One of the founders of Response Network, while walking around in the communities, realized that communities living in poverty needed experience in project writing so they could access funds for development. He then started to help them hone their proposal writing skills, and some of them managed to get support toward their simple projects. And as Response Network continued working in the communities, and listening to people’s concerns, it was discovered that the communities needed knowledge of their rights and opportunities and encouragement to initiate activities of their need and choice. In most areas the communities were particularly concerned about scores of children that had no schooling. Response Network had a vision of mass mobilization of disadvantaged communities. By improving access to information about rights and opportunities, the first community self-help education manual “Let’s start our own community school” was written.
In its early stages Response Network learnt that development aid often created institutions and structures that were foreign to the Zambian culture, and leading to dependency on donors. Working among the locals knowledge on local cultures and traditions was also amassed. This experience created an opportunity to work with development aid which was based on people s culture and way of thinking.
In 2005 Norwegian Church Aid provided the first funding, and Response Network was able to start working in 40 villages in Kalomo District in Southern Province in Zambia. And with help from so many people “in the network” who believed in the Response Network self-help methodology Response Network grew, with a new funding partner every year.