Ed's Blog

Ed Stacey is a PEPAIDS volunteer who is part of the team helping to set up our Growing Futures project. In early November 2013 he headed out to Zambia to meet up with SAPEP and finalise our plans for Growing Futures. Ed, who lives in Oxfordshire, has been volunteering with PEPAIDS since September 2013 and hopes to go into a career in International Development after working with PEPAIDS. Ed has been helping bring the best that SAPEP and PEPAIDS have to offer together on this project and will keep us up to date with regular reports of his trip and the work he is doing on this page.

Saturday the 23rd – Thursday the 28th of November

As promised here are some pictures from my stay with Nina at her farm – more holiday snaps than charity blog but fun all the same.



Friday the 22nd of November

Today we visited Muntemba in the Mazabuka district of the Southern Province in order to evaluate the other OVC camp that we ran earlier in the year. It was a slow start as there had been recent rains so many people were busy in their fields and couldn't come to the meeting until late in the afternoon. However once everyone arrived we could begin and again we got some brilliant feedback on our work from both the orphaned and vulnerable children that went on the camps and their guardians who have been at home to witness the changes in them.


Here SAPEP project officer Kenneth (standing in the middle) talks to the OVCs and guardians that have assembled so far. When we separated the two groups Wilson, SAPEP director (standing on the left), got the chance to talk to the guardians about development in the community as a whole. This is always a popular talk of his and really gets everyone's eyes focused on the future of the community and the task of getting there. Seated against the tree is the other SAPEP project officer Oliver, diligently taking notes.


Thursday the 21st of November


For the last two years SAPEP has been working with BBC Media Action on a project called MAKE: Media for Advocacy and Empowerment which aims to bring about development through the use of media by giving people a place to share their views. It sounds like a basic idea but if the rural communities can't ask things like 'what happened to that Rural Electrification scheme you started 20 years ago, I want to use my toaster!' then the government has very little incentive to do what they promise in the elections. This project, in the Monze and Mazabuka districts takes place in the form of public debates that are recorded and broadcast on local radio stations; the station involved today is called Radio Chikuni.


Wednesday the 20th of November

This week one of our major projects was to evaluate the two OVC camps that we ran earlier on in the year. One camp was held in Monze and one in the Mazabuka district; we evaluated the Monze camp today and will evaluate the Mazabuka district on Friday. Due to the distances between some of the communities which contributed children to the Monze OVC camp we held two meetings to evaluate it, one in the morning at St Mary's school and one in the afternoon and Kafwe-fwe community school. Both meetings went brilliantly, and the OVCs and their guardians together gave us some really useful information to help us improve our Growing Futures project. They also told us what parts were successful, that parts that didn't need changing at all, which is always wonderful to hear. Zambians love to talk about the positive which is great fun but makes the task of finding areas of the OVC camps to improve rather a challenge. However, SAPEP have spent years working with these communities and so are well versed in how to find out the information we need.


Here, OVCs from around the area of St Mary's respond to a questionnaire that we read aloud to them. The children sit wide apart and cover their eyes so that they are unable to know what their peers answer to the questions and vice versa. This is important as some of the questions ask what kind of abuse they have experienced in the past and so creating a sense of security and confidentiality is hugely important.


Sunday the 17th of November


As far as the weekend goes there is very little of interest to report as I spent most of it writing reports. However, on Sunday morning Sandra and her daughter Mary came to Wilson's house. Wilson was going to take them to the Hospital as Mary's cough which we had seen on Thursday and then again on Saturday evening during visits to Sandra had not gotten any better; in fact it had got a lot worse. In the last week I discovered that Mary was also HIV positive, along with her mother. So you can understand why we were worrying.

Late Sunday morning they arrived back and I have no idea what they did in that hospital but Mary was full of smiles and laughter – more so than I have ever seen her before. She now has a week long course of medication to sort her out. On the right is my favourite picture of the little monster, we soon discovered she had a real thing for men. If she was being held by a women and was crying all it would take was either me, Wilson or one of his sons to pick her up and it was instantaneous contentment. One of the funniest things is that she hasn't yet realised the difference between skin colour and so to her I am just like everyone else. As opposed to one of the toddlers I frequently meet walking to see Sandra who bursts into hysteric tears every time THE GHOST MAN APPEARS!


Friday the 15th of November

This morning we visited the last of the Growing Futures OVC camp communities in Matimbia. Here we met the head teacher (third from right in the picture below) who, like so many of the head teachers at the community schools, was determined to help lead the way for development in this rural community by supporting the work SAPEP wants to do next year.


Here Oliver, Mazabuka Project Officer, explains what details need to be included in the list of orphans and vulnerable children in the community.


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George's Marvellous Motorbike!

George Malambo has been one of the most inspirational Zambian Peer Educators of our story. To this day, George has worked hard to do what he can to help the poorest and sickest in his community and further afield, as well as inspiring all of our UK volunteers. So as our parting gesture, PEPAIDS wanted to reward him for 16 years of amazing service.

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