While appreciating the contributions of MCW-Global, we always have to keep close to the heart the importance of its three affiliates in Africa: MC-Rwanda, MC-Zambia, and MC-Tanzania.
In this article, Robert Mukwiza Sakutaha, MC-Zambia’s Program Officer, elaborates more on their achievements and how they keep up with their core values: integrity, compassion, accountability, responsibility, and excellence.
Since its establishment back in 2011, MC-Zambia’s center in Chanyanya has offered several services to community members. Today, this center, the only one in the area, offers vocational, social, and literacy programs to everyone; however, children and youth are the ones who take part regularly.
Throughout our interview, Roberts speaks about the positive changes they are making by creating self-employment opportunities and social activities, and also elaborates for us on the Women and Youth Empowerment Program.
In addition to describing the importance of MCW-Global’s support, Robert tells us how MC-Zambia’s space is building a community where children and youth are becoming the leaders of tomorrow — just as MCW Global’s mission reads.
Read on for an inspiring journey of dedication and hard work of this organization, which is creating a brighter tomorrow for the entire community.
Meeting Community’s Pressing Needs
Being a one-of-a-kind center in this area, MC-Zambia has almost all ages as a target group.
“The youths come through to make use of the center by practicing in computer studies as well as tailoring, with some participating in cultural group performances and soccer,” says Robert, who has over three decades of experience working both in the governmental and international sectors.
Robert believes improved health and economic security are essential to an individual’s livelihood and that when communities have access to socio-educational programs, they are healthier, and create more sustainability.
“That’s why we offer people of all ages vocational training programs, literacy and numeracy, and social programs,” he adds.
This area faces a lot of social-economic challenges, which include high illiteracy levels, unemployment, especially among the youths as well as water and sanitation health challenges.
“We are addressing the high illiteracy levels by running literacy programs for both children and adults, running Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and HIV/AIDS as well as COVID-19 sensitization programs through the cultural group and a soccer club.”
MC-Zambia’s literacy program- Learn2Learn helps young and adult learners to reach literacy levels required to continue their education.
In 2021 alone, MC-Zambia integrated around 30 learners at Chanyanya and St. Anna primary schools.
“The organization enrolls children who dropped out at any level of primary education, or who have never been to school at all. It prepares them through a one-year program of literacy and numeracy, and integrates them into formal learning.”
“The program [for adults] also organizes public debates and field trips for the students to national parks as well as other organizations for vocational studies. It also supports a community library for public referencing.”
Enhancing Women and Youth Empowerment
MC-Zambia’s contribution to the community is far from ending here.
Its Enhanced Women and Youth Empowerment Program is ensuring equity and equality for the most vulnerable groups in society — women and youth.
Robert delves more on it, challenges faced, and how they overcame those challenges thanks to MCW Global.
“Women and girls have not been left out, as MC-Zambia vigorously implements this program by setting up women clubs that are engaged in various income-generating activities, conducting entrepreneurship and financial literacy training and implementing gender-based violence sensitization activities.”
He acknowledges MCW-Global’s role in this.
“90% of what we are doing is supported by MCW Global. We have a big help from them, all the funding comes from MCW Global. We are and feel very supported by them,” says Robert, and reminds us that all their projects are shaped, developed, and executed by their local partners.
The participants of the Enhanced Women and Youth Empowerment Project are those who were initially trained under the TEVET training program that was intended for employment.
“However, having noted that many were not getting employed, MC-Zambia changed the approach to self-employment, starting with training the alumni in Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy and Leadership.”
So far, the group contains 50 participants, gearing up to be transitioned off in December 2021 and start their own businesses in January 2022.
The group is doing great; they have been attending training and practicing business concepts in their individual ventures when away from the group work.
“I hope that by the time they are to be [transitioned away], they shall be capable of running their own businesses without needing too much close supervision.”
“Now we have nine people in tailoring, three are in sales in general, one is in farming, one is in bread baking, and three are going to sell shoes,” Robert says, while adding:
“This is a picture that makes us as MC-Zambia supporting the people in the fields they have chosen. They will not struggle; we are giving them something to live by.”
Although Robert recognizes that during the last year the COVID-19 pandemic brought some difficulties, he remains confident and they are doing everything possible to stay on the right track.
MC-Zambia as a Space for Socialization
Being in a rural setup, the Chanyanya area does not have any social infrastructure where the communities, especially the youth, can spend quality time.
Hence, many young people engage in illicit activities such as alcohol and drug abuse.
Luckily, MC-Zambia responded to this and since 2012, it offers a range of social activities, such as; soccer, cultural clubs and majorettes.
“Most times, young girls end up falling pregnant or getting married at a tender age. MC-Zambia therefore offers social activities as spaces for the children and youths to bring out issues affecting them as well as coming up with peer interventions to the identified issues.” Robert underlines.
This program helps young people to stay away from dangerous vices too.
Robert highlights that MC-Zambia’s desired impact is a society where young people are molded into responsible young leaders of tomorrow, and you can already see that this is going in the right direction.
By: Gresë Sermaxhaj
Stay Tuned! Next month we will bring to you the amazing work of MC-Tanzania.