- The month of DECEMBER is broken down into 4 sessions of Training in the Village of Masase, Chieftainess Serenje’s area. A steady 30-40 attendees. Planting season is in full swing.
- VSLA meetings have continued to improve with increased savings and plans for business investment as before
- Farm Stew City Training carried out successfully in one of the high density areas of Lusaka in tough terrain. Team is highly motivated and were kitted out to begin working.
- Continued preparation of existing Farm Stew participant homes to become Certified Homes is on-going as before.
- Delivery of additional support for the existing Farm Stew Team still to be delivered, plus other needs to ease the current work and anticipated challenges of reaching and entering new areas.
1.0 Masase Village – 7th December (As Reported)
1.0 Good nutrition (Meals) is one of the important recipes for abundant life, however if meals are poorly prepared or contain little or zero nutritional value it causes malnutrition, for this reason FARM STEW Trainers and Volunteers conducted further cooking demonstrations for the existing community and new members.
1.1 Banana preparation: Bananas being one of the primary sources of starch and potassium, FARM STEW participants were guided on how to prepare boiled and fried raw bananas with the addition of onion, tomatoes and green peppers, as an alternative meal for Irish potatoes and other starch meals.
FARM STEW community members were producing much fruit and vegetables but the need for preserving needed to be re emphasized because in the times of plenty, tomatoes for instance only get spoiled, instead of going to waste, they were introduced to other methods of preservation.
2.0 Tomato Honey jam
It was demonstrated to the community how they can make healthy Jam, using tomatoes and honey. it can be dried to preserve for future and make jam.
3.0 Boil Soy
Soy been one of the nutritious legume. People in Masase village didn’t know that it can be prepared as a palatable nutritious relish.
(Earlier training involved Milk and Tofu production only)
Therefore FARMSTEW Trainers had to demonstrate to the community how to prepare it.
3.1 Soy Mandazi and Soy enriched porridge.
The excess soy that remained after getting some for soy relish was pounded to make Soy enriched porridge and Mandazi.
B. Enriched Soy Porridge
4.0 Sharing a meal
After all the meals for the day were prepared, the community cooked Nshima(maize meal staple), Eggplants and wild Greens, and enjoyed a fellowship lunch together.
2.0 Masase Village – 14th December (As reported)
Enterprise – VSLA
Trainers encouraged members to balance how they get loans and save more than they were currently doing.
It was observed within the village that farms would sell off enough produce, and yet they would just waste the money without improving their lives, this was noted as a result of illiteracy and not putting in place budgets, therefore FARM STEW Trainers helped VSLA members by taking notes of members budgets and projects which they desired to accomplish at the end of the VSLA cycle.
Some of the projects members want to do;
- Buy Building materials
- Different types of Businesses
- University tuition fees for children and many more.
The total savings for both groups A and B was K4,000.00 only for 14th December,2022.
Farming – Soya
Soybean farming was introduced in Masase village two years ago by Outgrowers who did little to guide the villagers on how to plant and manage soy beans therefore many farmers do not have experience on how to successfully grow it. There are cases where a farmer(s) sowed 50kgs × 5 bags and end up harvest 50kgs × 9 bags, these are some of the unsuccessful stories, for this reason many villagers look at one who venture into soyabean farming as a time waster.
FARM STEW Trainers after observing the methods being used by many small scale farmers in Masase village, took note of the common mistakes being done;
- Late planting
- No proper spacing between rows
- Planting minimum of 10/15 seeds within a single hole.
- No timely weeding.
Therefore with many farmers receiving their 2022/2023 farming inputs (soyabean seeds and fertilizers), FARM STEW Trainers took it as a privilege to demonstrate to the community a successful way of planting soybeans.
- Demonstrated how to space rows with a distance of 50cm in between.
- Demonstrated spacing within rows, from hole to hole, minimum of 5cm to 30 cm.
- Number of seed per hole,1 or 2 soyabean to be covered 2.5 cm beneath.
- WEEDING, which should be done 2nd week after germination and 5th week.
- . Application of either organic fertiliser or any other 30 days after germination.
- Timely harvest, when the bean is mature and dry enough.
- High quality seeds; the community were instructed to collect 33 seeds on top of the bag,33 in the middle and 34 seeds on the bottom and plant them on a demo plot to check the seed quality by observing the germination percentage, if 85 or more seeds germinate after a week, this is an indication of good quality.
- To Plant as soon as the rains fully kick in.
It was made known to the community that with all these steps followed, one can plant 25 kg soybeans within a hectare (100× 100) and have a successful harvest.
4.0 Masase Village – 28th December 2022 (As Reported)
Enterprise – VSLA
The two VSLA group’s (A) and (B) had a joint meeting in a class room at Masase primary, this was due to the continuous heavy rains.
The total savings collected and interest accumulation from loans of both groups after 4 months since VSLA started in August is K30,000. ($1875.00)
Because of the unity seen among VSLA FARMSTEW participants, the members have agreed to contribute K200 each at the end of the VSLA cycle in August,2023,the total cash expected from all members is K200 × 55 = K 11,000.This money will be invested into buying of maize and reselling, thus every member will have a 2% share from the profit made, which in turn will help others to use the money to buy shares in VSLA group’s.
Once every member has contributed a K200 each from their VSLA savings and shares of 2022/2023 cycle, the rest of the money they will spend on their projects and own businesses which trainers will monitor to ensure their moneys are put to good use. Every VSLA member was asked to think of what he/she is saving for, freely members registered with trainers, which in return FARM STEW Trainers will monitor to see that, that which one registered to save for is what he/she achieved.
Urban Farm Stew planters at work (November & December 2022)
Balm Of Hope Farm Stew planters with 6(six) new groups that are being established in the urban high- density, low income informal areas (slums) in the city of Lusaka. Only 7(seven) of the group of 13(thirteen) are represented. The other 6(six) are actively putting together their groups. By end of January the reports will start coming in.
Pictures only of samples being prepared in Planters Training
- FARM STEW TRAINERS are actively engaged with surrounding communities and villages to begin programs. Continuing.
- The 6 Volunteers have started working side by side with the Trainers according to the training received and having Bible studies.
- We continue to make gains spiritually and face challenges at the same time as before.
- Feedback from new Farm Stew Planters in the high density urban locations is very encouraging with one from the group starting two groups already single-handed in two areas of 15 people and 7 with expected growth on those numbers. Another Planter organised 14 at the Rehabilitation centre and the group is expected to grow. It should be noted that because of space limitations and the occupations of most people in these areas, arranging for large groups is a big challenge.
- We have initiated discussions with the Ministry responsible for NGO’s for a model of Savings and Loans to suit the high density urban locations similar to VSLA
- The Farm Stew Lunga Mission in the Lake Bangweulu wetlands island of Bwalya Mponda was completed successfully and a small Team identified to be Trained. Soy bean sample planting area identified and planting to be attempted. Soybean and sunflower seeds delivered to the Island…. and planting has begun.
REPORTS COMPILED BY: H.Zebron – WGFSI. 01/01/23
Annexure: Report on spiritual growth
Masase village like many other surrounding villages far and near in Serenje District and Central Province of Zambia are unentered areas, most of the Villagers profess to the faith of Jehovah’s Witness, which in many villages in Central Province of Zambia is like a traditional church to the people, for example in Chief Serenje Chiefdom, the Chieftainess professes to the faith of Jehovah’s Witness.
Other than the Jehovah’s Witness faith being received as a traditional church, one other obstacle to the Advent Mission in these areas and in Masase village is that JW members have been taught and convinced that they hold the truth and they need no one to stand before them to present any other message of salvation, meaning that even organizing any other meeting be it social or religious by a non Jehovah’s Witness member is a challenge to have people attend.
When my wife and I joined brother Daniel Lungu in Masase village to be permanent residents doing voluntary mission work in the year 2020, we had challenges having influence on the Villagers, especially when they heard that our soul purpose of being in Masase village was to introduce a “new faith” to them.
The year 2020 and 2021 ended with few persons attending Seventh-day Adventist church services,the church only had 10 members,of which during rain seasons, November to March attendance was dropping to 5 ,while others would be away from the village.
In March of 2022,when Br Daniel, my wife (Leah B. Mutale) and I were trained as FARMSTEW Trainers, immediately after our training we introduced FARMSTEW curriculum to the Villagers,of which the first few meetings we had over 100 households registered. unfortunate when the local leaders of the Jehovah’s witnesses realized that FARMSTEW an it’s trainers is getting influence on their members,the leaders discouraged their members by threatening to remove them from fellowship.
Almost half of the registered FARMSTEW participates withdrawal their membership, but we praise Our God of wonders,55 remained and vowed not to stop attending FARMSTEW meetings because of the lessons they are gaining which are transforming their ATTITUDE,which in turn their lifestyle is changing positively, physical, Social spiritual.
We are encouraged with the change and influence that FARMSTEW has brought in Masase village,this is giving Us (missionaries) an open door to befriend all FARMSTEW participates,who in return are they themselves are inviting us to their homes.
Direct or indirect,FARMSTEW has enabled the Seventh-day Adventist church to grow in Masase from a Sabbath school branch of 10 members to a 50+ members,of which in September of 2022,the Chitambo mission district Pastor,Pr. Elijah Siitambuli and the district officers visited Masase Sabbath school branch to give it a status of Masase Company,the few members are now contributing to the world church through tithes and offerings,5 souls are ready to be baptized once the Pastor is available to do the ceremony.
The only challenge is that the members are congregating in a classroom, meanwhile the church was given the land where to build, unfortunate the progress is slow due financial constraint. More members are promising to join the Adventist after the building is erect,as it is strange for most Villagers in Masase to fellowship in a classroom.
Masase Company SDA has is overseeing a Sabbath school branch called Makolongo 15 km from Masase,here we are also planning to establish a FARMSTEW community.
Nevertheless there is still much work in Masase and the surrounding villages,the harvest is reap,doors are opening.We are grateful for 50+ members who are confessing to the Adventist faith in Masase village,but these members are out of 6,000+ villagers.
Due to the positive influence FARMSTEW is giving us in t Masase village,by God’s grace,2023 our plans is to reach out other Villages within the Serenje chiefdom to establish FARMSTEW communities and Sabbath school branches. Our goal this year is tobestablish at least a minimum of 5 new communities within the chiefdom.The furthest Village in the chiefdom from Masase is Kabansa Village in the Muchinga escarpment mountains,65+ km away.
FARMSTEW Masase co-ordinator.