I have pleasure in presenting The Butterfly Tree’s Annual Report and Accounts. My Chairman’s Report is below, please follow this link to view the full report, accounts and more pictures: Annual Report 15-16
It’s hard to believe, that in January this year, it was ten years since I first stepped onto Zambian soil. Little did I know that during the next decade I would return to this beautiful, but very poor, country and be running a charity both in the UK and Zambia, besides having a following of supporters from around the globe.
What is even more amazing is that most of the volunteers who joined me in 2006 are still helping me, and that to this day we have not changed our original concept. The charity’s philosophy is to ensure that all donor funds go directly into grass roots projects, and that no personal fees or administration costs are deducted. I am delighted to say that we have been able to sustain this belief over the years.
The 2015-16 financial year has been another great period for the charity and its beneficiaries. Despite raising less funds than the previous year, we completed more projects and gained a number of new donors, as well as new partnerships.
On the education front, we completed a huge development at N’gandu School, using grant aid with the help of volunteers from Jersey. Kamwi, Muchambile, Singwamba, Kauwe and River View Schools also underwent considerable expansion. The additional facilities included new classroom blocks, latrines, a school shop and a mobile science laboratory.
The core of all our work revolves around the welfare of orphans. With 1.2 million orphans in a country with a population of just over 15 million, a great deal of support is needed. We continue to attract new sponsors, but the more orphans we support, the more time is needed for administering the programme. To maximise the use of the sponsorship funds we are unable to provide regular feedback on each individual orphan. Therefore I would like to thank everyone for their understanding of the need to avoid any charges so that the funds can be used to educate and provide food for the orphans.
Every year the number of orphans completing a full basic education increases, and it is extremely rewarding to know that so many have gone on to seek further education or employment. Currently there are ten students being assisted to boarding establishments or colleges. For the ones that are awaiting opportunities we have enrolled them in volunteer programmes, most especially with the peer education for HIV prevention and malaria prevention programmes.
As always HIV is a major issue, especially in Mukuni Village and areas surrounding Kazungula. Both are border towns to Zimbabwe and Botswana respectively, as well as being close to major tourist destinations. Educating the young people about the dangers of HIV and prevention of the virus is crucial. Alcohol and drug abuse lessons, as well as early pregnancy prevention, are included in our workshops, which are proving to be highly invaluable.
The lack of safe drinking water in rural communities and schools is also a great concern. Three more bore holes were donated to Bunsanga, Siachikubi and Sinsimuku Schools. This helps to reduce diarroheal diseases in children, saves time on collecting water, and during the dry season it provides irrigation for school gardens. The charity has funded a feeding programme at Mukuni School for almost ten years. A further sixteen schools are given seeds and fertilizer to provide sustainable feeding programmes. Sanitation is another huge issue, especially in remote schools. Nine double latrines were constructed at N’gandu, Kasiya, Kauwe and Singwamba Schools.
Several health initiatives were funded during the past twelve months, these included a clinic at Mambova, two women’s shelters and the new malaria prevention project, which is proving to be highly successful. Over 1,000 houses were painted with the new insecticidal coating, and unlike the rest of the district these areas reported zero or very few cases of malaria. In addition, safe granules were placed in ponds and streams to prevent larva developing into mosquitoes. The Zambian Ministry of Health states that the products are highly effective in fighting the malaria vector.
Six community houses were constructed for widows looking after orphans, four of them with the help of school groups from Wales, while teams from World Challenge constructed a sustainable school shop at Kamwi Junior School. A group of eleven adults came from Jersey, through JOAC’s Community Works project, and once again Mukuni Health Centre had help from Sydney University students. A team from Attraction Tickets Direct travelled to Nyawa Chiefdom where the company funded a number of school projects, as well as bore holes facilitated through our partner Just a Drop.
All of this has been achieved due to the hard work and dedication of our teams of volunteers both in the UK and Zambia. As always I am extremely grateful to my fellow trustees David, Miranda and Wendy who offer so much support and advice, and to Ann Sutton for the tireless task of administering the charity accounts, to Carolyn Howe for managing the volunteer programme and for Oscar Miyanda, who assists with the malaria prevention programme. A special thanks to Frank Maiola, our US representative and to Marilee and Grant Gibson in Canada.
Most importantly I cannot thank enough our amazing team of volunteers for The Butterfly Tree, Zambia. Having the charity registered both in the UK and Zambia has helped us to achieve so much more than having to rely on third party organisations or agencies. Their devotion and commitment is quite extroadinary, especially now that we have expanded to areas away from their roots. Mupotola Siloka (Secretary & Project Manager), Presley Mulenga (Head of Education), Martin Mushabati (Ground Operations Manager), Stain Musungaila (Malaria Prevention) and Sibeso Maseke (Environmetal Officer). Finally, the help from the young volunteers is so rewarding – they are the ones that will make the changes! A special thanks to Chief Mukuni for his counsel, and the local tour operators and hoteliers who support our work.
My heartfelt thanks to every single individual, each company and organisation who has supported us over the past decade. There are far too many to name individually, though I must make an exception and thank our major donors – the Jersey Oversees Aid Commision, the British and Foreign School Society, Saga Charitable Trust, Just a Drop, ENRC Marketing AG, The Besom, Attraction Tickets Direct, Black and White Accounting, the Mukuni Village Fund (Australia), and Valerie Redfern with the Inner Wheel Clubs. I would also like to thank the new organisations and companies, School in a Bag, Give a Hand (Canada) and Motive Real Estate (USA) for inviting us to partner with them. I am grateful and overwhelmed by the trust that everyone of you has put in myself and The Butterfly Tree.