The FARM STEW Program displays varying degrees of success across different villages, with some showing progress while others struggle due to various reported challenges.
Despite intermittent droughts, most individuals are diligently preparing their fields for planting maize, groundnuts, soybeans, and sunflowers. Construction of garden fences is underway, with many awaiting the onset of rains to sow the vegetable seeds they’ve acquired. While traditional barns are stocked with maize, there’s a scarcity of vegetables and fruits.
Overall, there’s a general acceptance and appreciation of FARM STEW, particularly following the installation of the first borehole. Presently, the primary motivation seems to be hard work and organization in anticipation of acquiring a borehole. However, a significant challenge lies in the mindset of the Planters. Many men believe that increasing their number of wives and children enhances their labor force in the fields. Moreover, there’s little encouragement for girls to pursue further education, leading to prevalent early marriages driven by dowry payments, which commodify marriage at the expense of the girl child.
Women bear excessive workloads in the fields, compounded by a lack of nearby clinics offering family planning services or medical care.
Due to water scarcity in many areas, vegetable availability is limited, except in regions with proactive Planters. Occasionally, wild vegetables are sought as alternatives.
A staggering 90% of the population lacks access to toilets, contributing to poor overall cleanliness. Efforts by FARM STEW teams to shift community attitudes are gradually yielding results.
Some larger villages boast small shops, while residents with livestock rely on sales for income. However, animal diseases like lamp skin and foot and mouth are prevalent. Charcoal burning exacerbates deforestation, underscoring the urgent need for sustainable enterprises.
Access to clean water remains a pressing issue, with many resorting to drinking from contaminated riverbeds and dried-up ponds. The situation worsens in the last three months of the year.
Transport, communication, and water availability pose significant challenges. The lone borehole in Katubya’s Sianchimwa village is strained, serving three surrounding villages.
Among trained Planters, only Lee Haziini and Innocent Kalila (Sianchimwa) are highly active, each overseeing two large communities and receiving numerous inquiries from other villages. Ten others demonstrate reasonable activity levels, while the rest either relocated, remained inactive, or ceased operations due to personal reasons. Thus, the challenges primarily stem from the Planters rather than the communities themselves.
Wilderness Gate and FARM STEW are making steady progress in empowering and uplifting these remote communities in Zambia. If you’d like to join in the efforts, consider making a contribution to our work. All donations are fed directly into our projects and are essential in reaching and supporting the communities we serve.