Academic Work ends tour ofduty to Zambia

IN a visit that can simply be referred to as an ‘Awesome African  experience’ by a delegation of Academic Work members of staff last week ended on Saturday November 18 with a luncheon fondly known referred to as a barbeque by Response Network.

The visit to Zambia, which is described as a ‘the real Africa’ in the tourism sector saw the Academic Work delegation visit Nampongo village on Thursday November 16 morning before spending a night  in Chilaba village returning to Livingstone which is Zambia’s tourist capital on Friday November 17.

Before heading to Chilaba village the delegation paid a courtesy call on the Zimba District Educational Board Secretary who is a senior government official in-charge of education in that district.

In Chilaba the delegation had an opportunity to play and mingle with the children of the village many of whom were astonished by being shown pictures of themselves captured using the vistors smart phones.

The villagers were also happy as they were afforded to an opportunity to dance to music thanks to the Response Network diesel powered generator as the village has no electricity supply.

Early morning rains disturbed two Academic Work staff who had decided to pitch up their tent outside a classroom forcing them to abandon their tent as the mattress quickly soaked in the rain water.

Both visits and the barbeque saw the Academic Work delegations join in to dance to traditional and contemporary music.

However, the happiest of all were the children who played with balloons, balls and other gifts presented to them by the visiting delegation as these are hard to come by in rural Zambia.

The ultimate gift which also elated the communities was the donation of a 1×2 classroom block and a teacher’s house in Nampongo and Chilaba respectively which would lead to increased motivation among the teachers.

The Kubala girls on Saturday also received gifts of books and pens after having lunch and discussions with the visiting Academic Work delegation.

‘Awesome it was.’ ‘Awesome Academic Work in collaboration with Response Network Zambia.’


Academic Work delegates during a meeting in Zimba November 16

Awesome to: Sissel Gade, Mette Risberg, Sarah Andersson, Mikael Homström, Kristina Hammarlund, Sanna Richter, Rebbecca Lindin, Camila Wallin, Fatima Hadzic, Josephine Skagert and Marrier Wallhagen.

UNLESS children are given the will power to raise the alarm against sexual abuse the n


Arja Beruang during a sexual abuse lecture to Grade 5 children of Holy Cross Primary School in Livingstone

umber of child defilement cases may never reach a zero rate in Zambia, Africa.

Latest Zambia’s child sexual abuse for the period January to September 2017 stands at 1,466, according to a police report.

Despite that these figures are lower by 168 cases over the same period last year; the fight to end this vice has been intensified by Norway’s

Support Centre for Survivors of Incest and Sexual Abuse (SMISO in collaboration with Response Network.

SMSO representatives Ms. Preciosa Lurås and Ms. Arja Beruang working are conducting educational lectures for school going children in Livingstone and other neighbouring districts to bring an end to this vice.

At one lecture session Ms. Beruang told Grade 5 school boys and girls of Holy Cross Primary School in Livingstone that they were the masters of their bodies and that they should report any cases of defilement or improper touching of their bodies to the police.

Lecturing the averagely 11 year-olds in the presence of their class teacher Mary Mwaanga and a visiting Norway/Fredskorpset (FK) representative Ms. Nina Zimmer, Beruang said one out of four children are defiled in Zambia.

And Lurås told the children those that are defiled take about 17 years before they report of their ordeals.

And the Zambia Police in its third quarterly news update revealed that Lusaka province leads in defilement cases with 136 acts reported as the end of September followed by Central and Eastern Provinces.

The report made available by police spokesperson Mrs. Easther Mwata Katongo shows that a total of 416 child defilement cases were reported countrywide representing 8.2 per cent of the reported cases, victims all being girls.

“Lusaka Province recorded the highest number of defilement cases with 136 cases translating to 32.7 per cent of the reported defilement cases, Central recorded 50 cases, Eastern recorded 44 cases, Copperbelt 42 cases, Southern Province 39 cases, North-Western had 27 cases, while Muchinga and Luapula had 26 cases each. Northern Province had 11 cases while Western with nine (09) cases.”

The report added that the 2017 defilement cases reduction from the 2016’S 1,634 recorded in 2016 translating in to a reduction 10.3per cent.

“The country also recorded 9 cases of Defilement of imbeciles or persons with mental illness.  80 cases of Rape, 12 attempted rape and 22 indecent assault cases were also recorded during the period under review. 20 cases of incest were reported out of which 14 were females and 6 girl victims. Also recorded were 5 cases of unnatural offences out of which 3 were female victims, one 1 male adult and one male juvenile,” the report revealed.

NB: This story has since been used in Zambia’s independent Newspaper-The Mast of Thursday, November 16th.


Norway/Fredskorpset in Zambia

AS if reciting a poem, Response Network director Håkon Spigseth delved into the history of how the organisation was formed, punctuated with how he upon his arrival into Zambia was astonished at its cultural heritage.

He briefly touched on how he was mesmerised of Zambia’s cultural beliefs and how he embarked on a resolve to make a change especially with regards how Africans and Zambians perceived aid.

Giving a narrative background of Response Network to Nina Zimmer of Norway/Fredskorpset or FK in short, Spigseth described the areas of operation of Response Network and how it has grown to be what it is today.

Response Network which operates in Zambia’s Southern Districts of Zimba, Kalomo and Kazungula hassled to over 70 community schools being built and numerous clubs established helping to mitigate various evils such as Gender Based Violence, HIV and also assisting rural communities engage in organic farming.

Response Network also has and continues to assist vulnerable girls and a young women attain education through the assistance of Academic Work.

It also engages in sports development through the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympics Committee and Confederation of Sport (NIF).

The members of staff including some who have had an experience with FK in its programmes gave their personal experiences during a briefing for Zimmer who will be in Zambia until Saturday November 18.

Zimmer will this week also have a chance to join Academic Work delegation on a visit to Nampongo and Nalombe villages in Zimba districts.

According to Norway/Kredskorpset-“FK Norway creates development by bringing people together to learn, share and understand each other. About 600 participants go on exchange each year through partners in Norway and countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”


Response Network (RN) director Håkon Spigseth (l) with Norway/Fredskorpset’s Nina Zimmer during an RN staff meeting in Livingstone, Zambia on Monday November 13

Academic Work heads to Zambia

Response Network team in Zambia is gearing up for Academic Works visit next week, November 15.

According to Academic Works assistant sponsorship officer Elizabeth Banda the Swedish delegation will first meet pay a courtesy call on Response Network members of staff in Livingstone before heading to Zimba where they will pass through the District Educational Board Secretary’s office for a brief briefing.

“We expect the delegation here on November 15, and then head out to Zimba, en-route to Nampongo village and later to Chilaba village where there shall be a night stop,” Banda said.

She also said the delegation will also have a meeting with the Kubala Girls.

Academic Works has been collaborating with Response Network to ensure that vulnerable girls access education.

Many girls have since accomplished record breaking high school results such as 20-year-old Ndano Lubasi who last year got Zambia’s highest results and earned a place to study medicine at the Copperbelt University.

Many others have ended up becoming teachers and nurses while a big number of girls continue being assisted in attaining education from Grades 1 to 12.

And the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) has also visited Response Networks projects in Nalombe after having a courtesy call at the Response Network office on Tuesday November 7.

Response Network director Håkon Spigseth briefed the NCA delegation of the organisations operations and activities being undertaken in Zimba, Kalomo and Kazungula districts.

Response Network director Spigseth talking to NCA delegation in Livingstone

Response Network director Spigseth talking to NCA delegation in Livingstone

Tore Schulze lives on

FRIDAY November 3, 2017 was a memorable day for Response Network as Tore Schulze’s memories were rekindled through the hand-over of a school built using his life savings.


Tore Schulze at the Victoria Falls in Livingstone Zambia

The school has also empowered surrounding communities with clean and safe drinking water from a borehole.

Before this, residents near the school used to share water with domesticated animals such as cows, goats and dogs from a nearby dam.

Schulze who succumbed to cancer at the age of 60 on May 5, 2015 in Kragerø, Norway, worked at Response Network, which is under the directorship of Håkon Spigseth.

The school was handed over to the Zambian Government by Spigseth through Ministry of General Education’s Permanent Secretary Henry Tukombe.

Spigseth told Mr. Tukombe that Response Network was founded under the ideals of self-help programmes.

Response Network (RN) which operates in Zimba, Kalomo and Kazungula Districts of Southern Zambia under the patronage of Zambia’s Justice Minister Given Lubinda specialises in educating rural communities in Skills Training Clubs, Community Governance Clubs, and Community Women’s Rights Clubs aimed at mitigating Gender Based Violence, Community Mental Health Clubs, Disability Clubs and also Organic Farming Clubs among others.

Mr. Tukombe said Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu was committed to ensuring that all children regardless of their social status have equal access to quality education.

He added that Government will endeavour to work very closely with Response Network to ensure that more educational programmes are implemented and that the rural communities are taken out of dependency.


Kristina Antal of Norway’s School of Sports Sciences in Zambia, Africa

Norway’s SMISO’s Preciosa in Livingstone

Response Network Zambia members of staff with some of Norwegian students currently in Zambia

Norwegian love from Africa

By Edwin Mbulo

KRISTINA Antal 25 and Benedikte Ridderholt 24 who are in Zambia for a sports development programme on a Youth Sports Exchange Programme (YSEP) with Response Network have finally departed for Nyawa village.

Antal and Ridderholt who are students at the Norwegian

Benedikte Ridderholt (l) and Kristina Antal in Zambia, Africa

School of Sports Sciences (NSSS) in Oslo, are in Zambia’s Nyawa village over 80 kilometres northwest of Livingstone city.

The duo were escorted by Response Network’s facilitators Amon Kasweka and Annet Sonko, and also Caleb Chabauni who is Response Networks buildings officer.

The two students will be in Zambia until June next year.

Antal who will be based in Nyawa’s Mabwa village says “I chose to be taken to a rural part of Zambia and I want to learn a lot, see new places, know different cultures and get to meet new people. I also want to show my competence in my work on how sports can be used for development, especially at grassroots levels.”

Ridderholt on the other hand says she wants to grow her understanding of Zambia.

“During my stay here in Zambia I want to grow as a human being,” she said.

“Before coming to Africa I only had the perception of the continent as given by the European media, who only showed the worst part of the continent, the media has a lot of apathy on Africa, so I want to make my own opinion and not trust media gossip.”

Response Network runs several programs such as village self help programmes with the aid of the Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD), Academic Works of Sweden and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).

The organisation however is still seeking more funding from local and foreign organisations to be able to sustain its programmes being implemented in Zimba, Kazungula and Kalomo districts.

Targeting resilience among families with children who are HIV+ in Zambia

By Edwin Mbulo

RESPONSE Network has embarked on a programme to increase resilience among households that have children living with HIV in Zambia.

Response Network’s programme manager says Julius Simfukwe says sensitisation of villagers in Kazungula, Zimba and Kalomo’s rural areas on child sexual abuse and gender based violence has been scaled up.


He said 719 villagers have so been reached in the first six months of the year out of which 363 were men and 356 females through goal oriented project planning workshops and meetings.

Simfukwe said of the 719 villagers 10 persons living with disabilities have been involved with the funding by the Norwegian Association of the Disabled (NAD) and Academic Work of Sweden under Response Networks village Self-Help Programme.

He said Response Network’s advisory board members Dorothy Velemu, Andrew Lwenje led by board chairperson Peter Matubulani were recently briefed of the networks programmes.

“We informed the board that from USAID through Development Aid from People to People’s Zamfam Project we want to increase resilience among households with children living with HIV. So far 828 beneficiaries comprising of 263 males 565 females including 17 persons living with disabilities have been reached against a target of 7,028,” Simfukwe said.

He said the project is aimed at achieving alleviated poverty through rights based self-help approach among the marginalised in Zimba, Kazungula and Kalomo districts.

Simfukwe said under the HOPE programme two young women are working SMISO and Response Network on the child sexual abuse of children.

He said under the Community Schools building project aims at supplementing communities that have started self-help community schools with building materials with funding from Academic Works of Sweden and the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) through the Joint Country Programme (JCP).

Simfukwe further added that through Academic Work, Tore Shulze Memorial and the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympics Committee and Confederation of Sport (NIF) staff, adding that the programme has over 700 girls being supported with school fees at both primary and secondary.

“We have 20 young girls in tertiary learning institutions and 80 are undergoing skills training in catering, auto mechanics, electrical and tailoring, while 15 community members from various Response Network self-help facilitated clubs are undergoing skills training in agriculture and carpentry,” he said.


Tales of an orphaned Zambian girl

By Edwin Mbulo

GROWING up without knowing her father, losing a mother at the age of 6 and not having any siblings didn’t dissuade Livingstone’s Sarah Mainza to put education first ahead of persuasions that lure youths in Zambia.


19 year-old Sarah Mainza (c) with Response Network director Håkon Spigseth (l) and sponsorship programme manager Frayor Chabauni in Livingstone Zambia

In an interview an upbeat, Sarah aged 19 based in Livingstone, Zambia said she used the influence of her family life situation to draw the passion to work hard in her academic work so that she could better her life.

“I got a distinction in Mathematics and English, while i managed to get credits in History, Religious Education, Biology and Science. In Agricultural Science and Civic Education I managed to get credits. I got the zeal to work hard in my studies after taking an audit of my situation, i realised that being an orphan being kept by grandparents it was incumbent on me to work hard and better my future and the only way to do this was through studying hard,” Sarah said.

She added that she would have loved to do far much better that what she got in her final secondary school examination results.

Sarah who has been accepted by the University of Zambia (UNZA) to study a Degree Course in Adult Education also added that she has always been interested in a career that has to do with calculations hence her distinction in mathematics.

“I have never seen my father and my last name Mainza is my mothers, she was born Queen Mainza and died when i was 6 years-old, thereafter i was taken up by my grandparent, my grandmother is a retired nurse and currently my grandfather is a businessman at Maramba Market engaged in tyre mending,” she said.

Sarah who attended her junior education at Shungu Primary school and later did her senior education at St Marys in Livingstone further added that she initially wanted to study law but eventually lost interest.

She said her acceptance to the University of Zambia is just a stepping stone for her to pull off her dreams of being an accountant.

“I have always wanted to be an accountant from as early as Grade 7, so this is a stepping stone to my dreams,” Sarah said.

She further praised Response Network for having offered her financial and material assistance through Sweden’s Academic for her to complete her Primary and Secondary School education.

“Response Network assisted me from Grade 6 to pay for my education and i am very grateful to them and Academic Work,” Sarah said. “It is my dream that they can continue to assist me even as i go to UNZA,”

Asked what her advise would be to Zambia’s girls with regards education Sarah urged her peers especially those in wretchedness a to put God first in all they do and work hard in academic work.

“I would advise girls especially those in a situation as mine, to work very hard if they are to attain their dreams. Those in my shoes of uncertainty, misery and a solitude to turn to education in order to secure their future,” she said.

Asked what her hobbies were, Sarah said she love singing and read.

She added that at Response Network a non-governmental organisation which operates in Zimba, Kalomo and Kazungula on various human development projects targeting the girl child, people living with disabilities, children living with HIV and also encourages the construction of community schools on self-projects she was involved in a programme known as Kicking Out AIDS.

Zambia’s Minister for General Education, Dr Dennis Wanchinga who is also the chairperson of the National UNESCO Commission in his foreword to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO’s)  2016 Zambia annual report published in May 2017 said: “Education can only be deemed to have achieved its purpose if it equips learners with the necessary skills they will need for both personal and national development.”

According to the demographic and health survey (2013-2014) 29 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19 in Zambia are either mothers already or pregnant with their first child.

“Teenage pregnancy is much higher in rural areas (36%) than in urban areas (20%). Zambia’s North-Western Province has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy (41%), followed by Western Province (40.4%). Its lowest rates are in the more industrialized Copper Belt, where teen pregnancy stands at 16%,” the survey revealed.