Last year we all warmly welcomed Sue Chelemu who joined the Tools for Self Reliance team as the charities’ first in-country officer role, based in Zambia. Having lived in Zambia for 22 years, Sue brings her breadth of experience in teaching and training, and as a business owner, combined with her creative and entrepreneurial skills to support our five partners and projects in Zambia.
As well as the cost saving of having a member of staff in-country and on the ground, Sue is better placed to not only respond to supporting the partners with the delivery and monitoring of training projects immediately, she can meet with more graduates from projects, meet potential new partners, and and can assess suitability and opportunity of different funding opportunities from within country, compared to those activities being delayed until we would fly from the UK on an evaluation visit.
Another great advantage of the in-country role in the longer term is we can evaluate the long term positive impact that the training and tools has made to young people’s livelihoods not just within 12 months of graduating and when we currently meet them on the evaluation visit, but catching up with more graduates two, five, and even ten years later.
Sue will be attending each of our in-country’s partners graduation ceremonies, and is encouraging innovation from graduates by supporting them to develop their metalwork to incorporate creative design so that their doors, windows, and gates are unique. This has already proven successful as these items have already become more sought after and can be sold for a higher price. She meets current project partners on a quarterly basis, evaluates all projects and meets with potential partners as well as networking with potential funding opportunities.
We can’t wait to host the first-of-its-kind network open day later this year, inviting Zambian organisations, partners, and the community to enjoy a day of celebration and awareness of our work in the field of livelihood development.
This year we are really excited to pilot our innovative training project which will be delivered by our Zambian partner Kafue Innovation Centre which will train 30 members of the Kafue community, based 52km south of Lusaka, how to make charcoal briquettes from agriculture waste.
After the depletion of their local forests, and charcoal being in short supply, communities in Kafue are forced to walk long distances to fetch firewood.
Our vocational training project will not only provide young people with the opportunity to learn valuable carpentry, metal fabrication and bricklaying skills, which will give the means to earn a sustainable income for the future by producing the briquettes to sell. But the project will benefit the wider community by supporting the solution of converting waste into a much needed energy source.
We look forward to sharing more news and photos from this project when it begins later this year.