The Manyinga Project is an initiative to support two community-based schools for orphans and vulnerable children in a remote region of Zambia. The schools run from Grade 1 through 7, and the curriculum includes a Farm Initiative which provides training in agriculture and horticulture to the students. Land and some labour is provided by the local community, and the project provides inputs and an agronomy teacher.
We have been in discussion with the Zambia Ministry of Education over the past two years about transferring all teacher’s salaries to the government. While this transition is taking some time, it is exciting to note that Ministry staff have been watching the progress and success at the Manyinga Project Schools, and especially that of the Farm Initiative; we have recently heard reports that the Ministry of Education has adopted a policy for agricultural science to be taught in all schools. We are hopeful that this policy will lead to further improvements in teacher training and curriculum development.
A typical school year in Zambia consists of three terms. Term 1 runs from mid-January to mid April, Term 2 runs from mid May to mid August and Term 3 runs from mid September to mid December.
We are happy to provide an update on the schools based on information from Term 2 reports:
Over 250 children (119 boys and 136 girls) attend the Manyinga Project school at Chinema. The children’s reading levels are evaluated in both English and Luvale, the language of the Luvale people of northwestern Zambia. At the end of Term 2, two-thirds of students in Grade 7 were demonstrating proficiency in reading English, and virtually all were proficient in Luvale.
Over 160 children are enrolled at the Manyinga Project school in Samafunda, including 78 girls and 90 boys.
The Manyinga Project supports two Community-based schools in Zambia. Community members help to make decisions on curriculum, donate land for the Farm Initiative, and participate in school lunch programs and tending field crops, gardens and orchards.
Water and Food
The Manyinga Project was able to provide funding for new bore holes at both schools this year. These new water sources have vastly improved access to water for drinking, sanitation, watering the gardens, orchards and field crops, and water for the goats.
The goat herds at both schools are doing well, with 14 goats at Samafunda and 16 goats (including five pregnant does) at Chinema. While the size of goat herds continues to increase at both schools, several goats have fallen prey to disease or snake bites in the past few months.
The community gathers to prepare a meal for the students each month during the term. The Farm Initiative is a key part of this school lunch program, contributing goat meat, fruit from the orchards, and vegetables from the gardens, while field crops provide both food and cash returns from the sale of crops, which help to offset other costs of the nutrition program.
Lunch at Samafunda school
Field crop production continues to be somewhat challenging for the schools and community participants. At times fertilizer is not available when needed. Unfortunately, almost a lima (1 lima = 0.25 ha) of maize at Samafunda was harvested and stolen this term, reducing the harvest for the school significantly. Despite these setbacks, Samafunda was able to harvest and shell 64 – 50 kg bags of maize from 10 lima, while Chinema produced 1250 kg from eight lima (2 ha).
Update on the Growing Canola Fund-raising Effort
This past spring, several farmers in southern Manitoba were amazingly generous and planted crops in support of the Manyinga schools for Orphans and Vulnerable Children.
With the support of several local businesses, Morris area farmer and Manyinga Project Team Member Art Enns planted 40 acres of canola in 2017 in support of the Manyinga Project. The canola averaged a bin-busting 57 bushels per acre. Very special thanks to area sponsors of crop inputs for this field: Paterson Grain, Canterra Seeds, GJ Chemical and Omex Agriculture Inc. For more information on this field of dreams, click here.
Art’s enthusiasm inspired Elona and Doug Dyck, who farm near Arnaud, MB, to grow 25 acres of soybeans in 2017 for the Manyinga Project. In total the proceeds from the sale of about 850 bushels of soybeans will flow to the schools. Elona reports that the small soybean field provided the highest yield of all their soybean fields – a sign that they made a good decision! We are very thankful for their efforts and warmly welcome Elona and Doug to the Manyinga Team.
We are excited and grateful to note that the combined proceeds from these sales will amount to close to $35,000. These funds will go a long way in continuing support for the Manyinga Schools for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Zambia.
Manyinga Project Contributor Art Enns has a beautiful view of his canola crop, proceeds of which have been donated to the Manyinga Project
Generous southern Manitoba farmers Art Enns and Doug Dyck in front of Doug's soybean field, grown in support of the Manyinga Project. Many thanks to Art, and to Doug and his wife Elona, for their generosity!