BENEDICT TEMBO, Kalabo
WHEN Fredah Luhila arrived in Kalabo last November, she immediately established that some government development programmes were running at slow pace.
While Constituency Development Funded (CDF) projects have been implemented with zeal, it is the central government projects which are limping.
Construction of a Youth Resource Centre has been abandoned by the contractor, the National Registration Office has remained at window level while the township roads project which is expected to compliment the magnificent Mongu-Kalabo road has not taken off.
On the Youth Resource Centre whose construction started in 2010, Mrs Luhila who is Kalabo district commissioner, says the Ministry of Works and Supply must revisit the contract while the Ministry of Home Affairs should release more money to complete the National Registration Office.
But Mrs Luhila is undaunted because it is her duty to ensure the central governmentâ€™s presence in this rural district by seeing to it that all projects are completed.
â€œWe will push to complete the projects,â€ Mrs Luhila says.
She is, however, happy that despite some projects stalling, the construction of Kalabo Trades Training Institute, which is key to imparting knowledge and innovations into youths, is on course.
â€œThe trades institute is almost done, we are waiting for electricity and water. The Ministry of [Higher Education] has released money to Zesco [for connection of power],â€ she says.
Mrs Luhila says the trades institute will open in January next year and the Ministry of Higher Education has mandated Mongu Trades Training Institute to help with designing of the curriculum, recruitment of lecturers and studentsâ€™ enrollment.
Area member of Parliament Chinga Miyutu is also concerned that the projects which started in 2010 by the MMD government have stalled.
Mr Miyutu and Mrs Luhila are happy that there has been discipline in the execution of CDF projects.
Out of the 14 projects embarked on from the 2014 CDF, 10 have been completed while four are still running.
In the education sector, blocks of three classrooms have been constructed at Kalabo, Lushi and Mitwi primary schools.
Staff houses have been built at Litooma and Ngâ€™una primary schools.
The local authority procured a tractor and trailer for the Keep Kalabo Clean campaign programme.
Farm implements were acquired for New Life Womenâ€™s Club in Sihole, Chilele, Nawela and Sikoma to boost agriculture.
A water borne toilet was constructed at Kashitu Market while VIP toilets were built at Yuka Market to improve sanitation.
A motherâ€™s shelter was extended at Sihole Health Centre.
In Ndoka ward, construction of a clinic and staff house has been completed and has eased the plight of the people who used to walk long distances to access health care, so are the communities of Muma-Ngâ€™uma who trekked to Namatindi, where staff were overwhelmed by a huge patient-nurse ratio.
Mr Miyutu hopes to have Lwanginga Radio Station, which will be covering Kalabo, Liuwa and Sikongo constituencies, running before the end of the year.
â€œWe are also planning a bus station because of the road [Mongu-Kalabo] which has been done. We have experienced an influx of traffic [luxury buses] Kondwani and Juldan which are operating from the market,â€ Mr Miyutu says.
Mr Miyutu wants the road to Mapungu and Tapo, which is off the Mongu â€“ Kalabo road, built to bituminous standard because it services a number of villages in the plains.
He also wants Government to deliver the long awaited township roads because most of the existing road network is sandy.
The legislator says there is need for clinics to have stand-alone ante-natal wards. Two have been constructed at Lukona and Sihole but wants the rest to have separate wards for privacy.
Two health posts are planned for construction in Lushi and Ndoka wards.
â€œThe one at Lusa in Mitwi ward has to be done this term,â€ he says.
In view of the introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) subject in schools, Mr Miyutu intends to mobilise solar panels for primary schools to enhance learning by pupils.
He wants a stretch of villages between Kalabo and Sihole, which are not serviced in anyway, to have access to roads and electricity.
He says Brian Road, from Nangumba to Sihole, passes through very few villages but does not get to where the huge population lives.
Mr Miyutu hopes that Zesco will complete the construction of the powerline connecting Nalolo to Kalabo via Sihole, which started in 2014.
Kalabo is one of the beneficiaries of climate resilience pilot projects on soft adaptation and hard adaptation through ward development and championsâ€™ projects.
Mrs Luhila says two wards, Libonda Maponde and Kuli have been identified so far.
Libonda has 20 projects running right now, ranging from chicken rearing, piggeries and the cultivation of vegetables.
â€œWe will see a lot of people increasing their incomes,â€ Mrs Luhila says.
She says irrigation will enhance the production of maize, rice and vegetables while dairy production has been earmarked in the three wards.
There are also plans to encourage some communities living along the Lwanginga and Zambezi rivers to engage in cage fishing to enhance income generation and nutrition.
Mrs Luhila says infrastructure will be promoted to encourage entrepreneurship development, including establishing of abattoirs to link cattle farmers to markets.
Solar driers will be procured to preserve mangoes and vegetables.
â€œWe are very excited because it will make a positive impact on the three wards,â€ she says.
Mrs Luhila says Government is also working with several partners in scaling up nutrition in the district to curb malnutrition and promote good feeding.
Her office is collaborating with the ministries of Agriculture, Health and Education as well as the Irish Embassy, CARE, the Swedish Embassy and the National Food and Nutrition Commission.
Yellow maize, which is fortified with vitamins A and C and sweet potatoes are being distributed to beneficiaries while at the same time promoting the cultivation of vegetables, groundnuts, leafy vegetables like spinach to promote good nutrition. Communities are being trained how to prepare nutritious food for children.
So far, 200 bicycles have been distributed to staff for monitoring of the programme and capture children who are stunted.
Government has increased the number of beneficiaries under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) from 300 to 1,500.
Fertiliser has been delivered while seed is awaited.
â€œThis is a very big increase, we want youth and women co-operatives to come and access fertiliser which is in, just waiting for the seeds so that we can complete the distribution,â€ Mrs Luhila says.
Kalabo will also benefit from the African Development Bank (AfDB) grant for improving rural water supply and sanitation initiative aimed at transforming the rural livelihood in Western Province.
Currently, consultants are mapping water infrastructure while teams of heads of department will help to identify where 200 boreholes will be sunk.
The AfDB gesture is intended to improve sanitation and reduce poverty in the district.
SOCIAL CASH TRANSFER
Mrs Luhila says there are 8,500 social cash transfer beneficiaries who include the aged and disabled.
â€œWhen it started [social cash transfer], it was being given to mothers with children below five years to improve their nutritional needs. Now, it just gives [beneficiaries] the ability to take their children to school, and undertake projects such as chicken and goat rearing. We are grateful to government,â€ she says.
BENEDICT TEMBO, Kalabo