoming involved in learning skills. It is also important to help the young people to be encouraged to get involved in positive activities, rather than drifting into the local bars.
While I was at the Centre the first 5 beehives were set up by the orchard. A further 15 hives have been constructed and will be positioned in due course.
The water supply has been improved and an irrigation system has been purchased for the paddock where a special grass has been planted for the animals. This is expected to improve the milk yield and ensure the animals are kept healthy.
There has been a delay with the piggery because of the restrictions imposed due to an outbreak of swine flu. This is expected to be resolved shortly and the pigs will be introduced to the site.
The added awareness of the community has sparked new interest from some of the young people in the area, keen to learn some skills. There are increased opportunities available as a result of the increased variety of agricultural activities now taking place, with the potential to change the lives of many of the local disadvantaged teenagers.
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