Kambani and Shirley Banda, October 2008
LifeNets in Zambia
Highlights of the various activities that we undertook in 2007
Report from Zambia LifeNets Director, Kambani Banda
(posted December 11, 2008)
Cattle Restoration Project
Without doubt cattle restoration is our flag project. It has delivered animal draft power, supplied milk – a critical source of protein. In three cases, families sold surplus oxen and used the proceeds to buy three Scotch Carts. In rural Zambia; a scotch is a valuable and expensive capital item, owned and operated only by families in the middle class.
Unlike the year 2006, there was no disease out break. How ever, we felt the full impact of the Lumpy Skin Disease in 2007. The fertility of our head reduced, mortality was three and we recorded two still born calves.
In the year under review, we watched these animals with the eye of an eagle. We insisted that farmers dip and vaccinate their animals religiously. As far we know, farmers cooperated by following the laid down regimen to the later.
Pastor Andre van Belkum on left with Haben Moonga, chairman of the Nalubanda/Kasumpa branch of LifeNets Zambia
Through our local representatives, we saw to it that farmers treated even what they considered to be minor diseases. Our aim was that our head should gain stamina and rich a level of productivity, which has, for years been the envy of the other local farmers.
In December 2007, we held a meeting with the local Life Nets management. At this meeting we agreed to close the first phase of this project. What this means is that; families that benefited from tranche one heifer allocation should now repay their loans in full.
Farmers will repay regardless of whether their heifers dropped female calves or not. This is how it will work. Farmers will sell excess male animals in their head. Using such proceeds farmers will buy heifers with which to repay outstanding loans.
This move will not hurt the crop side of the project because families with outstanding loans have adequate draft power. In fact, farmers will have surplus cash because ox sale proceeds will exceed the cost of heifers. I personally sold this plan to every household involved. Discussion with farmers indicates that they like idea of being debt free.
Our head now numbers 92, valued at K 92 Million Kwacha. This is equivalent to US$ 25,000; all this, from US$ 4000 invested in 2001. This number excludes 9 animals that were sold to buy Scotch Carts and meet various family needs
Farm credit program
This program continues to deliver short term benefits to our community. This season we removed two farmers from the program. The total amount advanced for in puts in year ending 2007 is K16 Million.
Kambani Banda speaks to the United Church of God Terre Haute congregation on May 3, 2008
Listen to mp3 (more options at the bottom of this page)
Two families partially defaulted on their loans last season. We are working with them and will not ask for permission to write of these loans at this stage. One family is hard working and productive; in fact, in 2007, they achieved the best yield ever.
The other family happens to be is a son to a leader in the area. The local leadership should not have approved this young man’s loan application in the first place. We have since disciplined the leader (see the section discussing management). We hope that this is a good lesson to us all that nepotism does not work.
The failure to repay in all the above cases are problems of spiritual nature not. Unless participants control their desires no aid program will work. This is where the work of the church complements that of Life Nets.
To my mind, the church teaches theory in the “skills of living classes.” Planning, hard work, reviewing one’s work, integrity, keeping one’s word, evidenced by paying loans, favoritism, etc; these and many more are taught from a spiritual perspective. In these classes, we emphasize these values.
Kambani Banda with Beverly Kubik visiting with the Kubik's on May 2008 trip to U.S.A.
LifeNets provide the laboratory, the materials and instructors. Using the above resources; instructors, demonstrate, step by step how knowledge taught by the church can be put in practice. This dual approach to poverty reduction is highly effective and is the key that has made us succeed where others have failed.
The outcomes speak for themselves. In the year under review this is what the agriculture credit program delivered:
1) Contributions from Nalubanda and Kasumpa reached an all time high at K5 Million compared to K 3.75 Million in 2006.
2) All the households contributed to the Church.
3) No family requested church assistance.
4) We are well ahead of the UN millennium goals. While they are still talking; we have already reached 100% food security at house hold level.
In 2008 the rains are way beyond normal. The road to Nalubanda and Kasumpa is impassable, so is the road to Mapoko. Parts of Central and Southern provinces of Zambia, especially along the Kafue river basin, are experiencing flash floods. In fact, even the trunk road from Lusaka to the Malawi border was closed for four days because two bridges were washed away.
Having said that, we are still hopeful that God will be merciful to us and that we will still a get a good crop. When the rains abate, our first order of business will be; travel to this area and access the performance of this very important project.
Medical support is that component in the package that “Meets the needs of the community in a practical way.” This aspect of our work has produced wonders. Consider; we recorded no deaths in 2007 and cases of malaria are almost none existent. Please pass our big thank you to the young lady who donated the Mosquito nets.
During our visit in early December 2007, we recorded 100% attendance at church. Not a single man, woman or child was ill, remember this is Africa! This fact in it self, speaks volumes about the value of this donation and the education effort that goes along with it.
All the three wells continue to faithfully deliver water to our families and the wider community. The water pumps from India were made to last. They are working perfectly; so far, none has broken down.
The well at Apren Momba’s village was especially useful in 2007. It supplied water to three hundred and fifty people, non stop! This was for nine days during the Church's Fall Festival.
This number (three hundred and fifty) does not include the local community that continued to benefit from this well during the feast. To my simple mind, LifeNets through these wells and other programs, is literally “feeding and watering the flock”
The LifeNets Nissan truck is an invaluable tool both for the church and the programs that LifeNets run in Zambia. It has and continues to work very hard. The body and the vehicle interior are in very good shape. The suspension, steering, electrical systems, the gear box, drive components, the exhaust system etc are all in good working order. Thanks to regular service and maintenance.
However, the engine on this vehicle is beginning to show signs of wear and tear. It was already three years at the time we bought it. By May 2008 it will clocked 6 years of non stop work in Zambia; total nine years. This engine works under very taxing conditions and in an extremely ragged terrain. It has run well over 300,000 Kilometers.
All these factors have taken a toll even on the famous Nissan Technology. The engine now consumes more oil than normal and a little blue smoke can be seen from the exhaust. This is a sign that the engine will soon go the way of all engines. This will not happen tomorrow; the engine will run for the best part of 2008. But, now is the time to think of a plan.
The Mitsubishi Canter is in all round good shape. We used the US$ 900 you donated to buy a set of brand new tyres costing of K 3.1 Million. This is included in the Motor Vehicle Expenses in the accounts for the year ending 31 December 2007.
Sylvester and Bevin are the two young men that received scholarships from Life Nets. During the year under review, both completed first year of college. Bevin is in second year while Sylvester completed first year and will begin second year next week. The young men have blended into the Lusaka congregation with relative easy.
Zere Phiri is a promising girl and Gideon Ngulube is another young man that we want to invest in.
Zere was admitted to the University of Zambia. This is an incredible fit considering that there are two universities in the country serving a population of thirteen million.
(All four of those above attend University now)
Mapoko is 40 kilometers west of Mumbwa Town in the central province of Zambia. It in this community where we want to see if we can achieve out comes equal or better than what we have achieved in Nalubanda and Kasumpa.
On one hand, the community is excited and eager. On the other, we feel that over the years doing this work, we have the learnt something. We have experience, the expertise and the resources to do the job. This is all very exciting to us.
We know that we are taking a risk because we do not know these people that well. One source of comfort is that they claim to subscribe to the same core values that all of us in the united Church of God have given our life to.
So far, this is what we have done in Mapoko in the year under review:
a) We conducted a course at which we explained to them in no uncertain terms, what it is we bring to the table – specifically that we are not in the business of giving handouts.
b) We spelled out, clearly, what we expect of them. Goal driven, honest, hard working and sacrificing – such are the people that we work with.
c) We recruited experts to teach them the technical aspects of animal husbandry and crop production.
d) We made the following investments:
Zambian kwacha's - add 000
S total 20,525
3 Ploughs 990
3 Chains 285
3 Cultivators 2,442
S Total 3,717
Farm Credit Program 6,000
Total Investment 30, 242
d) We committed and spent K 6 Million on the farm credit program. This is spread over 5 families.
We visited Mapoko in early December 2007. The animals began to recover from an exhausting 160 Kilometers journey on fours from Maala, a place where we purchased them. As soon as the rains abate we will travel and inspect the animals as well as the crops.
This project is financed by donations from LifeNets Australia.
New Projects Maize Trade
City people constantly criticize LifeNets Zambia Chapter management. They claim that we favor the people from outside the city because all work is in the rural areas. Nothing can be further from the truth. No man in his right mind would prefer to work in Nalubanda. There is no power or running water in these areas.
Considering that every criticism contains measure of merit, no matter how minute. Therefore, we thought long and hard and now see what we can do to help our city brethren.
The poor man’s common business in the city is running a retail shop. The profit margins from a retail shop very are narrow. Our research concluded that retail traders are disguised slaves. They work for large wholesale chains for next to nothing. This is the reason we resisted pressure to invest in these time wasting ventures.
At last it appears that we might have come up to be the answer to this problem.
The farm credit program was born out of a desire to circumvent the activities of small time city based commodity brokers. These traders buy farm produce at a give away price. They transport them to the city, sell and make huge profits. This is the niche that we want our city brethren to exploit.
The following is how we envisage that the project will work:
1) In April or May 2008, brethren that qualify to participate in this program will travel either to Kasumpa, Nalubanda or Mapoko.
2) We will send the funds directly to Jerry Shachoongo our local treasurer and an elder in the area.
3) The maize traders will stay with other church members during the time they that the do business.
4) After they make their purchases, they will leave the maize under our custody in Nalubanda, Kasumpa or Mapoko.
5) Later in the year, we will sell this maize stock together with the other Life Nets stocks.
6) We will recover our loans and pass on the profit to the participants.
The profit projection is shown in the table below
A loan of K2, 400, 000
50 Bags of maize at K30, 000 per 100 KG 1,500,000
Grain bags 125,000
Bus fare to Nalubanda etc 50,000
Food etc 125,000
Marketing expenses 600,000 900,000
Total Loan 2,400,000
Sale Proceeds – 2007 Prices 3,800,000
Net Profit Margin 58%
K1, 400,000 or (US$400) may be very little money to the western mind. But if one considers that participants have never seen K 1 million Kwacha and that they only will invest two weeks in a year doing this business, then, the picture changes dramatically.
We plan to start with seven families. The project carries virtually no risk. Maize will be purchased under our supervision and stocks will be under our custody until it is sold. We have Included K 16.8 Million in the budget.
Financial Statements and Budget
We attach the Financial Statements for Year ending 31 December, 2007 and a budget for the period to 31 December, 2008 amounting to US$ 16,667.
The salient features of the budget for 12 Months ending 31 December, 2008 are as follows:
Vehicle Insurance 1,550
Maize Trade (New Project) 4,800
Local Operating Expenses 2,317
We feel that Life Nets activities in 2007 went along way to “meet the needs of the people in practical way and helped to make the families that we work with to be self sufficient.”
We look to the coming year with a great deal of excitement. We just love your practical way of doing God's Work.
It is hard to believe that the year 2007 has come and gone. The speed at which the days fly is an indication of just how involving our projects and activities have become.
We now take a moment to review our activities for the year ending 2007 and our plans for 2008. “Meeting needs in practical ways and promoting self sufficiency” was the uppermost thought in our minds as we set to work through out 2007.
Submitted February 2008
We always appreciate hearing kind words from our friends in Zambia.
From Joseph Banda, son of Kambani and Shirley Banda....
"I just wanted to drop you a short note to thank you for all the wonderful work that you are doing here in Zambia. You are making a great difference in the lives of many and are giving hope to those that were once hopeless. You are a greatinspiration to me, keep up the wonerful work and God bless your efforts."
And finally from Kambani Banda again...
Mr. & Mrs. Kubik,
"This just a short just to say thank you for giving us the honor and privilege of working with you very generous people. We can not and we know that you do expect us to pay you back for every thing that you do for us personally and the brethren in general, only God will."
Kambani Banda's messages while visiting in the United States
Kambani Banda "The Hope Within Me"
May 3, 2008 Lafayette, Indiana (posted December 20, 2008)
Kambani Banda "The Hope Within Me"
March 15, 2008 Cincinnati, Ohio (posted December 20, 2008)