Monthly Report – July 2022 Highlights

Jul 30, 2022 | Reports



Power of Breastfeeding

The power (benefits) of Breast milk, we discussed with the community on Wednesday. We talked of exclusive breastfeeding at regular intervals for infants from birth to 6 months old. We guided mothers not to give water or any food to infants (6 months and below) as these practices can bring about complications to babies, unfortunate this is a common practice in Masase and the  surrounding villages, feeding baby’s below the age of 6 months and leaving baby’s for hours without been breastfeed when mothers are in the fields. We also discussed the importance of having enough sleep for both babies and mothers (9-10 hours and 7-8 hours respectively).

Benefits of Beans

Beans are one of the staple crops in Masase village, however, the locals have a negative attitude to eating beans daily. They cultivate beans mostly for selling, therefore FARMSTEW Trainers had to discuss with the community the importance of having beans daily in our meals and creative ways to eat beans. We discussed the protein, starch, and vitamins present in beans. We also discussed how beans are contributing to longer life in the blue zones of the world like Okinawa where people live longer than most regions in the world.

Enriched Porridge

We also discussed the importance of enriching porridge to overcome malnutrition in babies, and how we can add Groundnuts, Soy powder, or residue from milk preparation. Since in Masase village ordinary beans are readily available, we trained people how to make enriched porridge by using just beans. The procedure is the same as that of making soy milk, except beans will be thick and smooth. The community was amazed at the taste.

Tomato Nurseries

Later in the day the community shared tomato nurseries.


MASASE VILLAGE – 13th JULY 2022 TRAINING (As Reported)

The meeting was postponed to Friday 15,2022 due to the funeral which was near our venue. The following was discussed:

Membership Fees

This money is contributed once per year at the beginning of the cycle of VSLA, which will be used within the group to Loan out and it acts as the first saving for individuals. We guided the community that this money has to be reasonable that everyone is able to afford even the poorest among us. The community members proposed and voted, K20 as membership fee.

Social Fund:

This money is used for group maintenance and helping members in cases of funerals, Sickness and other problems that the community will identify during the next meeting. They were guided that everyone has to come along with this fund every time when meeting for VSLA and it has to be as minimal as possible so that anyone is able to afford it, thus the group voted for K2 as Social Fund.


This is the main money for VSLA, the money that individuals will be used to buy shares with, every member has to come with this money when coming for VSLA meetings, along with Social Fund. We introduced the idea of 1 Star representing an amount, then the group to bank ranging from 1 Star to 5 Stars, unfortunately, the community was divided by this idea, it was ok with others while others complained that it would limit them in case they wanted to Save more, after hearing views from both parties the community agreed to save from as low as K10 and highest saving was K200.

Mischievous Funds

Money raised from members missing meetings without proper reasons, (proper reasons to be identified next by the community) and money from noise makers. (an individual has no claim for interest to this money for it belongs to the group).

VSLA Meeting Timings

The community agreed to be meeting twice a month, second week and fourth week, on Wednesdays of these weeks from 09:00 till 11:30.

Note: As per guidelines from the government, VSLA commonly as Village Banking in Zambia, groups will be made up of 20 members, thus our community will divided into 2 groups, meeting on same dates and time but different venues, FARM STEW Trainers will be monitoring the groups.


Proper Food Storage

Keeping foods safe and longer without being damaged- The community was guided on the importance of storing food (Grains) properly, this begins with harvesting at a right time,(not sooner or later than harvest season). As this could have a bad impact to create health hazards like Stunting and Cancer which might result from Aflatoxins. We told the community that Aflatoxins come as the result of storing grains that are not dry enough to be stored longer, thus it attracts moulds (fungus) that produce these toxins. wherefore for grains like corn to be stored moisture content has to be equal to or less than 14%.

We informed them, that instead of measuring the moisture with a moisture meter, which might require as to buy, we can use a simple test, the use of a dry jar and salt and put maize inside, roll and shake gently and leave the jar for 10 minutes to observe the clumping or sticking of salt together or on the jar walls.

We had two samples, one moist and the dry one, the dry one did not create salt clumps or stick on the jar walls meaning the moisture content was probably less than 14 percent and it was ready to be stored, while the moist one did, meaning the moisture was above 14 percent, indicating that it was not ready to be stored.

Village Saving and Loan Association

This activity is ongoing till the second week of August when savings and loans will start, as it is new to many.

The community came up with some rules for VSLA:

(i). VSLA members must all be FARMSTEW active members.
(ii). Coming 15 minutes later than the agreed time,it will attract K1 penalty.
(III). Absentee without the stated reasons (funeral/Sickness or been away from the village), must pay k5.
(iv). Loans must be paid back with 30 percent interest.
(v). Loans must be settled within 90 days, failure to which, a person must pay just interest(penalty) only and be given 10 more days to settle the loan plus interest (total of 100 days),if he or she fails, then the group will seize and sell his or her item equivalent to the loan and interest.
(vi). K100 from Social fund to be given if the member/spouse/child or parents is sick and referred to hospitals in town (BOMA).
(vii). K60 from Social fund to be given in case of funeral of Member/spouse/child or parent.
(viii). Noisemaker(s) are to pay k1.
(ix). No coming to meetings while drunk.

How to conduct VSLA meetings:

Before the groups identify and vote for VSLA chairs, secretaries, cashiers and executive members, we guided them all how a typical VSLA meeting is conducted as follows:
(1). Chair welcomes all with opening remarks.
(2). Secretary reads previous minutes and reading of rules.
(3). Chair calls for contribution of Social funds beginning with group member number till the last while secretary is recording.
(4). Calling for Savings start with number one till the last.
(5). Cashiers to count the total savings and social funds.
(6). Giving of Loans.
(7). Signing, every member should compare the information in the secretary record book and that in an individual pass book if it matches and then signs in the record book.
(8). After the signing, the chair makes the closing remarks and the meeting is adjorned.

32 FARMSTEW Members have paid K20 each as a VSLA membership fee, to date.



Baseline Data Collection

After Community Meeting we visited selected homes to interview FARMSTEW members their experience with FARM STEW so far the response was encouraging:

Felistas MAMBWE had this to say,

” I am happy for been trained by FARMSTEW how to make kitchen gardens,I have vegetables at my doorstep, even if I come at night from the fields, am able to get relish at my doorstep”.

Charles MIBENGE:

” Others who did not realized the importance of kitchen gardens, didn’t join FARM STEW, unfortunate we had a funeral in the village, I contributed vegetables from my kitchen garden when relish was not available the funeral”.

Belina CHIPANGULA is a widow and taking care of 3 children. She had this to say:

“Before FARM STEW trained and taught us the importance of kitchen gardens, we use to find it difficult every day to look for money to buy Relish, am thankful now that I have own vegetables without spending money”.

Rosemary MAMBWE;

“I have seeing the importance of FARMSTEW trainings, before I used to spend lots of money to to feed my family, now am able to get vegetables from my garden free”.



Duties of leaders, what was made clear to the community before voting their leaders, was that a leader is not a
boss but a servant of the people. Boss wants to be served and tells other what to do without him or her getting
involved while a leader is first to get involved. Therefore a leader should be honest, humble, hardworking and open.
(a). Chairperson; to open, guide and close the meeting.
(b). Secretary; taking notes/ minutes, reading of rules.
(c). Cashiers; counting of all the money’s collected, at every meeting.
(d).Box and Key keepers, his or her house should be secured, individuals should be trust worthy, and
should be given to 4 persons who are not related or close friends.
(e). Treasurer .Custodian of all the money’s in form of accurate records, not cash.

Dividing of the groups and voting VSLA LEADERS

FARMSTEW Masase is divided into VSLA groups A and B,each group has 25 members,(note Government recommendation is 20 person’s per group), on Wednesday 27/07/2022 we registered more than 40 persons who joined VSLA, therefore we had to accommodate everyone by adding 5 extras to each group.In the future this will be corrected so as to meet government recommendation.

Group A voted as follows:
(a). Chair lady; Rodah Kunda
(b). Secretary; Warren Ngosa
(c). Cashiers: Omely Mushili and Sandra Kabimba.
(d).Box keeper and Treasurer; Ruth Lubingu.
Key’s; George Chibuye, Eunice Chibuye (not related to George Chibuye) and Dyness Mambwe.

Group B voted the following:
(a). Chairman; James Mushili
(b). Secretary; Mulenga Nkupi
(c). Cashiers; Mervis Chipulu, Margaret Chisenga.
(d). Box keeper and Treasure; Kapya Chibamba
(e). Key keepers; Alex Mukosha, Gorgina Mukosha and Evelyn Lungu.

Fireless Cooker Demonstration

We pressed boiled sweetie potatoes into a box, sealed with dry grass at the beginning of our community meeting (12:00) at the end of our meeting(3 pm), the sweetie potatoes were well cooked and Hot. Everyone was surprised by how simple it is but with amazing results, and they were all eager to try it at home.

FARMSTEW Volunteers

Meeting identified FARMSTEW VOLUNTEERS, negotiating training day and time.

We later met with identified FARMSTEW VOLUNTEERS to encourage them and negotiate training day and time. The following are the names of the Volunteers;
(1). Tamara Nvula

(2). Belita Kapansula

(3). Rosemary Bwanga

(4). Charles Mibenge

(5). Obed Mambwe

(6). Another to be identified among men.

The meetings will occur as follows: Every Monday,13:00 to 15:00 training sessions for FARM STEM volunteers. The training would take a total of 16 hours, 2 hours every week.


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