Despite the turmoil surrounding us all, The Butterfly Tree continues to initiate and implement new projects in Zambia. I cannot thank enough all the donors that are supporting us through COVID-19, and the trustees and volunteers working tirelessly to help those who are less fortunate than we are.
Last month we successfully drilled four boreholes for remote schools and communities in Nyawa Chiefdom, with seven more scheduled in the next two weeks. The grant award, received earlier this year from Corteva Agriscience, for our Seeds for Life project listed on GlobalGiving, has given a tremendous boost to our food and water projects. The boreholes will be invaluable for school food production and during periods of drought.
The grant is being used to fund a community borehole for a new rural settlement and five for remote schools, which will enable them to advance their vegetable gardens. In the past the World Food Programme has provided daily meals for Zambian schools. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, and now schools must provide their own sustainable feeding programmes, which is difficult as many pupils are unable to pay school fees due to the high poverty levels.
Five secondary schools, that already have boreholes, are to be given submersible water pump systems from the grant award funds. The schools can then water their gardens during the dry season, which lasts from April until November. The aim is to provide sufficient food for the pupils with any surplus vegetables being sold to the community. This will generate an income to support orphans and purchase school supplies. The same grant will also pay for seeds and fertiliser for 30 rural schools, creating further sustainability. A submersible pump and water tank for Bunsanga Health Post are also included in the grant funding.
Development is well underway at Musokotwane Secondary School. A substantial donation for the Hilary and Neil Murphy Charitable Foundation includes the construction of a 1×3 classroom block, a science laboratory, two boarding shelters and toilets, as well as a water system for their school garden. Once complete this school will accommodate over 1,000 pupils.
A new directive, which puts a further burden on schools, is that they must provide their own text books. With classes ranging from 50 to 110 pupils I frequently see entire groups sharing as few as two textbooks. Thanks to recent donations five schools are to receive textbooks this month.
We will shortly be distributing mosquito nets in three schools, where there is a high prelavence of malaria, thanks to a generous donation from Nick Bousliman. According to a study ‘Imperial College London’s Covid-19 Response Team estimates that malaria deaths could more than double in 2020 compared with 2019 if the distribution of 228 million mosquito nets, for sub-Sahara Africa, is disrupted.’ Again we will target Moomba Chiefdom, where we aim to provide a universal coverage, funded by the Association of Inner Wheel Clubs. In addition to mosquito nets insecticidal coating will be applied to each dwelling, and larvicide granules will be placed in ponds and streams to prevent the larvae developing into mosquitos.
Food shortages continue to effect communities, such as Mukuni Village, that are dependent on the tourism industry. A successful fundraiser, held by the Choirs of Pembroke College, Cambridge, has provided 1,000 bags of maize. A further 300 bags have been given to the orphans and vulnerable children that are being sponsored by The Butterfly Tree.
As always we are mindful of the coronavirus pandemic and will ensure that our volunteers and beneficiaries are being protected and not taking any unnecessary risks. Some of the above photographs were taken prior to COVID-19.
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