Q4 Mutoni Village, Bwalya Mponda Report – FARM STEW & Wilderness Gate 2023

Dec 16, 2023 | Reports

Introduction

In partnership with Wilderness Gate Zambia, FARM STEW embarked on a long-term mission to Lunga District in Zambia – known as the only wetlands district in the country, however not the only wetlands area. The mission commenced in July 2022 with a reconnaissance and baseline study of the region, which is identified as one of the most deprived areas in the country primarily due to challenges in accessing government-supported initiatives; unlike more easily accessible districts.

The study resulted in the implementation of a FARM STEW Training Program during the second quarter of 2023 at the central area of the main island where basic government facilities exist. A group of planters underwent training in the program and acquired skills to establish communities of households in dire need of breaking the cycle of hunger, poverty, and disease, all prevalent among rural populations. Trials were conducted for cultivating various vegetables and soybeans as an alternative protein source, employing new farming methods, initiating kitchen gardens, promoting good sanitation practices, discouraging harmful drug habits, and purifying canal water for clean drinking within the communities to be formed. Prior to FARM STEW’s intervention, waterborne diseases were prevalent due to the direct usage of river canal water for cooking, drinking, and ablutions.

Mutoni Village

Situated 5 km south of the central area, Mutoni Village lacked essential amenities like fresh drinking water and adequate educational facilities. Initially hosting over 500 households, Mutoni relied heavily on depleted fish stocks and cassava, supplemented with limited green vegetables.

A medical mission highlighted significant health issues stemming from dietary deficiencies, prompting the initiation of a comprehensive program targeting 54 households. Challenges such as hunger, poverty, and disease were prevalent, with imbalanced diets and poor sanitation exacerbating the situation. The community comprised 34 women, 20 men, 2 widows with children living with disabilities, 5 elderly individuals (3 with hearing impairments), and 1 blind person.

Kitchen gardens now flourish with various vegetables and fruits provided by FARM STEW, supplementing the previous diet of cassava and occasional greens. Soybeans are encouraged as a cash crop due to depleted fish stocks. Positive shifts in attitude towards sanitation and temperance are evident, with a reduced focus on alcohol and drug consumption.

Improved meals from kitchen gardens offer both sustenance and potential income generation. However, challenges persist, notably the scarcity of wood for fuel and construction, alongside water contamination issues. Efforts are underway to explore alternative latrine designs and address water scarcity through community engagement.

In December 2023, FARM STEW installed the first borehole in Mutoni Village, eliciting gratitude from villagers. A Water Committee oversees maintenance and fund collection for the borehole’s upkeep. Additionally, an agroforestry project is planned to mitigate flood risks and enhance sustainability, with Moringa tree nurseries already established.

Spiritual nurture, integrated into FARM STEW training using biblical teachings, is requested by community leaders. With their progress, Mutoni Village aims to become a model community by year-end, eagerly anticipating upcoming projects.

Efforts are underway to actively delineate the proposed area with the assistance of the Community and other necessary support for preparing compost piles required for the Agroforestry and other services to be offered as part of the Project. Two companies are currently being evaluated to provide water pumping and storage services.

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.

Projects

Learn about our efforts in various parts of the country.