October 2020 – January 2021: a brand new start for hard times #Otto 8 per mille

Since the application to the Waldensian Church grant (January 2020), the situation in Zambia and in particular in the Katete district has changed profoundly. The pandemic stopped the tourists, visitors and volunteers flow to Tiko lodge, which for the past year has not produced any revenue, with a serious crisis for the sustainability of the center. For this reason, the launch of the project funded by the Otto Per Mille of the Waldensian Church and a parallel activity related to chicken farming are the main activities and hopes for the future of Tiko and its crews.

Building of a production unit and an ablution block

“19 steps out of poverty” project officially started on October 1st 2020 with the construction of the production unit, consisting in a total renovation of a building inside the center , formerly used as a shed or study room, now converted into a small food processing laboratory.

The aim is to make it functional for the mass production of ONENEPA, the protein food solution effective against child malnutrition, for which the center is struggling to obtain the necessary health and commercial certifications from the Ministry of Agriculture in Lusaka. As complement , a maize hulling machine (dehuller) was purchased, which will be used to improve the treatment of the cereal for fine food preparations and to feed farmed chickens.

Completed the production unity, the building of the new blocks of outdoor toilets was immediately started. These toilets currently serve two rooms inside a building in the center (Sekelani house) occupied by off-site students studying at St. Francis Hospital. In the future, they will be a resource for all users and visitors of the center for the benefit of a general improvement in sanitation conditions.

Training for young Tiko Interns: three is better than one

Lastly, the training action planned to train some of the younger staff members was launched. With the pandemic underway and the advanced age of the director and his main collaborators, investing in the future becomes even more fundamental. Thanks to the devaluation of the local currency, the opportunity that has emerged is to invest the € 3,000 granted by OPM in three professional courses instead of just the Electrical Engineering course. In this sense, three different professional courses have been planned for as many staff members: electrical engineering for Jason, hotel management for Lozi and accounting administration for Vera. The latter has already been purchased and has started, while the other two have been postponed to February 1 to overcome the period of intense spread of Covid.

Next chapters coming soon

With the so called Action 2 (assets and training) of the project at its final act,  Action 1 of the project has been scheduled for spring 2021.  The damage caused by the cows left to graze freely by some neighbors on our cassava plantations, despite our attempts to fence off the area and protests against owners and local authorities, pulled us to replace the promotion of this crop with that of the sweet potato (yam). Thanks to a group of experts we reached out, the 19 steps course participants will be trained on the cultivation of this staple food, which is now fundamental in much of West Africa. with great results in the fight against malnutrition, also for the advantage of underground growth which avoids the risk of damage by animals left free. Sweet potato will be one of the main themes of the course that will involve the 26 villages and 520 families as planned, although it will involve a greater outlay that the center will try to cover between now and April.

Initial project description: “Otto 8 per mille Project” 

 

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