Ruairidh Waddell – ZAMBIA As we move from one financial year to the next, we and our partners in Zambia are very busy with the annual reading and writing of reports. I find this really fulfilling: as I read stories, analyze figures, and learn lessons from our programming, I get a glimpse into the change and transformation that is taking place in peoples’ lives across Zambia.

I recently had the privilege of leading an evaluation of programming in Lundazi, Eastern Zambia, by our partner, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). World Renew and its partners commit to thorough organizational evaluations every three years for each partnership in order to collaboratively celebrate achievement, learn how to improve processes, and to assess organizational capacity so that we can meet our goal of holistic community development. We were expecting 15 individuals to show up to this meeting, pictured above.

Currently, World Renew’s work with CCAP Relief and Development involves two main efforts:

  • An integrated Food Security, Livelihoods, Health, Nutrition, and Gender Program with 900 participants across 30 communities.
  • Organizational capacity development focused on staff training, skills and knowledge transfer, and support for organizational development priorities identified by CCAP.

Our evaluation explored three primary questions:

  1. To what extent have CCAP’s programs made progress toward their planned outcomes?
  2. How relevant, effective, and sustainable is CCAP’s current approach to working with communities in meeting both World Renew Zambia and CCAP’s missions of transformed communities?
  3. What are the most relevant, effective, and sustainable goals and strategies for World Renew’s ongoing/future work with CCAP?

In order to answer these questions, we interacted with more than 350 people and used a “most significant change” methodology to establish how the program had impacted people’s lives. The method simply asks participants “what was the most significant change you have experienced as a result of CCAP’s programming?” The answers provide a powerful information set with which to answer our three questions.

I have attached a small selection of the stories we collected.

Growing livestock with village savings and loan associations

“We used to have very little to do as we did not know how to make the most of our resources or have any small businesses. We farmed on ridges without any sustainable practices; we had small harvests and small meals. We now have a proper house! Our children are happier and they go to school. I have a ripper and now grow other crops like cowpeas. I have some livestock that we have got through our VSLA group; we have six pigs. Having small loans from the group motivates us to work hard so we can pay them back.” – Maureen Tembo & Veronique Mpande, Chijemu Village, Lundazi

The impact of VSLA programming on households

“Our kids used to cry for our neighbors food, admiring the food the neighbors had. We would just go to the field and look for wild okra. We never had fertilizer. We had a very small harvest. When coming to church we had no offering to contribute. When we came to know about VSLA through CCAP R&D, we joined. I started a small business….these are my buckets and they are full of fritters for sale. We have a bench at the road with tomatoes. We can now send our kids to school. Gender based violence in the home has been reduced and we have much fewer marital problems. We can now help to pay for transport for church events even as far as Chipata. Our husbands are more involved and do their own activities; sometimes he supports me so I have something to save at our meetings.” – Iris Mwale. Mwase Village, Lundazi

Reducing malnutrition

“Malnutrition has reduced especially amongst children under five as we now grow so much more food and as a result have much more diverse and balanced diets.” – Mary Nyirenda, Mwase Village, Lundazi

“My children used to be malnourished because of a lack of food in the home. Our kids looked “mad” with hunger; they were stunted and dirty. Now they look healthy and smart and their thinking capacity has changed because they have food. The kids can now concentrate and understand what they are being taught.Their school reports are good.” – Tamara Gwiura, Chitala Village, Lundazi

“We used to only have one meal a day. Our children would cry with hunger and me too, as I couldn’t help them. My husband used to drink a lot of beer and we only had a hoe to cultivate with. He now helps me and we use the ripper with hired oxen. We are now able to give our children breakfast every day before they go to school. They have shoes thanks to our small business selling tomatoes. I have seen a big difference in the involvement of men in community and family activities now instead of just socializing and drinking.” – Eunice Phiri, Nyalubanga Village, Lundazi

“We used to live in a small house and had to really ration what we ate. The kids used to fight over food. They refused to go to school as they were hungry and would go and dig for mice to eat instead. The ripper has enabled us to cultivate more land and get bigger harvests. We molded bricks and built a house with iron sheets. We eat on a table inside the house as a family; we now have leftovers; we now cook on a charcoal stove in the shade. Our small businesses we have through the VSLA allow us to pay for the kids to go to school.” – Esther Mphaka, Lumezi Village, Lundazi

Sharing gender roles

“Now men perform certain roles that we used to have to do. Previously only women would carry maize on their head to the mill; now the men are happy to do this with our new bicycle. This saves me a lot of time. It also helps the man to understand how much food we have in the house and how long it will last.” – Agnes Banda, Kamusisi Village, Lundazi

Steps to agricultural success with the ripper

“We came together in groups of 20 members and started saving, using our training from CCAP R&D. We then managed to get a ripper as a group. This allowed me to harvest 10 bags of 50 kg from the piece of land we had when before we only managed 3 bags — this is a big difference for us from the small piece of land that we ripped! I told my wife that we need to get one of these for ourselves as they are excellent. We also built a strong house with a latrine using our first share-out. We can now send our kids to school and also the orphans that we are caring for. As a group, we went to the education department and managed to get them to donate school books for our school by talking to them as a group.”  – Justin Moyo, Boyole Village, Lundazi

“With the use of manure, fertilizer, and the ripper I have actually reduced my land size because I am getting more from a smaller piece than ever before. The ripper has also really helped with water retention and preventing erosion with minimum tillage. We have been able to attain high production using a cowpea and maize rotation, which allows us to get money and food at different times as they mature differently” – Fred Lungu, Nyalubanga Village, Lundazi 

“We had small fields and small houses; we slept on reed mats and had to use clay pots to draw water. We were always pounding maize; our children used to scramble for food. We now have good production in large fields because of the ripper. We have bigger yields and have been able to build bigger houses with iron sheets and we have enough food for our kids. We can now afford to have our maize ground not pounded. We have been able to buy fertilizer with our savings and improve our houses. Our kids go to school now instead of just herding cattle.” – Novias Zimba, Maluwa Village, Lundazi

We share these stories with you in the hope that you will, as we did, celebrate with joy the wonderful transformation an
d change people have seen in their lives as a result of their own hard work, the skills and techniques taught to them by CCAP, and of course the support from World Renew’s constituency of donors and supporters who make it possible for us to have this impact in so many people’s lives and in so many ways.

Grace + Peace,

Ruairidh Waddell

Country Consultant
World Renew Zambia