The Kubuka NGO Experience

Meet Elena Gomez and Joyce Kanimba, (above) representatives from Kubuka NGO in Livingstone, and guests on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz. ‘The Experience’ is our weekly radio show airing from 20.30 hrs CAT on Zambezi 94.1 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. We often feature guests staying at the lodge, sometimes members of staff but often local Livingstone personalities such as Elena and Joyce.

The ladies told listeners that ‘kubuka’ in the Tonga language means ‘waking up’. Milli Jam decided he would address Elena by her Tonga name ‘Mutinta’ throughout the show, meaning ‘first of a kind’ – apparently! Kubuka NGO is a non-profit organisation created to guide the most vulnerable communities in Zambia on their journey to sustainable development. Elena, one of a group of five Spanish young people involved in the NGO has been coming back to Zambia every year since she first landed in Livingstone when she was just 18 years old. She is now a qualified doctor from Madrid University and is back in Zambia until April taking the affairs of Kubuka one stage further. Joyce is Kubuka’s permanent representative in Livingstone and hails from a teaching background.

The NGO works with local people as one. They are working in Maramba and Mwandi communities in Livingstone. They have a programme to sponsor 60 children from the Mwandi community. They give workshops to young teenagers to improve their knowledge on health, sex, business and other useful topics. They are working with a home based care group in Maramba, creating a farm that can generate income to be able to give back to the community by buying medication for HIV patients, and building a cultural centre to give talks and providing a library for youths.

The music on the show was right up to standard. We opened with smash hits from Fergie and Karen Harding. Milli Jam and Jay chose ‘Jovial’ a brand new and great track from Zambia’s own Chilu Lemba, as well as others from Fall Out Boy, The Weekend and Zambia’s Salma Dodia ft Cactus. Our pick of the week was former ‘Experience’ host Kaufela’s latest ‘For You’. Our oldie of the week was by TLC and the prize we give of a dinner for two to the first person to text us the name of the artist on the track was snapped up by Mwiinga.

Joyce told us that she was very married with a large family and that her favourite music was gospel. Elena is single. “Spoken for?” Asked Milli Jam. Pause. “Errrr…” the reply. We jumped! “That was very hesitant” I said. “Just imagine!” Said Milli Jam but we were unable to prise out any more detail in this regard. Elena is a fan of Real Madrid and her favourite player is Casillas. “A goalkeeper?” Queried Milli Jam. “I bet it’s not about football” I said and our Guest blushed and laughed! She likes all kinds of music but her favourite artist is Despatch.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Elena said she would like to be a practising doctor in Africa still supporting Kubuka NGO. Joyce hoped still to be working to help vulnerable boys and girls in Livingstone. “Great stuff”! We said.


The Last Kaufela Experience!

The latest edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela (the two guys featured in the photograph above, George is on the left), was rather sad – and not just because Liverpool had thrashed Arsenal 5-1 the day before – something that made Milli Jam and I sad but George ecstatic! No, it was sad because it was in fact George Mukwita’s (aka Soulchild aka Kaufela) last show, for the time being anyway.

George was therefore the Guest on, as well as the co-host of, the programme. Fired because of his Liverpool affiliations? Not a bit of it! As he explained to listeners he has been accepted on a three year course at the Co-operative College in Lusaka to study for a diploma in Agric-Business Management. “So you’re going to be a farmer?” I speculated, but George replied that he was more interested in the business management aspect of the course which would include accounting, marketing and economics amongst other subjects.

“What’s brought this on?” Asked a glum Milli Jam who has co-hosted our show with George since 2009. George replied that he felt it was time for him to further his education, seeing that it was not really safe for a young Zambian man to rely on radio presentation and music to make a good living in years ahead – he wanted more strings to his bow. George told us that initially he was being helped through college by his aunt, but that he hoped to secure part time work, possibly on radio in Lusaka, to help with the substantial college expense. He also hoped to be able to play some shows to raise funds – George is an accomplished musician amongst his many other talents. He would be a boarder at the mixed gender college.

We played one of George’s tracks on the show – ‘Took You’ by Roberto featuring Kaufela, back to back with Chiko Wise ft B1 with ‘Kumwanda’. We opened the show with ‘Dibby Dibby Sound’ by DJ Fresh vs Jay Fay featuring Ms Dynamite back to back with the latest from The 1975. Tracks from Beyonce featuring Jay Z, and Toni Braxton with Babyface also graced the show. The prize of a dinner for two with drinks that we offer to the first person to text us telling us the artist on our oldie of the week, went unwon for the second week running, prompting someone to text asking us to play another track so that there could be a winner. We declined. They didn’t know Paolo Nutini sang Candy, so that was that!

George told listeners that he would be leaving Livingstone the following day and that he had already co-hosted his last breakfast show on 107.7 fm. He said there was so much he would miss about Livingstone including friends and colleagues and of course co-hosting the Chanters Lodge Experience. We said we would only reveal George’s replacement on the programme the following Sunday. George thanked all the listeners as well as the owner of the station Swithin Haangala for ‘helping him grow’ as a broadcaster and presenter. He had been in Livingstone for nine years and had loved it!

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing ten years from now, George said he wanted to be alive and breathing, opening doors for himself and others. We thanked him for his inspiration and hard work on our show and wished him all the best for the future. Then we sat down and cried because Arsenal had lost 5-1 to Liverpool!!



This from Self Help Africa caught my eye:

Christine Mwale predicts that the income of women in her village can double when they become full-time suppliers to the new Banana Enterprise Project being supported by Self Help Africa in Nyimba, Zambia. Established by Self Help Africa in collaboration with Nyimba District Farmers Association, the project will buy banana from 600 women farmers with small plantations in the area.

Fruit will be dried and processed at the Farmers Association run plant, and sell dried chips to a Lusaka-based firm that sells Zambian fruit produce to supermarkets across the country. And better still, the suppliers earnings could be further enhanced as owner- shareholders in the enterprise, that has been supported with funding under Self Help Africa’s Mtukula Innovation Fund.

Christine is a lead trainer in one of 16 producer groups that have been established locally to supply to the plant. As such she arranges and hosts training sessions and demonstrations on her own plantation, and is available as a first point of contact for growers in her locality.

The new drying facility in Nyimba is designed to add-value to the banana that is grown in the locality, and also increases shelf life and marketability of the crop for women farmers. “At present we sell to traders who market our bananas from a trading post at the local bus depot, but this market is limited, and many bananas spoil in the heat before they are sold”, Christine says.

Banana production is widespread in Nyimba, and is a farm activity traditionally undertaken by women in the community.


Chiawa Fish Farm

I liked this from Victoria Phiri from Times of Zambia reproduced in All Africa earlier this month and agree completely with the comment at the end that it is ridiculous for a country like Zambia to be importing poor quality tasteless fish from China, when we have such a wealth of natural resources ourselves.
“Chiawa is a relatively small area in southern Zambia known for its hot weather conditions that have made large scale agricultural activities by inhabitants of the area fail. Worse still, those who have dared the weather by trying to cultivate, usually end up with downcast faces as wild elephants would not wait for them to harvest their yield.

But all is not lost in the farming sector as there is one component of farming that has made a positive impact in the lives of these people – fish farming. This new phenomenon was introduced to the area by Cherri and Richard Walson who also own hospitality businesses in the area. The couple, touched by the conditions under which the locals live, solicited the goodwill of its clientele abroad to fund an income generating activity, thus giving birth to the Bream Fish Farming project.

Together with the local community Cherri and Richard formed the ‘wealth for ambition’ project which is the umbrella body of all the income generating activities including the Bream Fish Farming project. The community formed its own co-operative of 19 families, and identified the land for the project. They then worked tirelessly to clear much of the land manually.

Cherri and Richard implemented the first phase of the fish farm by raising sufficient funds for excavation, completing the design, clearing the area of tree stumps and locating suitable basic pumps for the water. The pumps bring the water 300 metres from the river to the fish ponds and up to a nine metre head. Each of the six ponds has natural water pumped into it three times per month from the Kafue River.

The project is 100 per cent environmentally compatible as no run off from the ponds can reach the river, but rather is used to water crops. When the water is let out, it can be used to irrigate fields below for those who want to have gardens and grow millet, which is good for human consumption but can also be used as organic fish food. The first harvest of 6,000 fish is now underway and expansion is planned.

Speaking during the first fish harvest, project-coordinator Stanley Chinhoi said the project was an example of how the rural population could contribute to national development through the production of fish. He said most of the fish consumed in Zambia at the moment is imported from China, stating that if such projects received adequate support, importing fish from far off places like China would be a thing of the past. “Fish is a lucrative business which if adequately funded, we can produce much more and even export,” Mr Chinhoi said.

And Kambale Ward councillor Charles Mandika said the fish farm had proved to be an effective income generating activity because of the poor rainfall pattern in the area that prevented the cultivation of crops. Mr Mandika said though there was a lot of skepticism in the initial stages of the project success had proved that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

With a second farm under consideration, the people of Chiawa are poised to be major suppliers of fish in the surrounding areas, but this can only be achieved if the Government and other cooperating partners provide the necessary conditions for such a project to thrive.”


Peter & Gill Langmead on Zambezi 107.7 fm

Meet Peter and Gill Langmead from Chisamba, north of Lusaka, who’ve been visiting Livingstone to see the lunar rainbow over Victoria Falls for the first time, even though they’ve lived in Zambia for many years. So, we took the chance of inviting them to guest on The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient, our regular Sunday night radio show airing on Zambezi fm every Sunday at 20.30 hrs Zambian time, and also streaming live on the internet. Peter and Gill own Langmead and Baker – click the link to read all about their company!

“Did the lunar rainbow live up to expectations?” Milli Jam asked our guests at the beginning of the programme. “It probably exceeded them” replied Peter “it was absolutely fantastic!” “Did you get some good photos?” We wanted to know. “Absolutely!” said Gill “in fact we’ve already posted quite a lot of them on the internet via Twitter and Facebook”. “How did you hear about Chanters Lodge?” asked Milli Jam. Our guests went on to explain that they’d first made contact with me through Twitter and everything had then fallen into place when they came to make their arrangements to visit Livingstone and see the lunar rainbow. Of course they’d found time to do other things as well, including visits to Livingstone Museum and the Railway Museum, as well as Lawrence Yombwe’s fabulous art gallery.

Peter explained that he’d first come to Zambia in the mid 80’s and that for most of his career he’d been involved in agricultural development – for much of that time with cassava. We were amazed to hear about the many uses of this shrubby plant whose starch filled roots are much in demand in Zambia for food. For some time Peter and Gill produced cassava starch commercially. They’d been involved in many other things, we heard, including but not limited to, the production of essential oils and bath soap, the publication for 5 years of Beauty Zambia magazine and handling media interests and public relations for British Airways in Zambia, amongst a load of other corporate clients!

The music on the show was great. We opened with Cher Lloyd’s ‘Swagger Jagger’ (number one last week in the UK), back to back with One Direction’s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ – “sure fire future hit” I commented. Our Zambian tracks were ‘Vomela’ by Dalitso and ‘Nalilwala’ by Afunika. (The first track saying ‘if you’re sick, accept it’ and the second ‘I’m sick’ ….apparently!) Milli Jam also featured ‘My Life’ by DJ Khaled and Akon coupled with ‘Oleku’ by Prince ft Brymo. Our oldie of the week was ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’ by Lionel Richie and we closed with Jessie J’s ‘Sometimes Dreams Come True’. (In a disappointing number of replies Enoch won a dinner for 2 at Chanters Lodge for texting us that it was Lionel Richie singing ‘Dancing’.) The Langmeads informed us that they were friendly with Hip-Hop Mr Cri$iS with whom they had been involved on the United Against Malaria campaign.

Peter and Gill told listeners that they’d been married for 11 years and had originally met in England (in a Hampshire wine bar!) They’d spent some time living in Thailand. Gill’s background was in journalism but at the moment their focus was on public relations and media matters. Peter had just returned from a trip to the far north of Zambia and when they left Livingstone the next morning they were heading for Choma to research a vitamin A enhanced maize.

Interesting, lively and nice guests? You bet!


Sugar Plantation & Bio-Ethanol Plant for Southern Zambia

Here’s some great news for this part of Zambia:

A South African company will this month start work on a 2- hundred and 51 million US dollar project involving a sugar plantation and bio-ethanol plant in Kazungula District. This came to light during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between AGZAM project developers Limited and the Zambia development Agency- ZDA in Livingstone yesterday.

ZNBC‘s Kennedy Bwalya reports from Livingstone that President Rupiah Bands witnessed the signing of the MOU for the project which will create 4000 for the local people. AGZAM Project Business Development Manager Anthony Alexander (above) said the new company will be producing 200,000 metric tonnes of sugar and 28 million litres of bio-ethanol per annum.

And ZDA Director for Investment promotion Muhabi Lungu said the project is one of the biggest investments the country has achieved this year. And President Banda said he is excited that government has managed to facilitate a huge investment that would create new job opportunities for Zambians.

Mr Banda said he is happy that the new project which is expected to kick off in the next 21 days, will create wealth for the nation.

How come I got the photo? Guess!!


Moringa Trees

This is interesting from Imagine Zambia

“Imagine Zambia hopes to plant 20,000 trees for Ngabwe and 20,000 for Ministry of Education of Zambia (with 5 trees for every school at about 4,000 schools across Zambia.) We will plant a variety of trees including Moringa and fruit trees at locations across Zambia so that communities and students will learn about nutrition.

Moringa, which can be made into a powder, tea, or oil, provides significant quantities of potassium, calcium, protein, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Moringa truly is the miracle plant: by using the dried seeds you can even purify drinking water overnight and kill 90-95% of bacteria in the water. Across Zambia, we can also use these trees to provide nutrition for orphans, vulnerable children, expectant and breastfeeding mothers, and other people in the community who need immune boosters and access to clean drinking water.

These nurseries will also provide local farmers with seedlings for their own needs and propagation of diverse species of trees, herbs, and vegetables. They will be able to process the seeds and leaves and seedlings and sell them all over Zambia. The nurseries will also restore vegetation in areas that have previously been cleared. This will increase overall production of food in the area, increasing food security. This will also exemplify good agricultural practices like composting and companion planting.”


Labour Investigation

Couldn’t resist this one from Derek Dawson this morning:

The Yorkshire County Council Department of Labour, claimed a small northeast farmer was not paying proper wages to his help, and sent an agent out to investigate him. The Department of Labour employee said, “I need a list of your employees, and how much you pay them.”

Farmer:- Well, there’s my farm hand, who’s been with me for 3 years.
I pay him £200 a week, plus free room and board.

Then there’s the mentally challenged worker. He works about 18 hours every day, and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about £10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night, so he can cope with life. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.

IDL employee:- That’s the guy I want to talk to…the mentally challenged one.

Farmer:- That would be me.


It’s Wild!

No! Not the bungee jumping, zip line and gorge swinging that a group of post graduate students from the University of California, Berkeley undertook while they were staying at Chanters Lodge recently on a brief break from their involvement with Comaco. The trade name for Comaco products is ‘It’s Wild‘ – “never heard of it!” I said to the group as I was dropping them off for a one night ‘splurge’ at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa. “You should have done” said Ciera Ashley, the group organizer, “one of their trucks just passed us on the road and this morning we were eating ‘It’s Wild’ Peanut Butter and Honey in your restaurant!” (Richard! Don’t worry, it might be an age thing – my remark not theirs! )

COMACO is a model for rural development that supports natural resource management. It operates through a community-owned trading centre, registered as a non-profit company, called the Conservation Farmer Wildlife Producer Trading Centre.CTC

Community residents benefit from this trading centre by receiving high market value for goods they produce and having access to affordable farmer inputs and improved farming skills on the condition that they adopt land use practices that help conserve their area’s natural resources. Specific land use practices required include conservation farming, which helps maintain soil fertility, crops that help reduce conflicts with wildlife or rates of land clearing, and commitment to stop wildlife snaring or illegal hunting. Under these conditions and by increasing the market value of more desired crops, the model is able to influence the land use practices of thousands of households across large landscapes that are associated with important wildlife and watershed resources. All proceeds from the company are reinvested in efforts to achieve food security, increased rural income, and improved natural resource management. With assistance from a range of collaborating partners, COMACO has become increasingly self-financing to help sustain efforts to mitigate problems of environmental degradation in areas where poverty and food insecurity were primary factors driving this degradation. Six basic steps describe how COMACO has set about to achieve increased synergies between agriculture, markets and conservation:

1. Target poor, food-insecure farming families with improved farming practices (conservation farming, composting, improved seed varieties, etc.) to increase food production and attain sufficient food to meet their annual needs.

2. Concurrent with step one, organize farmers into producer groups, especially those learning improved farming practices, and promote group commitment to abandon land use practices destructive to natural resources.

3. Diversify livelihood skills (livestock husbandry, dry season gardening, carpentry, bee-keeping, improved fisheries management, etc.) among these producer groups to increase opportunities for earning legal income without degrading natural resources in their area.

4. Mobilize producer groups in a prescribed area as a depot unit and establish a trading depot for bulking goods for markets.

5. Establish a regional trading center that offers producer groups through their depots fair, high-paying producer prices, on-site transactions, and reliable transport of goods to high-paying markets.

6. Formalize an agreement with producer groups through their depot that such services and benefits are available only if producer groups are fully compliant to land use practices not in conflict with their natural resources as guided by a community-approved land use plan.

We’ll certainly support them knowingly, in future!


Elleman Mumba

This is a truly inspirational story, clipped from the BBC and written by Kieron Humphrey in Lusaka, Zambia

Elleman Mumba makes an unlikely celebrity. He is not a singer nor a footballer – he is a 54-year-old peasant farmer from southern Zambia. Yet he has appeared on the front page of a national newspaper and been interviewed for numerous radio and television programmes. “They said I was using juju in my field. I felt very bad, but I knew I wasn’t using witchcraft” said Elleman Mumba

Mr Mumba grows maize and groundnuts on his small plot of land in Shimabala, just south of Lusaka. Feeding his family used to be a problem. “The yield was very little. We were always looking for hand-outs; we had to rely on relief food.” Like many farmers, Mr Mumba had no oxen of his own to plough his field. He had to wait in line to hire some, which meant he often failed to plant as soon as the first rains fell – with disastrous consequences.

Researchers say that for each day’s delay, the potential yield shrinks by between 1% and 2%. Then, in 1997, Mr Mumba suddenly found himself in the vanguard of a quiet agricultural revolution. His wife had been given free training in a system called conservation farming, and persuaded him to try it. Conservation farming is about doing less to get more. Instead of ploughing entire fields, farmers till and plant in evenly spaced basins. Only a tenth of the land area is disturbed. This reduces erosion and run-off – where soil and nutrients are washed away by rain.

“That season I had 68 bags of maize – enough to feed my family and buy four cattle,” he says, blazing with pride at the recollection. Using just a wide-bladed traditional chaka hoe, Mr Mumba had dug a series of shallow rectangular planting basins in his field during the dry season. It was a tough job to break the sun-baked soil, but he persevered, and was ready to sow his seed with the first rains. The basins had punched through the layer of compacted earth created under the topsoil by repeated ploughing. Roots and rain no longer struggled to penetrate this “plough pan”.

The crop flourished in spite of low rainfall and some of Mr Mumba’s neighbours regarded his success with suspicion. “They said I was using juju in my field. I felt very bad, but I knew I wasn’t using witchcraft. I told them: ‘In CF there’s no juju. It’s just that you conserve water, so even when the rains are light, you are able to get something.'”

Now many of those who called him a witchdoctor have followed him into conservation farming. It is a growing trend.
Across the country there are more than 160,000 farmers using basins or other minimum tillage methods, including large-scale commercial farmers.

For big or small, the principles are the same:

* disturb the soil as little as possible
* use natural processes as well as fertiliser to replenish its nutrients
* leave crop residue in situ rather than burning it off
* rotate crops

Dissenters say there is not enough empirical evidence to support the promotion of conservation farming as a magic bullet for sub-Saharan Africa’s food shortfall. But several countries in the region are investigating its potential, hence the stream of visitors to Mr Mumba’s door. They want to see if an average farmer really can produce such good results with just his hands and a hoe.

Giggling at all the attention he is getting, Mr Mumba is pleased to say yes, he can.