Ongoing discussions with the Zambia Ministry of Education continue, with the hope of ultimately transferring all teacher salaries to the government. While the government acknowledges the success of both schools, the full transition of the schools to government control is still evolving. It is hoped that continued advocacy for the transition of the two schools to full government control will allow the Manyinga Project to focus future resources on the agricultural education component of the Farm Initiative.
Here is a brief update on the Manyinga Orphan and Vulnerable Children Schools Project based on reports from Term 3, which ended in mid December 2017:
Manyinga Project Community Schools
Almost 200 children (107 girls and 88 boys) from grades 1 to 7 attend the Manyinga Project Community School at Chinema. Due to outstanding dedication and effort, forty grade 7 students wrote their final exam in November, which is the highest number of students to have ever written the exam. 169 students (89 boys and 80 girls) from kindergarten to grade 7 attend the school in Samafunda.
The Manyinga Project helped fund new boreholes at both schools in 2017. These boreholes continue to improve the lives of the two school communities involved in the Manyinga Project, allowing access to drinking water, improved sanitary conditions, and the ability to water crops, gardens and orchards as well as provide water for the goats. The Samafunda community now has a borehole committee that monitors and oversees the school’s boreholes.
The goat herds continue to flourish at Chinema with a reported 19 goats now in the herd. Samafunda has lost a few goats but it is hoped that with closer attention, future losses can be avoided. The goats continue to be an important part of the nutrition program at the schools providing meat for the monthly lunch program.
Orchards, Gardens and Field Crops
The Farm Initiative continues to be an integral part of the schools curriculum, providing students in Grades 5, 6 and 7 with hands-on exposure and practice in tending the gardens and orchards and planting and harvesting the crops. Learners receive agricultural instruction almost every week to further their knowledge and enable them to practically apply what they are learning to the school farms.
With water now more readily available the orchards and gardens at both schools are progressing relatively well. Both school orchards have fruit on some of their trees, and Samafunda was reporting lemons ready for consumption. There are some challenges with the viability of some of the trees; some were replaced due to poor health. Pest control is an ongoing problem with both gardens, but both schools were able to replant tomatoes and are hopeful they will produce during the wet season.
Timely access to fertilizer has been a challenge in the past for the Farm Initiative. We are delighted this was not the case this year; land preparation, ploughing, planting of the fields and fertilizer application were done in a timely manner in November by both schools. As of last report Chinema had cleared, ploughed and planted 10 Lima (2.5 ha).
Regular maintenance such as fencing and general repairs is ongoing.
Looking Ahead in 2018
Manyinga Project Committee members Myrna and Allan Ronald and Art Enns will be making the trip to Zambia to visit the schools in February of 2018. This valuable face-to-face communication with the teachers, students and supporting community members is invaluable, helping to determine future courses of action in terms of fundraising, support, and advocacy for the people of the area. We are grateful to Art and the Ronalds for their commitment to the Manyinga Schools for Orphans and Vulnerable Children.
Students with Husked corn
On behalf of the Manyinga Project Team, thanks again for your continued interest and support.