World Relief - Zambia
Poverty hounds the people of Zambia. Throughout the country, the overwhelming majority of people are living in poverty. In rural populations, poverty is even more acute. With four in every five people living on less than two dollars a day, rural regions need a jumpstart to begin to build a future for their children. Children are dying of hunger and preventable diseases. AIDS is running unchecked throughout the country. World Relief, working hand in hand with local churches in the Western Province, is targeting the most vulnerable with agricultural development activities to build their capacity, safeguard their land for the long term, and give them access to financial services and national and international markets.
The Church at Work
Western Province is the most isolated province as well as the poorest—a full 89 percent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. The evangelical church in the area is vibrant and is eager to reach out to their surrounding community with physical and spiritual solutions to help change their communities and provide greater opportunities for their children. So starting in October 2007, World Relief began a holistic agricultural program to provide assistance and long-term solutions as farmers move from learning about seeds, planting techniques, and crop diversity to harvest, food preparation and sale to local, national and international markets.
Farmer leaders are receiving in-depth agricultural training. They will pass this training on to other farmers in their community. Topics will include crop rotation, soil preservation and crop protection. Training is available highlighting various crops and leading farmers through the process from seed purchase to sale of the mature product.
Women lead the families in providing the nutrition necessary for their families to thrive. Learning about nutrition and what is inherent in each plant will help combat nutritional deficiencies that lead to poor health and improper development in their children. They will also be trained to plant home gardens and prepare nutritious fruits and vegetables.
Though the Western Province is rich in agricultural produce, farmers are networked to leverage knowledge and efforts. World Relief will work with small farmers to develop cooperatives and begin to sell their products in broader markets. As farmers learn and incorporate new agriculture technology, they build businesses that can be successful for the long term.
As farmers can provide for their families, they are building a better future for their children. Mothers, equipped with nutrition lessons and the ability to grow food that is good for their children, will watch their children thrive into adulthood. Children given nutritious meals during their critical first five years will have improved physical and cognitive development. The agricultural region will have an opportunity to thrive as individuals and families are healthier and more economically stable.