Wednesday, November 04, 2009
This Friday (6th November) we're doing it all over again!! This time we're putting on a Bands Night @ Shenanigans Irish Pub in central Liverpool. It's £5 on the door and is on from 8pm till late! It promises to me a great night of beer, banter, music and dancing. It would be great to see you there!
Thanks again to all our members. It is inspiring to know that over 1800 people have taken the time to support our cause. We are deeply humbled and with your help and support we know that we can make real differneces in the lives of some of the poorest people in the world. Unllike most large institutionalised charities we do not employ any fundraisers or administrators and as such we guarantee that 100% of the money we raise goes directly to where it is needed. Furthermore, we also meet all of the costs associated with the running of the charity from our own resources. This again ensures that not one penny donated to our cause is misused or wasted.
Please continue to support us in whatever way you can. Inviite all your friends to join the cause, post on our message boards (it's nice to know we're loved!?!) or if possible help us to fundraise. Perhaps you could arrange or participate in a sponsored event on our behalf? You might be able to involve work colleagues or fellow students? Every little bit helps!
Do not hesitate to contact Will, Betty or I for more information about how you can help us.
Thanks again for all your support.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
'Every year on October 5, the world commemorates World Teachers Day. It cannot be denied that teachers have contributed heavily to the development of the world by ensuring that qualified manpower is nurtured from a tender age through the provision of basic elementary education which is the basic of all individuals in order to attain higher professional qualifications.
Most of the childhood years are spent at school. It is for this reason that teachers are considered to be parents of the pupils they teach. Years spent at school are part of memories for many people, be it sad or happy.
In Zambia, the welfare of teachers lags behind in comparison to other countries. It is not surprising to hear some highly educated people in government declare that teachers are unproductive hence no need to pay them well. Nonetheless, the productivity of teachers is seen in the highly qualified manpower which is the basis of any strong economy in the world. In line with this year’s theme “Build the Future, Invest in Education”. For any meaningful development to take place in a country there is need to have qualified personnel and this is only possible if teachers are involved at all levels of education.
In recent years, teachers in Zambia have continued to upgrade themselves academically. Just after independence, the country had very few qualified teachers; this led to employing of school leavers to teach in some schools. This went on until the late 1990s. To date the teaching profession in Zambia boast of having the highest number of highly qualified personnel. A few years ago Diploma holders were deployed to teach in high schools but things have changed and we now have many degree holders in most high schools.
Additionally, government has played a very pivotal role by upgrading some teachers’ college of education into universities. This will increase the number of highly qualified teachers. Furthermore, the introduction of distance education programmes at universities and other colleges have opened opportunities for many teachers to upgrade their qualifications. Nevertheless, the government is doing little in helping the teachers acquire higher qualifications due to constraints in financing the education of already serving teachers. Most teachers are sacrificing their low incomes to supplement their education. I believe government needs to come on board and offer sponsorship to many teachers.
In celebrating World Teachers Day, it is important that the various challenges affecting teachers are enlightened in order to fully appreciate the role our teachers have continued to play in our country under difficult circumstances.
In Urban areas, the greatest challenge is housing. After independence most schools had enough houses which were built with assistance from the World Bank. However, the increase in population in our country has resulted into most schools being upgraded to accommodate more pupils, this has also meant that more teachers have been employed. However, the upgrading of most schools has not marched with the increasing demand of houses by teachers. This has forced many teachers to live in substandard houses. A long time ago, shanty compounds in Zambia were considered to be dens for mischievous citizens but today these same illegal compounds are home to teachers and other professionals.
Currently, housing allowances provided by the government is inadequate as compared to the rental charges and it is not paid on time. Most landlords in Zambia today demand to be paid in advance but the government has failed to do so as can be seen by the huge amounts owed to teachers in housing allowances dating from 2003. It is important that the government speeds up the process of building houses in schools or empower teachers with mortgages to build or buy houses. Teacher unions can also supplement government efforts by empowering teachers with accommodation.
In rural areas, teachers have continued to face various challenges which have contributed to the high rate of rural urban drift of teachers. After 45 years of independence, our country still has grass-thatched schools as houses for teachers in rural areas. It is imaginable for a highly qualified professionals to live in a mud house in this century. Additionally, most rural schools lack basic necessities such as clean water, transport and communication network, electricity and health services. Surprisingly, most rural teachers in Zambia have been deprived of rural hardship allowances since last year. The government is doing very little in attracting more teachers to serve in rural areas. It is vital that rural retention incentives are given to teachers in rural areas such as vehicle loans, solar systems and an attractive rural hardship allowance. Most rural schools have continued to record poor results due to shortage of manpower. A critical analysis on the distribution of labour force in the ministry of education will show that most urban schools are over staffed while rural areas are extremely understaffed. It is not surprising in rural areas to find a single teacher teaching the entire school. This is overworking a teacher and compromising the quality of education.
The professional conduct of teachers has greatly improved in our country though there is need for the teaching service commission to be decentralised. Currently, the teaching service commission in Lusaka is responsible for promoting, demoting, retiring and confirming teachers; this has led into delays to address matters affecting teachers. Furthermore, the poor work culture in human resource department at district level has also contributed to delays.It is common knowledge by all teachers that you cant have a problem solved at the offices without making many follow ups.This is retrogressive and those in authority need to bring change.
Teacher unions have lamentably failed to live up to the expectations of their members. It is no secret that these unions have the largest membership hence being financially sound but there are the weakest in the country. It is not surprising that the power struggles in unions have led to breakups and formation of many irrelevant unions. Teacher unions will never achieve anything tangible for their members as long as disunity continues. Additionally, all unions need to improve in transparency and accountability.
The teaching fraternity has continued to face various challenges in our country though we have recorded success in our education system. It is the sacrifice of these noble men and women who are striving to help the government achieve the millennium development goals under very difficult conditions of service. It is therefore necessary to all of us who value education to embrace the sacrifice and wish all teachers a happy World Teachers Day. For sure to build the future we need to invest in education now and this is only possible if teachers remain committed and motivated to continue doing the nation proud, Happy World Teachers Day.'
Monday, October 05, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Human Development Report 2009 - Country Fact Sheets - Zambia
Shared via AddThis
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Statistics Human Development Reports (HDR) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Friday, September 18, 2009
The Liverpool Echo featured us, and the charity we founded, the Thembinkosi Foundation, on 3rd July 2009, after I was assaulted whilst training for the Tour de Zambezi. As a result of my injuries my training was interrupted for a month but my strength of character and willingness to succeed in the face of adversity saw me recommence my training regime and ensure that the sponsored cycle ride was done.
I did not cycle alone. I was joined in completing his trip by his brother in law, Fungai Madondo and DJ, a cousin of my beautiful wife Betty. Two of our 15 year old nephews, Nawa and Kaone, also cycled a fair proportion of the challenge and our son, Bongani also joined in the fun. Bongani was a real star cycling up to 15 miles on two of the days in the intense heat!
The cycle ride began at the site of the Victoria Falls. We, the intrepid cyclists, began the Tour de Zambezi by crossing over the Zambezi River and entering into Zimbabwe. Once at Victoria Falls town we were met by two armed Game Wardens who remained with us as we cycled through a Game Park that is heavily populated with elephants, giraffes, zebra and lions! The first day was arduous. The terrain was undulating and the heat of the African sun sapped our energy. The scenery was breathtaking however and after six hours we reached the Kazungula border crossing and entered into Botswana. Our whole party, which also consisted of my wife Betty Scarlett, her sister Constance, brother Jabulani and Auntie Irene, then camped overnight in Kasane.
The following morning saw us venture into the Chobe National Park and cycle to Ngoma and the Namibian border. In normal circumstance cycling is not permitted in Chobe due to the fact that it is densely populated with game. However, the Botswana Wildlife officials granted us a dispensation and allowed us to cycle through the park. Rather worryingly they were unable to provide us with Game Wardens to protect us from the wild animals. As a result only three of us cycled through Chobe. Those of the party under 16 had to ride in the support vehicles. The Chobe leg was in many ways the most exciting especially when we encountered a herd of elephants on the road. Fortunately the elephants were busy going about their business and left us alone!
The third day saw us cycle through Namibia from Ngoma to Katima Mulilo. Thankfully the terrain was flat and there were no wild animals to be avoided. The day was brightened by the reception we received as we passed through many small villages on route. Children cheered us on and some local cyclists joined us for parts of our journey. Once in Katima Mulilo we spent a rest day at a very relaxing camp site!
The next three days of cycling saw us gradually cycle the 150 miles through Zambia back to Livingstone. Again our journey was brightened by the children in the villages. The last day proved to be the most difficult. Fatigue had taken its toll and once again we encountered many hills. We stuck it out though and dug deep into our energy reserves. When cycling through Kazungula district we stopped for drinks in a small village and spent some time chatting and dancing with some of the locals. Eventually on the afternoon of 21st August we arrived back in Livingstone. The final 10 miles were a joy as we approached the Falls to complete our circuit.
The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation met us for the final stages of our journey and that night we were featured on the early evening national news. They even interviewed me!
One of the great features of our sponsored ride was the fact that one of the bikes that we took it in turns to ride was made from bamboo. The bamboo is grown and harvested in Zambia and the bikes are assembled by local employees. Zambikes, who lent us the bamboo bike, as well as two other bikes, shares a commitment to sustainable development with the organisation we were cycling on behalf of, the Thembinkosi Foundation.
All the cyclists and supporters who took part in the Tour de Zambezi wore tee shirts sporting the Rotary International logo. One of the most memorable moments during the Tour de Zambezi was when we stopped in Kazungula and spent time with some of the local people who will benefit from the building of a school in their district and from a range of outreach programmes that will see water, sanitation, electricity and better health care for many in the district.
Please support us by supporting us financially in any way you can!
Acc Name: Thembinkosi Foundation
Bank: Barclay bank
Acc # 63226387
Sort Code: 205094
Registered Charity Number: 1128661
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
My recent sponsored cycle through Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia has raised about £1500 at this stage but some monies are still outstanding. We're hoping to secure over £2500 by the time all the money is in. Our next big fundraiser is Dave Postletwaite running the Dublin Marathon on the 26th October. Dave can be sponsored at http://www.justgiving.com/DAVEY-POSTLETHWAITE/ Please be generous!
We are also in the planning stages of organising a Zambian Night for the end of October, three Sportsman's Dinners, the first of which will feature the former Everton and Manchester City manager, Howard Kendall, several Band Nights and a Black Tie evening. More details of these events will follow.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Liverpool Echo.co.uk - News - Liverpool Local News - Liverpool yobs in car push cyclist off his bike
While training for my sponsored Tour de Zambezi cycle ride in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia I was assaulted by two men in a car. I was very lucky to escape with cuts and bruises!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
It is an unfortunate truth that many of the children placed into orphanages by their extended families are victims of poverty. In most cases if finances permitted then the family would take care of the child(ren). In the light of this fact we aim to economically empower families to ensure that orphaned children do not become an economic millstone. As part of our outreach programmes the children from the wider community, whether in full time education or not, will be invited to attend our agricultural outreach scheme. As part of the scheme the children will be taught how to farm efficiently based upon the principles of environmental sustainability and organic farming. It is hoped that the skills that the children will learn and develop will be utilised on their own families land and thus ensure a greater level of self sufficiency. Moreover the children will grow their own crops whilst learning at ZIGS and will be allowed to take food and seeds home with them on a regular basis; after all it will be their hard work that has led to the crops growing! The beauty of this scheme is that the children will learn, develop skills and hopefully enjoy themselves whilst their families benefit in the short term from the food/seeds the children bring home and moreover in the long term due to the skills that the children will acquire and be able to apply on the homestead. We hope that when families recognise the value of the scheme they will want to be more involved and thus sign up for the adult education programmes….
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Whilst in Zambia I was priviledged to visit the Kasisi Agricultural College. The agricultural college is part of a wider facility run by the Jesuits which includes a girls secondary school and an orphanage. It truly inspirational place. The agricultural college focuses its attention on organic farming and sustainable development and is a model of what we want to achieve at our school. The main difference being that the college focuses on adult education whereas we will focus upon the education of the young. (although our outreach projects will enable aspects of adult education.) The great news is that the people at Kasisi are willing to provide us with the necessary training and support to ensure that we can emulate their work on the banks of the Zambezi.
I am returning to Zambia in July and I will be spending the entire summer holiday working on developing our school. We are still confident that we can be ready to open in September 2010 but in order to do so we need to step up our fundraising efforts! There are a few 'fires in the oven' at the moment so hopefully ove the coming months we can boost our coffers and then commence building. We will of course be building the school with local materials that are freely available in the locality of the school which will of course minimise the cost of the project. That's the beauty of sustainable development - it makes economic sense as well as environmental sense!
Finally a big thank you to Laura and friends who are climbing Ben Nevis next month in order to rasie funds for the Thembinkosi Foundation and our project to build and sustain a school in Zambia. You can sponsor them in their efforts by visiting our Just Giving page http://www.justgiving.com/thembi... Once again thanks for all your support. It is hugely appreciated!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Furthermore, we will also seek to harvest and store rain water on our campus. Given our proximity to the Zambezi this is a necessity but as part of our model of sustainability we wish to demonstrate that peoples do not have to be dependent on bore holes and/or wells for their water as more than enough rain water falls within Zambia, and across Africa, on an annual basis for peoples to be able to harvest and store water during the rainy season, for use in the dry season. In order to demonstrate the principles of water harvesting in order to be a model for other communities we will roof some of our building with treated corrugated iron sheets. This will allow for a run of f of water that can be channelled into underground covered tanks for use across the year. Most water in this part of the world is lost to evaporation so hence the need for covered tanks. Again this is a relatively low cost method of collecting water as low cost materials are used in the construction of the storage tanks and catchment surfaces.
For more details on water harvesting and storage visit the wateraid website.
For more specific and detailed information on Water Harvesting.
Of course waste disposal will also be a priority at ZIGS. We will seek to recycle water and to utilise grey water in line with the ‘Earthship’ model that is popular within the ‘green community.’ Furthermore, we will seek to use modern eco friendly waste disposal technology in order to preserve our model of sustainability.
All of our buildings at ZIGS will be built from local materials and by local tradesmen. We will ensure that materials that have to be transported by road to our site are keep to an absolute minimum. The area is awash with timber (we will of course plant ten trees for every one we use in building) and stones cover the landscape. Naturally enough these will be the core materials with which we build! Of course we will have to go outside of the community for some materials such as glass but we will seek to minimise the distance that raw materials have to travel in order to reach our site.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Sunday, May 03, 2009
A very detailed and technical description of small scale hydroelectricity available by following the link!
Not only will we use hydroelectric power but we will also use solar energy. Solar panels will be used to provide power in the more remote outposts of our campus. Like hydroelectric power solar energy is renewable and green.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
All children at ZIGS, from Nursery to Sixth Form will have the opportunity to study agriculture and environmental studies. The will be a core part of our curriculum that will permeate across traditional subject areas. Every class at ZIGS will be assigned a piece of land and challenged to farm. Students will be taught about different methodologies of agriculture in the classroom and have the opportunity to experiment on their own land. The only condition will be that the land is farmed in an organic and eco friendly manner. No fertilisers, GMO seeds or machinery will be permitted. As part of the schools aim to be entirely self sufficient and sustainable students will be challenged to grow, harvest and prepare meals for the whole community on a regular basis.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The extraordinary thing about Ngwanzi village is that the villagers do not have any access to running water. The women and children have the duty of fetching water from the river as and when it is required. This task is not only onerous and backbreaking but is incredibly dangerous. Crocodiles lurk in the water and on the river banks and the simple task of fetching water can be a life threatening pursuit. This may sound over dramatic but only last month one of the elderly villagers in the village was eaten by a crocodile.
Moreover although the life of a fisherman may look idyllic for a young man it is also a life fraught with danger. A young fisherman, and many of them are very young, will face the perils of life on the river. Hippos, as you may know, are responsible for the deaths of more people than any other animal in Africa (besides humans!) and the hippos lurk in the waters of the Zambezi. Get between a hippo and her young and your life is on the line.
Besides these dangers there is the ever present danger of malaria - Africa's biggest killer. The village lacks any form of health care facility. There is not even a simple clinic.
The people of Ngwanzi village may life a happy life for the most part but there is no doubt that access to running water, basic sanitation, electricity, basic health care and education for their children would dramatically improve their lives. The Thembinksi Foundation hopes to make a difference in the lives of these people. By providing education for children and adults, providing access to running water, basic sanitation and health care we hope to make a difference to children like the one's we met in Ngwanzi.
Monday, March 09, 2009
On 19th August 2008 President Levy Mwanawasa passed away. I heard the news of his death in Ngwanzi village which is on the shores of the River Zambezi in the Kazangula District of Zambia.
We had spent a whole day travelling throughout the Kazangula District in search of Chief Sekute. The Chief was travelling from village to village in his Chiefdom visiting his subjects but he had agreed to give us an audience provided that we could find him! We were travelling with two of his nephews, but as our mobile phone signal only worked in certain areas out in the Bush we were finding it very difficult to actually find him.
Eventually, almost as the sun was setting, we found out that the Chief would shortly be arriving in Ngwanze. We made our way to the quaint fishing village and awaited his arrival. Whilst waiting we were shown around by the Headman. The village was a hub of excitement. It was a time of great anticipation awaiting the Chief's arrival. As we waited we heard the Zambian National Anthem being played on a distant radio. At the time this didn't seem unusual but with the benefit of hindsight we realised the significance of this event. Nearby to where we had parked our hired 4x4 vehicle we huddled around a small radio, that barely picked up a signal, and heard the news that the President had died.
People had long speculated over the health of the President and some had quietly speculated that they suspected he would never return to Zambia from his hospital in Paris. Logic dictated that this was a reasonable hypothesis. However, there was always hope. Hope had ended with this radio broadcast though and now all had fallen silent.
Soon Chief Sekute arrived, but to a much different atmosphere to the one of only an hour earlier. Upon his arrival he made his way to the centre of the village to be greeted by the senior villagers. The mood was sombre as Betty and Constance made their way to pass on our condolences to the Chief. We had sort out the Chief in order to discuss the possibility of acquiring land in his Chiefdom but now our trip had taken on a new perspective.
President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa was an honest, decent and humble man who sort the best for his people. He fought corruption in Zambia and upheld the rule of law and the principles of democracy. He is sadly missed by the people of Zambia and by many others in Africa. May he rest in peace.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Breaking News: I will be travelling to Zambia during the Easter holidays. During my trip I will be working hard to ensure that we can start building our school in the near future. We have thus far secured a prime piece of land on which to build our school on the banks of the Zambezi and we potentially may have secured additional land on which to develop aspects of our outreach and community projects. We are very grateful to Constance who is working so hard on our behalf in Zambia.
Breaking News: We have been in regular touch with the Charity Commission and fingers crossed we should be a registered charity within the next week or so. Gaining the status of a registered charity will open up several additional channels of funding so the sooner we are offiicially recognised as a charity the better!
Breaking News: You can follow the progress of our project through Twitter www.twitter.com/thembinkosi
We will be back in touch as soon as we have anymore significant news to report. In the meantime please feel free to utilise our discussion boards, sign our guestbook on our website, add us on twitter and plurk and keep spreading the news about our project by inviting everyone you've ever met to do the same.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
It is our aim to emulate these practices and other aspects of permaculture at ZIS. All students will study Agriculture at our school and will be empowered to use sustainable methods of farming in their adult lives. Moreover, ZIS will offer a programme of adult education to the communities with whom we will co-exist. Our students, teachers and all others involved in our projects will work together to experiment and develop 'best practice' in sustainable farming.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
We first approached the Chief about the possibility of acquiring land in his Chiefdom, for the purpose of building a school, in August. Our progress was somewhat hindered by the untimely death of President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa and then by the subsequent Presidential by election but throughout this time remained in regular contact with the Chief . He has been very enthusiastic toward our project ever since we first approached him. He shares our vision of empowering his people and he is convinced that our project will be of great benefit to his subjects.
During our negotiations with the Chief and his Headmen it became increasingly apparent that our project has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of the people within the surrounding district. The land that we have been given is adjacent to a village which has its place on the banks of the river. The villagers live simply - sustaining themselves through fishing and by exchanging their surplus for mealie meal. The village lacks any form of infrastructure and the people are not only some of the poorest in Zambia but are among the poorest in the world. The Headman of the village sees the potential benefits to his people that will come through the building of our school adjacent to the village.
ZIS will of course be a fee paying institution. This is to ensure the financial sustainability of the project. However, part of the raison d’être of our project is the empowerment not only of the students who attend ZIS, but also the empowerment of the community of which we will be a part. In the first instance we have promised the community that we will provide electricity and running water to the villagers and subsequently we will bring the gift of education to the children of the village through our supporting of the building and sustaining of a local village school. Not only will we support the building of the village school but we will also share the facilities of ZIS with our neighbours. Thus as ZIS grows and develops the communities we are working with develop. And this development is multifaceted. The development will be tangible in terms of the infrastructure, water, electricity and roads but will also bring about employment opportunities for the villagers. Furthermore, as part of our commitment to our Outreach Projects our teachers, and older students, at ZIS will work with the children at the village school and beyond.
We envisage being a self sufficient institution within three to five years of opening our doors to our first student. Beyond this stage we would hope that any fundraising will be done with the aim of supporting our outreach projects rather than contributing to the sustaining of the school. By this stage we would also hope to have develop our land in order to have cultivated our land and introduced livestock in order to ensure that ZIS becomes a self sufficient institution. Now that we have land on which to build we are along way to fulfilling our dreams but there is still along way to go. The next stage of the project involves the legal process of the transfer of the land rights from the Chief to ZIS and then the employing surveyors and architects to plan for the physical aspects of the school.
The success of the project to date would not be possible without all the people who have supported us thus far. Everyone who has offered us words of encouragement, kept our project in their prayers, joined our Facebook group or visited our website has kept us going. When we reflect on the scale of the project we have undertaken and the difference that we have the potential to make it can sometimes be overwhelming but knowing that we have so many people who believe in what we are doing is so inspiring.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
We have now registered our charity with the Charity Commission and as a result we will shortly be an official charity! We're just waiting on being awarded a 'charity number.' Once we have this status it should give our fundraising a real boost - especially as we'll be able to get tax relief on all donations that we receive!
Meanwhile things have been moving along nicely in Zambia. Constance, the driving force behind the project in Zambia, has had several meetings with the powers that be in the Kazagula District and as a result we have been promised a large piece of land on the banks of the Zambezi.
We would like to contine to spread the gospel about our project and reach over 1000 members of our Facebook group in the next few months. We need your help to do this.....Please would you also invite all your friends to join our Facebook group - it will only take you a few moments to do so. You might also tell your classmates/workmates about this project? Perhaps your school/company might be able to support the Thembinkosi Foundation during 2009?
Please contact any of the group admins if you have any questions about our project or ideas on how to raise funds. We are always delighted to hear from people who share in our passion for empowering young people in Zambia through this project.
We really want to help bring about a real change in Zambia and with your help we can do so...
Thank you so much....