Monthly Report – August 2022 Highlights

Sep 23, 2022 | Reports

Introduction

  • The month of AUGUST is broken down into 5 sessions of Training in the Village of Masase, Chieftainess Serenje’s area and the KABANSA VILLAGE Mission which was succesfully carried out and a separate Report prepared.
  • Once again the number of attendees has remained consistent with 30-45 people. New interest has been observed as expected especially with the starting VSLA. Numbers have increased this month.
  • Calls continue to be received to begin Farmstew Programs in other Villages and Kabansa being the furtherst and remotest south has brought a full realization to the importance and need for this Mission.
  • The preparation of existing Farm Stew participants to become Certified Homes has intensified and there is eagerness on the part of those engaged for the process. The long term effects of this process we are sure will not go unnoticed at higher authority levels as interest has been shown on the effectiveness of this program.
  • VSLA is growing

1.0 Masase Village – 3rd August Training (as reported)

  1. Preparing Masase FARM STEW participants into FARM STEW Certified Homes.
  2. Preparing members for Village Saving and Loan Association.
  3. Encouraging and guiding members to dig at least 5 fruit tree pits.

1.1 FARMSTEW

Today we spent time encouraging our members to meet all FARMSTEW criteria for certification, of all participants at least 35 have the following;

  • Kitchen garden (at least with minimal of 3 varieties)
  • 2 pits plus clean environment.
  • Tippy Tap.
  • Toilet
  • Nourished under 5 children (we are yet to determine this).

Plus, Some belonging to faith groups and belonging to VSLA.

While 15 members are missing one or two of the criteria but they all have kitchen gardens, which we encouraged them to have all having now see the benefits

1.2 VSLA

VSLA Participants were encouraged to come up with short and long term business plans, so as to allow them to get Loans and use it wisely with plans in place. They can do big businesses or complete big projects at the end of the circle (year) after getting all their savings and interests, while within the circle they can get Loans to buy things like agriculture imports, and do other small businesses. VSLA groups A and B were encouraged to think of businesses they can do together so as to maximize their income.

1.3 Saplings

SAPLINGS Participants were encouraged to prepare in advance at least 5 fruit tree pits and add manure. In order to encourage members to meet all FARMSTEW criteria, 20 participants received Avocado Haas trees, these are the  ones who have managed to put in place all criteria. We also guided them how they can properly plant to have successful results. The use of rocks and manure. We also encouraged them to make an enclosure for the trees. The rest of the participants will all also receive soon.

2.0 Masase Village – 10th August 2022 Training (as reported)

The following activities were done;

  • Village Saving and Loan Association operation
  • The Importance of rest.

2.1 VSLA

FARMSTEW Masase began its Village Saving and Loan Association operation, with 50 members split into two groups A and B, 25 members to each group.

Group A will be meeting at Mr Nkupi’s place while Group B will be meeting at Mr Charles Mibenge’ place all with the leaders in place. Our first successful VSLA operation all groups met at one place to guide them together (practically) how a VSLA meeting is chaired from start to end.

  • We guided them on how to keep accurate records.
  • How money is to be counted by the cashiers, to be done in the presence of everyone.
  • Collection and disbursement of funds.
  • Signing of every member after checking one’s records in the treasurer’s book.

Total funds collected on the day, which includes,

  1. Membership fee
  2. Late fee (penalty),coming past 15 minutes after the meeting start.
  3. Savings.

Group A collected K1600 plus a K44 Social Fund, while Group B collected K 1626 plus K42 social Fund. Total from both groups was K3226 plus (K86  social Fund), Before the end of the meeting all except social fund money, were given out as loans which will attract 30% interest (as voted by VSLA members) when giving back to the group.

The Loan given to members depended on one’s Savings;

  • K10 – K40 Savings, can get loan of not more than K100.
  • K50 – K100 Savings, one can get loan up to K300.
  • K110 – K200 Savings, one can get loan up to K500.

 The members enjoyed the meeting and appreciated this initiative to save and get Loans within the village.

2.2 Rest

Later in the day after VSLA meeting, we taught the importance of Rest; Night and weekly rests.

We encouraged FARMSTEW members to work hard, and have enough rest every night at least 7-8 hours for adults and 10  or more hours for infants/babies. We taught them that having enough rest will save them from health challenges that come as the result of inadequate rest like fatigue and other related challenges, which may demand money at times to get treatment for those who could not realize it’s origin.

We also discouraged the use of marijuana among FARMSTEW members, which acts as a stimulant, causing one to be over working without desiring rest which was very harmful to health.

3.0 Masase Village Training – 17th August 2022 (as reported)

Organic sustainable farming

We discussed the importance of organic sustainable farming and engaged FARMSTEW community members to tell us the changes they have seen by answering the following questions asked by FARMSTEW Trainers;

Q. 1. In the fields surrounding us, did you apply fertilizers in the past (inorganic fertilizer)?

A.“No, we did not, but now the old fields require application of fertilizers (inorganic),this is forcing us to move far from our village settlement looking for land which can be used without requiring application of inorganic fertilizers”.

Q.2. What has changed with our old fields?

A. The soil fertility is deprived.

Q.3. At first our old fields were fertile; where was the fertility coming from?

A.    From Leaves.

We then addressed this question, we informed the community that the fertility of our old fields was coming from Leaves, small sticks that would fall and decompose, also from wild animal waste and animal carcass_-

Addressing question number 2,what has changed to our old fields,?

We informed the community that due to;

  1. Cutting down of trees(Deforestation-locally called Chitemene),our fields are not having leaves and sticks to decompose.
  2. Fires, due to traditional culture, from 10′ September of each year, the Forests are to be set on fire, this does not allow the leaves and sticks to decay also all the microbes that helps the decomposition process are destroyed from fires.
  3. Poaching; due to poaching the wild animals which used to provide waste, which added to soil fertility, animals have moved to far places.
  4. Crop rotation; due to growing the same crops year after year, this has also contributed to depraved soil fertility.
  5. Introduction of inorganic fertilisers in our fields, these are chemicals which destroy the soil, also contributing to malnutrition due to a lack of nutrients, yes the plant or crop may grow strong and green, yet it would be lacking nutritional value.

We encouraged our members to adopt the use of organic Manure, like chicken droppings, and making of compost pits in kitchen Gardens, the use of cover crops for larger fields and to avoid burning the fields because the crops grown using this method are healthy and do not destroy the soil.

Proper Plant Spacing

We shared green pepper seedlings, and guided our members, especially new members how to properly plant them, so as to provide enough space for individual plants for sunlight and manure.

4.0 Masase Village Training – 24th August 2022 (as reported)

The following activities were done:

  1. Overcoming 4 RS with forgiveness.
  2. Village Saving and Loan Association.

4.1 Overcoming;

  • Revenge; wanting to get even with one who offended us.
  • Retaliation; similar to revenge.
  • Rejection: feeling as though we are not needed and
  • Resentment: being angry.

We discussed with the community how failure to forgive someone can negatively affect both parts, the offender and the offended.

  • The offended can experience high levels of cortisol hormones which might increase blood pressure (HBP).
  • Others may develop depression due to continued thinking about the offence committed to him or her.
  • This might also lead to premature facial ageing due to a constantly expressing anger. “A merry heart doeth   good like medicine”.
  • Failure to forgive might also lead to physical fighting or even bewitch someone who wronged you.

Then we advised the community that overcoming all this, is to forgive one another just as God constantly forgives us.

One parent openly expressed her experience with her in-law whom she doesn’t get along with, she requested any of the FARMSTEW members to help her reconcile with her in-law.

This encouraged us as FARMSTEW Trainers seeing after the lesson someone openly express her remorse for her in-law.

4.2 VSLA

The activities were conducted well by their leaders,(Chairpersons, Secretaries and cashiers), FARMSTEW Trainers were just observers and advised whenever our help was needed.

  • VSLA Group A, contributed K 1,620, while
  • VSLA Group B contributed K2,711.

The moneys were given to those who wanted loans and to those who settled their previous loans.

5.0 Masase Village Training – 31st August 2022 (as reported)

The following activity took place.

REST; THE FOCUS ON OUR WEDNESDAY MEETING WAS REST FOR MOTHERS. Farmstew Trainer and volunteers educated the community ,both fathers and mothers the importance of Rest for mothers. The following points were highlighted

  • Planning Ahead Protects and Honours. It is important to plan ahead because it will help women not to have unintended pregnancies and women’s wishes need to   be respected and their rights honoured. Husbands and wives can plan together to   make these decisions.
  • Pregnancy makes intense physical demands, pre pregnancy demand changes in a woman’s body, not only her belly gets larger but even breasts and the body and she also has to produce nutrient rich blood and extra vessels to give the baby.
  • A woman’s needs during pregnancy, her body requires good quality food in order to resupply it with nutrients, rest and avoid stress.
  • Why plan for your Family, it’s very important for parents to plan their family size   so that they are able to provide food, clothes and able to take them to school.
  • Child spacing, birth spacing of two years is very important, if there is spacing of less than 6 months the risk of the mother having complication are very high, even death.
  • The Father’s part; it is the father’s responsibility to be the provider of   food and shelter, it is his job to guard the health of his wife and children, father’s need to take an active part in holding and caring for the baby, physical food is only one of the   ingredients but  also love and affection.

We were greatly encouraged during this meeting because the community was alive with questions and contributions.

We hope this knowledge will be passed beyond Farmstew community to others who are not yet Farmstew members.

Further Information

  • Demand for new Trainers is increasing as the existing Team is being spread thin.
  • The 6 Volunteers selected continue with weekly Training.
  • Additional Trees to be distributed before the rains set in especially the participants that have prepared their planting holes.
  • We continue to make gains spiritually and face challenges at the same time.
  • The Kabansa Village Mission has been a main highlight of this months activities, given the challenges of just getting there and the dynamics of the area.
  • URBAN TRAINING planned for end October is on course to take place in the centre of a very high density unplanned area, in a Rehabilitation Centre for disabled and disadvantaged children.
  • The Coordinator for Farm Stew Masase will lead the Farm Stew Team in the Lunga Mission in the Lake Bangweulu wetlands island of Bwalya Mponda week beginning 25th September 2022. This will be both a Training Mission and used for further Data collection in the vast area with inhabited small and large Islands largely a challenge to reach and consequently neglected.

Projects

Learn about our efforts in various parts of the country.