FARM STEW Zambia conducted a comprehensive 1-month training session on Ncheta Island in the Bwalya Mponda Chiefdom, Lunga District, following the Q3 2022 mission. This initiative was part of the broader FARM STEW campaign aimed at addressing the unique challenges faced by the district, characterized by wetland areas with a significant population relying on fishing camps and limited agricultural practices. The ultimate goal was to train a core group of planters who could then spread their knowledge across a vast wetland area of over 4,000 sq km and a population of over 40,000 people.
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The training began on April 11, 2023, and its main objective was to identify suitable candidates to be trained as FARM STEW Planters. This approach was taken to ensure that the individuals selected were genuinely dedicated and actively engaged in their communities. The selection criteria included:
- being Adventists,
- committing to work at least one day a week with their communities,
- possessing basic literacy skills
- demonstrating dedication through consistent attendance and passing an assessment at the end of the training.
After careful consideration, 11 candidates were shortlisted, comprising 6 males and 5 females.
The training covered various modules, including the introduction to FARM STEW’s mission, focusing on addressing issues of hunger, disease, and poverty, with inspiration drawn from John 10:10’s message of abundant life. Key topics included organic and nutrition-sensitive farming methods, fostering positive attitudes and making constructive choices, prioritizing rest for both individuals and mothers, promoting plant-based diets for health and sustainability, emphasizing sanitation practices, practicing temperance, exploring financial freedom through savings and investments, and understanding the importance of clean water and its purification methods.
Practical components were integrated into the training, such as creating kitchen gardens, planting soybeans (a potential alternative to over-fishing), preparing soy-based meals (like soy milk, tofu, and sausage), building tippy-taps for sanitation, constructing rocket stoves, and learning about water purification techniques including boiling, heat pasteurization, and sunshine pasteurization.
Upon completion of the training, candidates were assessed on their knowledge of FARM STEW content, their confidence to present to their communities, their ability to use scripture references as outlined in the FARM STEW manual, and their commitment to dedicating eight hours per week to FARM STEW activities. Out of the 11 candidates, 8 successfully met these standards and graduated as FARM STEW’s First Planters in the Lunga District of Luapula Province.
However, the training encountered some limitations. English illiteracy was a barrier for most candidates, except for four individuals. Additionally, the lack of smartphones for capturing photos and writing reports posed challenges, with only one candidate having access to such technology.
Farm Stew Zambia conducted an intensive training program on Ncheta Island to equip a core group of dedicated individuals as Farm Stew Planters. The training covered a range of topics aimed at improving nutrition, health, sanitation, and financial independence in the unique context of the wetland area. The successful graduation of eight candidates marked a significant step toward implementing Farm Stew’s mission in the Lunga District, despite the limitations faced during the training process.