Manyinga Community Resource Centre Orphan & Vulnerable Children Schools Project

What is the Manyinga Project?

The Manyinga Project is the result of a connection between two rural African communities and a few individuals in North America to find a way to help orphaned and vulnerable children in a remote part of northwestern Zambia have access to education and a means to self-sufficiency. Planning and fund-raising efforts help approximately 400 children access basic education and essential agricultural skills each year in two locations, Chinema and Samafunda, in Zambia. The collaboration has resulted in the support of two Grade 1 to 7 schools, teachers’ residences, latrines, and the launch of a farm training initiative and health component.

What has this meant to the children?  

In addition to acquiring knowledge through the regular curriculum in the classroom, children attending schools at Chinema or Samafunda have learned how to grow food and raise animals – skills that many of them, as orphans, would not have otherwise learned. Food produced by the schools contributes to a nutritional program at the school, and has helped to earn a modest income for the schools through selling the surplus. The schools boast a graduation rate that is higher than the national average – meaning that children can move on to higher education with more opportunities for the future. And a health and nutrition component helps the children stay healthier, which makes it easier for them to succeed in the classroom and in the fields, gardens and orchards that make up the Farm Initiative.

Manyinga Project Milestones 

Your past donations have supported many initiatives over the years.  Here are a few highlights.  

Year

Achievements and Significant Developments

2009

Project Charter developed

Manyinga Project Volunteer Team assembled

Agriculture component envisioned in collaboration with Manyinga Community Resource Centre

Wells dug

Latrines built

2010

Teacher stipends from South African Trust end

Manyinga Project increases funds to support teacher salaries

89% of children at Chinema and 100% of children at Samafunda pass entrance exams into Grade 8

 

2011

22 limas (5.5 ha) planted; yields improve by 200 to 300% over 2010

317 children enrolled at Chinema; 96 enrolled at Samafunda

2012

421 children enrolled in two schools

Grain storage built

$1600 generated from Farm Initiative

Children Health nurse making regular school-wide checks for signs of malnourishment, basic hygiene, deworming medicine administered to all students

2013

Classroom at Samafunda built to replace unsafe, crumbling structure

Graduation rates higher than national average

  

2014

Classes begin inside new buildings at Samafunda.

Construction starts on teacher’s accommodation (Joan’s House) in Chinema

Approximately 350 children were enrolled at two schoolsAge appropriate distribution by grade achieved

Start-up of adult literacy class (learning English and Zambian), led by teachers

Fencing built around vegetable gardens, orchards, goat herds

Preventative education for afflictions common to the area, such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/Aids, and diarrhea

Fewer orphans – 67 at Chinema, and only 15 to 20 at Samafunda

Shelter built for mobile hammer mill used to grind corn harvested from Farm Initiative plots

Highlights and Achievements in 2015

Education

  • Over 400 children were enrolled at two schools in 2015 (over 266 at Chinema; and 160 at Samafunda).
  • The government covers some teachers’ salaries; fundraising covers 3 teachers, 3 student teachers and 5 assistants at Chinema, and 5 teachers, 3 student teachers and 2 assistants at Samafunda.
  • Graduation rate continues to be higher than the national average. All Grade 7 students at both schools successfully passed the national exams, allowing them to attend high school.
  • Two students achieved excellent marks, and received scholarships to a boarding high school. 
  • The calibre of the teachers and teaching assistants continues to improve; several assistant teachers received their diplomas for early child and primary education.

Farm Initiative

  • Mr. Happy Sakayi was hired as the new agriculturalist. He works with the community to plan and implement the garden, orchard and field crops, as well as to train students in crop production. He meets with the students once a week at each school. 
  • 10 limas (2.5 hectares) of maize, 1 lima of landa (local beans) and 1 lima of sweet potatoes were planted at Samafunda, while 10 limas of maize and 1 lima of landa were planted at Chinema. At Chinema, 12 limas were ploughed in early December in preparation for the next crop. 
  • The extended dry season was challenging for the field crops, orchards and gardens at both schools; some tomatoes were successfully grown in the gardens, and were sold.
  • Emphasis continues to be on crop diversification and rotation; some banana trees have been added to the orchard at Chinema.
  • The goat herds at both schools are thriving, and numbers have increased to 12 at Chinema and 14 at Samafunda. 
  • Harvest was again used for the nutritional program at the schools and to earn a modest return to sustain the Farm Initiative program. 

Health and Nutrition

  • The schools are committed to improving the health of students.  No students were reported missing due to illness or sickness in the 3rd term of school in 2015!
  • Nurses visit the school once or twice each term. In 2015, training and issues discussed included preventative measures to avoid diarrhea, malaria and snake bites. In addition, at Chinema, students’ height and weight were measured, and no students registered as underweight. 
  • Special sessions are focused on the young girls reaching puberty; in Term 1, students 10 and older were taught about the dangers of pregnancy, and girls 14 and over received personal hygiene kits and information. These packages include fabric products, soap and a kit to cover one to two years, which means the girls no longer miss school for a week each month, greatly increasing their success at school.

Infrastructure:

  • 2015 saw the completion of the Joan’s House, the teacher’s residence .  The teachers voted unanimously to provide Joan’s House to the Head Teacher, his wife and family of five young children, saving him a long trip each day.
  • Some fencing and shelters for goats were erected in 2015, which resulted in better results for the goat herd. These efforts will continue into 2016.

Movement toward Self-sufficiency:

  • We continue to pursue discussions with local government to discuss transition toward them taking over administration of the schools, paying the salaries for certified teachers, as well as implementation of agriculture programs at other schools in the area. 
Year Budget Beginning Balance Donations Expenses Ending Balance
2013 $39,200 $8,600 $34,600 $29,500 $13,700
2014 $36,200 $13,700 $24,600 $32,800 $5,500
2015 $31,500 $5,500 $33,350 $24,350 $14,500
2016 $34,600* $14,500      

*Includes a 15% contingency fund

Our fund-raising ability was greatly enhanced by the efforts of several Manyinga Project Committee members in 2015.  Art Enns, a long-time committee member and Manitoba farmer, very generously donated the proceeds from a field of oats ($14,000) to the Manyinga Project. Jody Dundas and Jennifer Karton from Suckerpunch Communications hosted a taco fest and raised over $800 for the Manyinga Project. 

Transitions

Marian Ronald, who as acted as the facilitator and our eyes and ears on the ground for this project since its inception, has stepped back. The Manyinga Project committee has budgeted for and implemented a plan for increased local reporting capacity to ease her workload. Marian has been invaluable in coordinating with the local communities to make these schools a reality, and in providing advice and guidance to the committee. The project committee is deeply grateful to her. 

Jody Dundas and Jennifer Karton of Suckerpunch Communications hold annual fundraisers and have worked ceaselessly on the Manyinga project for over five years, donating many hours of communication and design expertise, as well as covering printing costs. They are retiring from their role in leading the Communications team on the Canadian Committee, and we cannot thank them enough for their contribution over the years. 

Looking Forward

While there has been significant progress at the schools, and in the health and skills of children, there is still work to do. In addition to the ongoing efforts, the following specific goals are in place for 2016:

Education

  • Supporting local teachers in acquiring and upgrading teaching certificates.
  • The 2016 budget will account for eight full-time teachers.
  • Teacher and teacher’s assistant stipends have been increased by 15% to reflect both their increasing experience and value to the schools and inflation.

Farm Initiative

  • Complete fencing around gardens and build/repair goat pens.
  • Continue to work with new agriculturalist in implementing Farm Initiative Curriculum.

Health

  • Ensure continued health nurse visits, and treatment and education regarding hygiene and afflictions common to the area. 
  • More latrines to be built.

Infrastructure

  • Repairs to teacher’s residence at Chinema.

Movement toward Self-Sufficiency

  • Continued dialogue to facilitate successful transition to local government support; for example local government should start to pay for certified teacher’s salaries. This process likely to take some time (success measured in years, not months).

Financial

  • In 2016 the Manyinga Project has budgeted $34,600 to support the two schools, the Farm Initiative and health and nutrition initiatives. While some funds were carried over from 2015, at least $20,000 is still needed to meet the budget.  Funds will be used to support: 
    • Teacher and teacher assistant salaries
    • Support to basic health care
    • Purchase of seed and inputs for Farm Initiative, gardens and orchards
    • Agronomist salary
    • Building infrastructure such as latrines, fencing, storage etc.
    • Night watchman stipend
    • School supplies
    • Funds to augment Feeding/Nutrition program beyond what is available from school gardens and agriculture program 
    • Increased local reporting capacity

Despite the many successes we have witnessed at Chinema and Samafunda, there continue to be many ongoing challenges, including: 

  • Difficulty in preparing, planting and fertilizing enough land to produce food and harvest for sale. This means that not enough food is produced to support the nutritional needs of the students, and the feeding program sometimes requires augmentation.
  • Drought and/or delayed rains can affect yield and health and performance of livestock.
  • Shortages of materials. Lumber, cement, and crop inputs are not always readily available, which can affect the timeliness of crop treatment, or infrastructure building capability.
  • Economic climate in Zambia. Zambia’s inflation rates fluctuate between 7 and 8%, which results in higher costs for basic inputs and building materials.

How You can Help

There are many ways you can help to support the Orphan and Vulnerable Children Schools Project: 

  • Support the schools, health initiatives or Farm Initiative with a donation. 
  • Forward this information to friends and colleagues.
  • Join us! Our committed volunteers would love your energy and ideas. 
  • Raise funds. Use your imagination and creativity to raise donations. Some ideas include:
    • Hosting a concert in your home or working to host a local concert
    • Hosting a fundraising Dinner, BBQ, etc.
    • Your own ideas!

Click here to show your support for the Project.

A note from the Manyinga Project Committee 2015

We are so grateful for your contributions to the Manyinga Project over the past few years. It is so gratifying to see the children grow in health, and confidence as they successfully graduate and learn the agricultural skills to feed themselves. Please consider continuing your support this year.

Robynne Anderson Arthur Enns Allan Ronald
David Bossman Jennifer Karton Marian Ronald
Jennifer Laffier Jody Dundas Myrna Ronald
Cam Dahl Dorothy Murrell Wendi Thiessen
Tanja Riedel Jereleen Brydon Stefanie Hyde
Brenda Trask Erin Armstrong  

 

The Manyinga Project Committee Members would like to acknowledge the ongoing efforts of the local communities of Chinema and Samufunda. The Manyinga Community Resource Centre volunteers land, labour and resources to support the schools and the Farm Initiative. Without their willingness and ongoing support, the Manyinga Project would not be possible.