Exploratory Project in Kapalu
May 2011 | by Stefan Heinzelmann
During a visit of iChange team members and volunteers in August of 2010 contact was established to Mr Mukotoka, a friend of our project coordinator in Zambia, who provides volunteer support to a remote bush village (Kapalu) outside of Ndola. Somewhat aware of the humanitarian situation in this village as well as the logistical challenges of even gaining access to this area (transportation), the iChange team initially took time to discuss and evaluate the merit of such a visit. One major concern was to avoid raising any unjustified expectations among the population there.
In the end, the decision was made to accept the invitation extended to the team and visit Kapalu. While only 11km east from Ndola city center near the border to Congo, lack of road infrastructure turned the trip to Kapalu into a 25km drive which, given road conditions (or the lack thereof), took almost two hours.
Upon arrival in Kapalu a brief meeting with the village elder served as an official introduction for the team. A subsequent town hall meeting allowed for the team to experience first-hand the villagers' struggles in trying to find solutions for three of their most fundamental humanitarian challenges:
While Mr Mukotoka already had made inroads with regards to the educational situation, the villagers were still looking for ways to address and improve their water and health care situation.
During subsequent visits to Ndola, discussions with Mr Mukotoka continued to determine whether - and if so how - support for Kapalu could be provided within the logistical and funding constraints of iChange.
Early in 2011 the villagers presented a written project plan, detailing their commitment and planned contributions to a potential health post project. Given that many of them are illiterate and only a handful speak reasonable English this accomplishment by the villagers and Mr Mukotoka in and by itself was already impressive.
Aside from the initial cost of constructing such a health post – and the necessary arrangements with the government to provide personnel support – the ongoing question of how to fund the limited, but existing need for supplies and maintenance became a focus point.
After further open and constructive discussions between iChange representatives, Mr Mukotoka and villagers it was agreed to explore a possible future project via the granting of a $500 community microloan. This microloan, supervised and managed by the village council, will be used to set up and operate a chicken hatching program. The expected proceeds from this program will serve as a proof of concept for the village’s ongoing ability to fund the overhead cost of a possible health post.
To avoid possible interference with iChange's ongoing projects and commitments in Mackenzie the exploratory project in Kapalu was financed via a private donation made to iChange for this purpose.