LifeNets Zambia Report by Kambani Banda
August 1, 2001Mr Victor Kubik founder of LifeNets in the USA visited Zambia in July 2000.He was accompanied by Mr.André's VanBelkum, pastor of the churches in Zambia. The three of us travelled to Mumbwa, home of the largest concentration of United Church of God members in Zambia. This area is located about 120 Kilometres west of Lusaka.While in Mumbwa Mr Kubik learnt that church members lost all their cattle due to corridor disease. As a result members, like every one else in this area plough there fields is literally by hands using hoes, an extremely rigorous task. He also learnt that the members walked long distances (some as far as 20 kilometres) to come to church services. He also noticed that Bibles which members used during church services had seen better days with many a page missing.
Filled with compassion he immediately donated cash to purchase new bibles for all the members. Further, he undertook to fund a project to enable every church family own a bicycle. To the members this was like waking up from a dream. The majority of them never, ever thought that they could boast a bicycle to there name.
After church service, a number of the members in fellowship wondered wither yes, for real they would own a bicycle. But I assured them that we were dealing with a reputable man of great standing in the church. I did well understand their incredulity since false promises from politicians looking to be voted into high office are a regular diet in this part of the world.
In order to replenish the lost Cattle, Mr Kubik decided that we form the Zambian Chapter Of LifeNets through which future aid would be channeled. After investigations we found out that the least cumbersome route to register LifeNets was through the Societies Act.
We applied and were register March 2001 as a Non Governmental Organisation with the sole purpose of receiving and distributing aid. Under this category we are exempt from paying duty on foreign items donated to us. we are also exempt from paying income tax.
We had originally proposed a board of Seven members as follows:-
Mr Victor Kubik Founder
Mr André VanBelkum Pastor, Churches In Zambia
Mr Kambani Banda Chairman
Mr Facetone Kamaloni Vice Chairman
Mr Maxwell Kasakabanthu Secretary
Mr Patrick Langamu Treasurer
Mr Appren Moomba Committee member
Unfortunately the first two proposed members could not be included on the board because the Societies Act require that the application for registration should be signed by all the board members in the presence of the registrar. Apren moomba was also absent at the time we agreed to lodge in the application and therefore could not be included on the board. Perhaps when Mr Kubik and Mr VanBelkum are next in the country we can make an appointment with the registrar to arrange for their inclusion.
Mr Kamaloni is graduate of the leading Agriculture College in Zambia and now works as registrar, a very senior position at the same College known as the Natural Resources Development College.
Mr Kasakabanthu is a well respected, longest baptized member (23 years in the church) and the leader of the group in Mumbwa.
Apren Moomba is a long standing member of the church and extremely talented administrator who renders invaluable help to Mr Kasakabanthu. In fact the Zambian Feast site has been held on his property for the last three years. Grace his wife is hostess to the ministers who visit in the area.
Patrick is a young and extremely promising member of the church. Him and his wife both college graduates,teach Mathematics at Monze High School. Monze is little town 200 Kilometres south of Lusaka and is home to two families who are members of the church. Because of his unquestionable integrity, the school has appointed him manager of all its businesses under takings.
The Societies Act requires that a registered society should define the basis by which membership is granted. Membership to LifeNets is open to any one associated with (not necessarily baptized ) The United Church Of God. In practice only members of the church were admitted to LifeNets Zambia Chapter.
The members were overjoyed and extremely thankful when the two projects were successfully completed. Now each family owns a new copy of the NIV and is a proud owner of a bicycle. The later project has generated extreme interest in the area from the local population. Few are they that do not know the church.
The next program, our flagship, is the restocking of the cattle lost due to corridor disease. To achieve this goal, we have patterned with the Heifer project. Heifer will provide the training in animal husbandry and basic business management. They also undertake to procure the heifers.
LifeNets are funding the project. The total project cost is estimated at US$6,000 comprising of training US$1500 and the cost of heifers estimated at US$4,500.
Training is expected to start the first week of August 2001 and is expected to be completed before the on set of the rains come October 2001. The heifers should be in place before the coming ploughing season starting middle of November 2001.
We are extremely excited at the prospect of restocking the lost cattle. Upon successful completion, this project will eliminate the heavy burden of manually pulling the ploughs done by our brothers and sisters. It will improve their productive capacity, ensuring member household food security with the resultant improved health.
This project truly fulfills God's will because it provides the wherewithal to enable our brothers to be "filled and warmed", at the same time giving them an opportunity to be self reliant
The concept of the heifer project is that the first offspring from the heifer so donated should be passed on to another beneficiary. This philosophy will ensure that new members of the church will not be left out and is in keeping with the concept of, "its more blessed to give than to receive."
We truly pray and look forward to the success of this project