I am delighted to present to you The Butterfly Tree’s Annual Report and Accounts, for our financial year ending on the 31st March 2021. The full version of the report and accounts, including wonderful pictures of our beneficiaries, can be viewed by clicking on this link: Annual Report 2020-21
During the entire year only 3.66% of total expenditure was spent on expenses, 96.34% went into our charitable projects.
In January 2006 I visited Zambia and Mukuni Village for the very first time, little did I know that 15 years later the charity I founded would still be flourishing. Despite all the challenges of the past year The Butterfly Tree has managed to sustain our existing projects while sourcing new ones. Thanks to the incredible support from our loyal donors, as well as new ones, we continue to implement a diverse section of projects relating to water, food, health and education.
Though I have not been able to travel to Zambia since February 2020 I am in daily communication with our local team, who have been outstanding. Mindful of the risks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they continued to work tirelessly throughout the year to help those most in need. In March 2020 communities in the Southern Province were still suffering from the effects of a severe drought then COVID-19 emerged. Many of the villages, especially Mukuni, rely heavily on tourism due to their close proximity to the Victoria Falls, A World Heritage site. No one received any income that year, and in a country with such a poor economy, there was no handouts.
To support people through this dire situation The Butterfly Tree regularly donated bags of ground maize to orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly, and those that had no means to support themselves. In addition, we offered funding for farming projects. We also provided vast amounts of PPE to rural health centres, schools once they reopened, and the Kazungula Border. Masks were made by local youths and given to the schools. The spread of the virus in 2020 was somewhat contained, but sadly the South African variant took its toll at the beginning of 2021, during this period the Ministry of Health commenced their vaccination programme.
Though the schools were closed for a three month period the government extended term times by shortening the holidays. During the year a major development took place at Musokotwane Secondary School after receiving a substantial donation. This included a 1×3 classroom block, science lab, two boarding houses, toilets, and a solar-powered water reticulation system to support a sustainable food production unit. This was one of six that were installed and will be invaluable during the dry season and periods of drought.
Vasts amounts of textbooks were donated to schools, which has helped to improve examination results with several of our sponsored orphans gaining certificates after completing grade 12. Ten students were sponsored on degree and diploma courses, with one young man completing a three year course in bio-medics. Orphans were sponsored at Mukuni, N’gandu, Kamwi, Ndele, River View, Siavonga, and Kazungula Boarding School. More school leavers are being offered further education opportunities for both academic and skill based courses in September.
Fundraising during lockdown was difficult and some organisations providing cut their international grants. In April 2020 The Butterfly Tree took part in the 2.6 Challenge, a fundraising event to replace the London Marathon. Despite the short notice our Trustees, volunteers and their families, as well as some of our donors took part and raised a substantial amount of funds for bags of maize and mosquito nets. Later that year The Choirs of Pembrooke College, Cambridge University, held a Bach-a-Thon to raise money for food shortages in Mukuni Village.
In addition to installing boreholes in five schools and one for a farming project in Mukuni, solar-powered water reticulation systems were installed at Musokotwane, River View, Katapazi, Singwamba, Matengu and Chaba schools, and Bunsanga Health Post. Seeds were given to schools to grow maize, sorghum and vegetables. Surplus produce was sold to the community, profits are then used to support orphans and to buy school supplies.
Bunsanga Health Post is now in full use and proving to be invaluable for maternity care and COVID-19. We provided PPE to thirty rural health centres as well as medical supplies for Mukuni, Simonga, Mambova and Bunsanga clinics. Support was given to children in need of medical attention and the a project has been initiated to help period poverty with the use of sanitary pads, which are being made by youths in Mukuni.
Our peer education programme in HIV prevention, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, and alcohol and drug abuse, is having an impact. Football and netball teams have been formed in many rural villages to help tackle the above challenges, engaging youths in sport is one of the most successful ways to keep them occupied. We have sponsored football and netball competitions, and this coming year we aim to expand this programme after receiving a substantial donation of football strips and equipment.
At the forefront of our contribution to the health sector is malaria prevention. COVID-19 took precedence over malaria and other major healthissues, not because the interventions were unavailable but due to the delay in obtaining supplies, and distribution by the Ministry of Health. The Butterfly Tree provided safe insecticidal coating to paint 650 dwellings in Moomba Chiefdom and disbursed larvicide in pools and streams. To provide universal coverage mosquito nets were donated to the schools in this Chiefdom. In addition, Singwamba and Chuunga schools also were added to our ‘mosquito nets for schools’ programme, as earlier this year there was high prevalence of malaria, in Nyawa Chiefdom.
Community projects continue to be well supported. In addition to the beekeeping projects for 200 women in Muyunda a new project called ‘Mangoes of Hope’ has been initiated for 200 women in Musokotwane. These will provide sustainable income-generating enterprises for women. A further 12 community houses have been built for orphans and the elderly.
Without the support of our wonderful team of volunteers both in the UK and Zambia, none of this could have been achieved. My sincere thanks to fellow Trustees Ann Sutton (Treasurer), Miranda de Freston and Jackie Brown. Miranda has since resigned as a Trustee to concentrate on a local charity in her town. Miranda has been a valuable member of the team for several years and we wish her all the best with her future endeavours. David, Carolyn, Valerie and Leah, provide vital support in administration, fundraising and safeguarding and we are delighted to welcome Meg Over to our team, who volunteered for us in Zambia in 2018. All offer an invaluable contribution to our work. Our overseas volunteers provide furthersupport – Frank Maiolo (US), Marilee Gibson and Katie Kung (Canada).
The Zambian team, comprising of the four Trustees who have been with us since 2006 – Mupotola Siloka (Secretary and project management), Presley Mulenga (education), Martin Mushabati (ground operations), Stain Musungaila (malaria and community projects). Volunteers – Sibeso Maseka (Environmental Technician), Natasha Mufuya and Mafian Sitali (orphan sponsorship and community housing), Lloyd Kasela and Harold Chilikwazi (community projects). Their vital input, in implementing, monitoring and managing the projects on the ground, during a global pandemic, has been remarkable. I cannot be praise them enough for keeping everything moving during these most difficult of circumstances.
Though COVID-19 is still effecting all of us The Butterfly Tree has some exciting projects in place for 2021-22. On behalf of The Butterfly Tree I wish to thank all our donors that have supported us during this challenging year. It is impossible to name everyone, but every donation helps us to sustain our vital programmes in Zambia, to initiate new projects in remote areas, and to reach out to orphans and vulnerable children living in extreme poverty. Opposite are the names of our major donors who have contributed so much to the success of The Butterfly Tree. Our sincere thanks for your generosity and for putting your trust in our grassroots charity. As always we are grateful to Grenfell James, Stratford-upon-Avon for freely verifying the charity accounts. Despite all the challenges we were able to continue running the charity effectively,thanks to Zoom presentations and meetings, virtual fundraisers, and our amazing team of Trustees and volunteers both in the UK and Zambia, and most especially our generous donors.
- ‘I cannot understate how impressed I am by all the wonderful work you’re doing at the Butterfly Tree. It’s just fantastic!!!! So positive in every way.’ –
- ‘Life is all about fate and opportunities and it was very much Zambia’s good fortune that you made that trip. You’ve changed the lives of thousands which is something few people can say. I remember seeing you in the foyer of the Zambezi Sun and then visiting the village the following day and then realizing that the sign on the building for Butterfly Tree was you. My favorite charity by miles.’ – John McGhee.
- ‘I have seen the impact that you have had on the local community in the Livingstone area. You have made a huge positive impact on the life of so many. Respect! ‘ -Thore Larsgard