MELODY MUPETA, Mwinilunga
THERE was jubilation in Mwinilunga recently when World Vision Zambia (WVZ) handed over to the local people various projects it has been implementing in the district in the last 15 years.
The jubilation was understandable because the projects have contributed to bettering the lives of the vulnerable people in the district.
About US$8 million was spent in Mwinilunga to build schools, clinics and boreholes aimed at improving access to clean and safe drinking water.
WVZ, in partnership with the governments of Korea, United Kingdom and United States, embarked on the construction of schools, clinics and installation of boreholes to help improve the lives of the vulnerable people in three districts, namely Mwinilunga and Solwezi districts in North-Western Province and Lufwanyama on the Copperbelt.
After 49 years of working in the three districts, WVZ decided to hand over the projects to the Zambian Government and the local communities because it has achieved its target of sponsoring over 6,000 children to school and giving them access to clean drinking water.
During that time, the organisation trained over 979 farmers on best farming methods and livestock production, hence helping families to become self-reliant.
During the handover of projects to Government, different beneficiaries gave testimonies of how their lives have been transformed by the support they received from World Vision.
Grievous Kalulu, 22, of Mwinilunga district and a beneficiary of the education project, narrated that his dream of becoming a teacher was almost shattered when his parents became incapable of paying his school fees.
He was on the verge of dropping out of school when WVZ came on the scene in Mwinilunga.
He recalls that the organisation was initially received with mixed feelings because some people were alleging that they were Satanists. However, many people believed in the cause of the international Christian relief organisation, which is dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.
Mr Kalulu was one of those people that believed in the ideals of WVZ and therefore he approached them for a scholarship. The organisation was magnanimous enough to sponsor his education from Grade Nine to 12 and at tertiary level, too.
“Despite the bad things people were saying about the organisation, I decided to get registered because I was in need of their sponsorship. The organisation then sponsored my education from Grade Nine up to tertiary level,” Mr Kalulu said.
He hopes that after WVZ’s handover of projects, the locals who have been empowered with the technical know-how of managing projects will take good care of the schools, boreholes and clinics.
And Jane Jikubi, 45, another Mwinilunga resident, who assumed the role of breadwinner when her husband fell ill, is a beneficiary of the WVZ empowerment programme.
Ms Jikubi said the organisation helped her gain entrepreneurial skills that enabled her to fend for her family while her husband, a teacher, was recuperating at home.
“I am now able to support my family financially because of the various entrepreneurial skills that the organisation has imparted in me,” said the house – wife – turned goat farmer.
Ms Jikubi says she is also empowering other women with livestock production skills so that they could become self-reliant.
Meanwhile, Harold Mutanga, 27, of Chief Musala’s chiefdom in Kalumbila district, commended the organisation for living up to its vision of improving the lives of the vulnerable people.
He said the organisation has done a lot in terms of infrastructure development and improving access to education, clean and safe drinking water
Mr Mutanga, an operator at Kalumbila mine, who benefited from the WVZ scholarship, said the organisation is empowering the poor and helping them to become self-reliant.
And North-Western Province permanent secretary Ephraim Mateyo commended World Vision for supplementing Government’s effort towards delivering development in the province.
Mr Mateyo said Government will continue to provide an enabling environment for co-operating partners and investors to achieve development in all sectors of the economy.
He said co-operating partners such as WVZ have been helping Government to channel its resources to other needy areas.
And in Lufwanyama district on the Copperbelt where WVZ handed over similar projects, Chieftainess Shimukunami of the Lamba people said the programmes have left a positive impact on people’s lives.
Chieftainess Shimukunami said WVZ has made it easier for people in her chiefdom to have easy access to healthcare services.
WVZ national director Mark Kelly said his organisation will continue to transform the lives of people by ensuring that they receive equal and quality education as well as better healthcare services.
WVZ has in the past years worked with many households in Mwinilunga, Lufwanyama and Solwezi district to economically empower the people and supply them with clean water.
The handover of the projects is testimony that the organisation has achieved its targets of delivering development and improving the lives of the people in the targetted communities.
It also shows that the organisation has confidence in the ability of communities to sustain themselves without any assistance from the organisation.
WVZ spent a total of US$34 million to implement projects in Mwinilunga, Solwezi and Lufwanyama districts over a period of 49 years combined.