70% of Zambian residents are currently using charcoal burning stoves – an average household using charcoal for cooking and heating will consume around 1.4 tons of charcoal per year, equating to roughly 8.8 tons of wood. This presents numerous health, environmental and lifestyle issues.Main issues include:
Following on from positive feedback to a preliminary micro-pilot study carried out in the Mazabuka District of Zambia, between September-December 2015, the Musangu Foundation wish to conduct a larger scale pilot study to gain better quantitate data regarding energy efficient cooking stoves and alternative fuel benefits for Zambian families.
The pilot will look at trialling 2 different types of cooking stoves, as well as new fuel sources for some of the participants. The two stoves that will be trailed are 1) a more efficient wood/bio-fuel burning stove for rural communities and 2) a bio-fuel pellet burning stove for urban/peri-urban communities. In Addition to the practical use of new stoves, the pilot project will focus on communities cooking habits, education around charcoal use and its health implications and looking at long term sustainable bio-fuel income generation ideas and businesses.
Africa is a growing continent. Its populations are expanding. Many of its economies are now growing at unprecedented levels. However, the majority of the Continent's people don't experience any benefit and remain in subsistence lifestyles, largely because of a lack of good education.
Zambia has a very young populations, around 50% are under the age of 15. With too few trained teachers, and a lack of infrastructure and resources, children face large class sizes. With a teaching ratio of 1:50 traditional repetition and memorised learning methods are being used as the standard way of teaching – leaving no time for the teachers to engage with pupils on a small group basis.
The iSchool project seeks to change this by introducing a modern interactive enquiry-based learning tool, with all the educational resources needed by teachers and students on a pre-loaded tablet. The iSchool pad will allow independent and group learning, freeing up the teacher to move around the classroom to engage and support pupils on a more personal level.
The iSchool pads are powered from solar panels and will work well in a rural setting.
We have bought and distributed 28 ZEDU Pads to classrooms within rural communities, to aid educational development and find a more workable solution to class room overcrowding and limited teacher resources.
Youth literacy rates in Sub-Saharan Africa (around 70%) are the lowest of any continent in the world, of the 11 countries with the lowest recorded adult literacy rates, 10 are in Africa.
Zambia has 7 official local languages, however, English is the universal language of education, business and government. Quoted literacy rates are around 80% in-country but in disadvantaged communities literacy rates are considerably lower. The biggest barrier to increasing literacy is the lack of books, especially in rural areas. Reading it is an essential life skill; it improves literacy, develops a positive attitude towards learning and is crucial to the academic and social development of young people. Despite the importance of literacy, lack of resources mean there are few reading opportunities for many children in Zambia.
The programme has approached schools in the UK to obtain pre-owned or surplus books and educational materials. We currently have 10,000 books collected. As more books are donated they will then be shipped periodically out to Zambia to provide reading materials for schools that currently have very limited resources.
Our first Library was completed in November 2016, housed in the Musangu Comprehensive School in Mazabuka District in rural Zambia. The library stocks around 1000 books from teacher resources and guides to fiction for all ages. The library is a bright colourful free space for all of the school to use at their leisure, containing an infant ‘Bookworm’ reading corner, a chill out zone with comfy beanbags for older children to relax, and a special teacher area with lesson guides and stationary supplies to inspire creative learning.
We are committed to creating 5 more rural libraries over 2017/18 to improve educational attainment and opportunity in the most disadvantaged areas in Zambia. A good quality basic education equips pupils with literacy skills for life; literate parents are more likely to keep their children healthy and send their children to school; literate people are better able to access other education and employment opportunities; and, collectively, literate societies are better positioned to meet development challenges.
Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in the rural economy, with the vast majority of rural communities reliant on small scale subsistence farming. With the steady loss of traditional farming knowledge, the increase in burning practices of land once the crop has been harvested and the gradual introduction to fertilizer and pesticides, many farmers are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. We have joined up with a local service provider called Grassroots, who develop innovative low-input farming techniques to increase and maximise crop yields.
Grassroots Trust has spent a decade and a half researching and adapting high production technologies appropriate to the Zambian context where most farmers have poor access to credit and capital, input supplies and machinery. The driving value is a return to basics, working with nature and the land to improve the environment, soil quality and crop health –with no or limited financial expenditure.
The 3 main principles of Conservation Farming are;
We have sent 120 subsistence farmers on training courses to learn low-input Conservation Farming techniques. At Grassroots HQ, all of our farmers spent the day receiving practical-led, hands on teaching and guidance at the working farm. Visual displays and demonstrations of farming methods coupled with class room discussion provides a good all round introduction.
We are committed to following up the introductory course with more in-depth, long term support for our farmers – aiming to have 20 farmers on an intensive year long programme in 2017/18.
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