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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

 

Western Zambia is roughly the size of England and the population of the province are pegged at approximately 1 million people, predominantly being part of the Lozi group. The Western Province is a very poor, needy and neglected province. Many people do not have access to safe drinking water, lots of children have no opportunity to attain an education, many die from hunger and the abuse of children around the area grows more prominent every year. Malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, dysentery and a host of other diseases have further prevented people from living full and content lives. According to the last census, the life expectancy in the Western Province was only 29 years old.

When communities start to serve God, we see many changes. Due to the Lozi people’s strong family and tribal system that is steeped in witchcraft and animism, a lot of training & discipleship is needed to see communities flourish. An interesting story to explain the type of problems we face, is about a time we took small mango trees to a community that didn’t have nutritious food and we planted the trees with their help. When we went back to the same village a couple of weeks later, the people of the village have pulled out all the trees! When asking why, they told us that the person who plants the trees will die before the trees produce fruit and that they did not want us to die. This is what they’ve been taught from generation to generation and have believed! Satan is the father of lies and he will do anything to keep people in bondage and eventually die without hope. Along with many natural factors, wrong beliefs are also a reason why we do not see agriculture flourish in Western Zambia.

OUR AREAS OF FOCUS

OUR APPROACH TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

We strive to see the relief of suffering and poverty in order to preserve human dignity and to provide the opportunity for people’s self-determination. Poor communities are trapped in poverty and lack resources to pull themselves out of various poverty induced situations. We address these issues through care and encouraging responsible choices.

Our Community Development is driven by the following principles:

  • Our approach to community transformation is Church Based. We first plant Christ-centred churches in remote and poor communities and only once these churches are strong enough do we start assisting them with community upliftment. This ensures a ‘hand up’ and not a ‘hand out’ approach. People attend church for the right reasons and strong churches and project committees are formed.
  • Projects that we support must have community ownership to ensure sustainability. We do not hand out things without carefully thinking through the consequences – we guard against developing a hand out mentality. So there is this difficult tension between trying to meet immediate needs, and looking longer-term at trying to address root causes of the problems. The government has acknowledged this problem, it wants organizations to empower people to dig themselves out of poverty. We (NGOs and government) can give people the tools, but they must do it for themselves.

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