iChange experienced a busy year, especially during the summer months of 2011. Most of our volunteers over the course of last year spent at least part of their summer in Zambia. In addition, the complete iChange board and management team was on location and involved in a multitude of projects. Altogether, iChange was able to welcome a stunning 14 volunteers from six different nations in 2011.
Despite the not always easy to digest experiences and observations of such a stay, all our volunteers were able to make their time in Africa a productive, positive, and unforgettable one. We were greatly impressed with the level of independence and pro-activity with which these mostly young people engaged in their projects. For example, a weekly crafts projects, initially started at Mackenzie Community School by three volunteers early in the year, was passed on to following rounds of volunteers without interruption until the end of year.
During our ongoing project work we were able to gather and build a network of local contacts, as well as gain important insights and experiences from them. As management board we had set out to contact all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in Mackenzie to coordinate activities and discuss possible opportunities for cooperation. This effort yielded immediate results as we were able to cooperate with another NGO for our biggest project of the year, a small health clinic in Mackenzie. Furthermore, a host of smaller activities and achievements also became possible this way and were successfully implemented.
We also accomplished to start the necessary planning process for future projects. In a first step, iChange has initiated a new program at the beginning of 2012 which provides small stipends for hardship cases at Mackenzie Community School to continue their education past grade four, the current end of primary education at Mackenzie Community School.