STACSS 2017

Like every year, RN participated in the annual Southern Tourism, Agricultural and Commercial Show (STACSS) for 2017 which was held from 13th to 16th July in Livingstone. The theme this year was “Promoting a Green Economy” which is in line with the national theme of reaching the SDGs of sustainable development of 2030. This was perfect as is it also in line with our way of working, particular with the organic vegetable growing that many of the clubs and self-help groups are doing with our support.

Outside our stand at this years STACSS

The show is a great opportunity for different businesses, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Government ministries to showcase the different services and merchandise that they offer to the community.

Our neighbour stand showcasing the work the inmates do

In the past years that we have participated we have impressed the judges and won several prizes in the NGO category. We are proud to have won the second place in the overall NGO category this year. Our team put in a lot of hard work and our stand gave an insight in to the variety of programs that RN provides.

Florence and Caleb representing RN at STACSS 2017

In addition to this our own co-worker and sensei Mama and her talented Judo group presented their skills during the opening ceremony, showcasing another of the thematic areas RN work in.

Judo presentation during opening ceremony

LABOR DAY 2017

Labor Day is celebrated and commemorated annually on May 1st and in Zambia, this means doing what we do best, a march past followed by a celebration.
This year, RN celebrated Labor Day in Livingstone with the march past taking place from the Teacher’s resource center to LIBES college along Kazungula road.
Organizations came out to show solidarity and support with banners flying high. The theme for this year was “tackling today’s socio-economic challenges to secure decent work and tomorrow’s future”.

The guest of honor was Member of Parliament and RN patron, Honorable Given Lubinda and the District Commissioner for Livingstone was also in attendance in addition to representatives from the various unions.

 

As is customary at such events, employees are rewarded in one or other category. The Transport & Logistics officer, Biemba Mubanga was awarded as the most hardworking employee; the Assistant Logistics & Stores officer, Jacob Nkunika was rewarded for long service and the Sports Coordinator, Amon Kasweka was awarded the most improved employee.

after receiving certificates

Introducing FK/YSEP 2016-2017 Pt.3

Last but not least in this series is our male Youth Sport Exchange Program/Fredskorset volunteer from Norway. Here he gives us a little insight into who he is.

My name is Martin Steen Reymert, I am twenty-five years old and I am currently working and living in Livingstone, Zambia, as a sport volunteer for a local NGO called Response Network.

Growing up in Oslo, Norway, I was always engaged in different sports activities, football being the sport I pursued most seriously. After I quit playing, I continued coaching for almost five years, thus I have a good amount of experience in this field. After I graduated from high school, I continued my academic career attending The University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. In June 2016 I graduated with a Master of Arts in Sociology, having written my dissertation on the topic of sport and integration of ethnic minorities.  Proven by my past experiences, I have always found sport and its function as a tool for social development, very interesting indeed.

Here in Livingstone, I have, in close cooperation with a local football club called Nirngo United F.C., initiated a football academy for local children and youth. We have now managed to get close to one-hundred registered participants, who range from 6-16 years of age. Moreover, one of the most important achievements this far has been engaging 4 of the local U21 players to coach the younger children. By focusing on local empowerment, we can be hopeful that the academy will live on after my departure for Norway.

We’ve now introduced you to all three of our YSEP volunteers for the 2016/17 period, their exchange is sadly almost coming to an end in a few short month, however lets cross that goodbye bridge when we get to it.

Intl. Women’s Day 2017

International day for women or Women’s Day is always an occasion to look forward to and this year’s was no exception. The RN team prepped for 3 whole weeks for this day to go off without a hitch and thankfully it did.

This day is celebrated countrywide and province and district-wide. RN participated in Kazungula District last year and thus opted to participated in Zimba District which on a slow day is about 45 minutes drive from Livingstone. The festivities though delayed turned out to be entertaining and well worth the wait. The Guest of Honor for the function was the District Commissioner who is appropriately for the celebration, a female. The DC urged the offices in charge of land to begin making the purchase of land easier for women as they are the mothers of the nation and a vital part of all systems.

There was dancing galore at the venue of Zimba Secondary School which we got to after a march past from Zimba Civic Center. There was even believe it or not, an eating contest consisting of 5 participants trying to eat as much of the loaf of bread they were given and drink as much of the two bottles of coco-cola they were given within the short span of five minutes. After much toiling and much ado, one person emerged victorious winning herself K50. The second and third runner up received K25 and K10 respectively.

Have a look at the pictures from the event on our Facebook and Instagram pages, however we will upload additional pictures into this article as they become available.

A warm welcome

On February 27th, we received 4 students from University-College of Oslo, Norway! We are always excited to welcome visitors and students here at RN.

 

The students are Baard Dalhaug (23); Atle Pedersen (24); Maren Rejve (23) and Hummeam Khan (26). Baard and Maren are being hosted at Nampongo Village and Atle and Hummeam are being hosted at Siakasipa Village. They are all studying to become Physical Education (PE) teachers.

“We are here for three weeks on an exchange program and we are very much looking forward to experiencing a different culture and teaching the communities something new,” said Baard. To which Hummeam added that that they hope to return to Norway having known more about Zambia and its culture.

We’ll ask them more about their experiences once they have had a chance to experience the rural areas first hand. But for now we wish them luck and a hearty welcome to Livingstone!

*Photo of the students available on our Instagram page (response_network) and our Facebook page (Response Network)

Have a little HOPE

We have a new program starting in 2017 called the HOPE progam. HOPE stands for Hope, Opportunity, Participation, Empowerment and will be run by Response Network and Norwegian based SMISO. SMISO (Støttensenter Mot Incest og Seksuelle Overgrep) is a Non-Governmental Organization located in Tromsø, Norway. It is part of a national network in Norway and offers support and guidance to individuals and families that have experienced incest or sexual abuse.

The purpose of this program is to exchange experience and build competence on preventing and coping with incest and sexual abuse in partner organizations and in the communities in Norway and Zambia. Not only this but also to create awareness regarding incest and sexual abuse for refugees and other people descending from a different culture than Norwegian in Tromsø. Including increasing the culture sensitivity when dealing with people who have been subjected to abuse and related issues.

RN is sending two participants, namely Maunga Kapika and Audrain Muloongo. We caught up with them on their return from their orientation in Johannesburg and they gave us a short insight into how they are feeling.

Maunga Kapika

Maunga Kapika says, “from my exchange, i am expecting to gain experience and knowledge that i can bring back to my home organization and to my community as well. I would also like to gain more knowledge in sexual abuse and get exposure as i am ready to share my experience with SMISO. I look forward to experiencing a different culture and socialize”.

Audrain Muloongo

I am looking forward to having more knowledge on issues pertaining to incest, sexual abuse and their consequences. I would also like to share ideas on how we can educate people on good morals and about respecting human rights. It will also be interesting to see how issues of GBV and sexual abuse are handled in Norway. I am excited to be going overseas though there will be some challenges of climate, culture, homesickness and unfamiliar food,” says Audrain.

With this program, we have also received two participants from Norway. We will be getting to know Preciosa Luraas and Arja Bjørn in some later posts.

 

Thank you for reading our latest blog.

Introducing FK/YSEP 2016-2017 Pt.2

In early November, we introduced you to one of our Fredskorpset (FK) aka Youth Sport Exchange Program (YSEP) volunteers, Maurice Kamau from Kenya and in this blog post, we’re introducing you to our bubbly volunteer all the way from the snowy land of Norway!

My name is Ingrid Renli, I am one of the lucky YSEP volunteers, that has traveled from Norway to work with Response Network! I am soon to be 30 years of age, and simply love doing sports and outdoor activities. In Norway I work in the hospital as an Occupational Therapist and volunteer as an Ice-hockey coach for girls and people with disabilities.



I played many sports growing up, among them gymnastics. Though Ice hockey has been my main sport, where I proudly played for the Norwegian National Team for more than 10 years. In the recent years I have focused on kite surfing, skiing and hiking in the mountains. Ice hockey is an amazing sport, but for obvious reasons cannot be played here in southern Africa. So now, I am enjoying my time living and working in the village of Nampongo in Zimba District in Zambia’s southern province, playing netball and football. I enjoy traveling and experience new things, and i’m looking forward to continuing my stay here in Livingstone and Nampongo

 

 

School season kick off

As can be ascertained from the title, its that time of year again. The office has been abuzz and filled with parents and pupils either registering on the sponsorship program for the first time, like those adorable Grade one pupils that are so excited to be at the beginning of their education journey; or the more weathered Grade 8 and (former Grade 7 pupils who sat and passed their Junior Secondary exams last year) as well as the new Grade 10′s who sat for their exams last year as well. In Zambia, Grade 7, 8 and definitely Grade 12 are major exam grades. We were happy to see so many of our girls pass and return to come and collect uniforms as well as school requirements.

 

The parents and guardians of these children are a vital component in making a success of the sponsorship “kubala girls” program. They were also on hand at the office for orientation and to sign the contracts between themselves and Response Network. Orientation included a talk about the do’s and don’t that are stipulated and also what is expected from them as parents or guardians and what the role of RN is in the grand scheme of things. Its important for us to work hand in hand as the end goal for us all is to facilitate the education of these girls and give them a better chance at succeeding in life, an opportunity that they may not have had at all if it weren’t for this program.

The other exciting part has been seeing the kubala girls alumni come through to the office to hand in their applications for the newly launched skills training program. Its not often that girls can finish school and afford to endeavor into tertiary education or even manage to basically further their education, which leaves them more vulnerable to all kinds of societal evils, which is what makes this program, which is another Academic Work of Sweden partnership, all the more important. The girls got to choose from a number of courses including plumbing; auto mechanics, catering, carpentry and some others.

The skills training girls also swung by to be oriented and to also pick up some of their more basic school requirements. Smiles were abounding and it really was a sight to behold. The girls eagerly chatted away with one another trying to ascertain who had picked which course and about how exciting the courses will be. We’ll be following up on this in blog posts to come so keep  your eyes peeled for that.

Thank you for reading.

*Pictures will be posted soon

End of Year recap

The last couple of months of 2016 went by in a flurry of activity, but fret not because your (hopefully) favorite blog is back and in full force. We have a lot to catch up on so lets get right into it.

We’ll be giving you a run-down of our 2016 end of year activities, and in case you missed them, you can head over to any of our social media pages and have a glance at what went on during December. The atmosphere was generally filled with what the “young people” like to call KeDecember (its December) fever. We were running about trying to plan, implement and finalize preps for the end of year seminars and parties that have to take place before we officially close offices.

First on the line up was our volunteers end of year seminar/party which was held in Makumba village which is about 65km from Livingstone. It was a 2-day affair, the party was held on Thursday December 15th and the volunteers and RN staff as well as community members had tons of fun interacting and dancing the night away. The next day is when the seminar was held. This was basically just a summary of what had been achieved through the year and how to improve this year. The event was graced by the Headwoman of the village, mind you, its not very common to find a woman in a position of authority such as this in the rural areas and it was wonderful to have her there. She helped present the volunteers with their ‘year in service’ certificates alongside the Assistant Director, Mutukwa Matengenya as well as the Programs Manger, Julius Simfukwe. After all the certificates were dispensed with, it was time to cut into the very delicious cake that had been baked specifically for the occasion. After which, a hearty lunch buffet was served and then sadly it was time to come back into the city.

volunteers receiving their certificates

The next event was the Kubala Girls (sponsorship girls) Christmas party which was held on December 23rd at the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) mess hall. This had  a great turn out and girls from various schools showed up to enjoy the party. The entertainment was exceptional, with superstar Zambian artist, Shyman Shaizo performing some of his hits and also giving the girls an inspirational talk. Other entertainment included Mosi-o-Tunya drama group who showed off their African dance moves. The girls themselves got to show off their dance expertise in mini dance competitions that were held and the best dancers got a small cash prize for their efforts. The team from Chreso were also on hand to advocate on issues of HIV/AIDS and the importance of getting tested and being safe.


The festivities were graced by the Mayoress who was standing in for the Mayor and she gave a short speech on the importance of the work that Response Network is doing in the education sector and she encouraged the girls to keep their grades up and strive to do better in school.
There was also a prize-giving ceremony where selected girls were given gifts for their hard work through the year. No one went away empty handed though as there was a lovely Christmas cake that was enjoyed by all.

Last but not least was the end of year staff party which was held on the Taonga boat cruise and was well attended by RN staff and selected invited guests including the guidance counselors and teachers from the schools we work with as well as some familiar faces from the local media to name but a few. RN’s director gave a riveting performance where he belted out a Christmas carol for the attendees. The performance received a standing ovation (video coming soon on instagram) and solicited an encore from the crowd.  There were plenty of refreshments and food available and by the time the boat docked, everyone was in high spirits. This day was the official closing of RN offices for the 2016 year and want an ending it was, ended with a bang as they say.

International Day of the Disabled

December 3rd marked a very special day. The International Day of the Disabled or IDD was kicked off at the Livingstone City Council parking lot with a march past. Marching for a cause is a Zambian tradition, and this day was no different.

The procession was led by a brass band and our so popular majorettes. Organizations of all sorts came out, including Cheshire homes who marched along with their excited children who all have one disability or another. The march past procession made its way through the Livingstone town center to where the actual even would be held which was the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) junior officer’s mess also known as Chopper House.

What made this event even more special was the fact that the organizing committee had decided against having external entertainment but instead had the people with disability (PWDs) put on various acts ranging from dancing to poetry reading and drama sketches, all of which were thoroughly enjoyed. The event was graced by the Mayor of Livingstone and he too got into the festivities and danced alongside the PWDs.

In closing, a delicious light lunch was served for all to enjoy and sadly the day was over. The countdown to the next one (yes, in a year’s time) has begun.