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What is the Kelowna Zambia Partnership?

Officially launched May 31, 2007, the Kelowna Zambia Partnership (KaZ) is a grassroots group creating a platform to “partner” Kelowna with Senanga (a District in Zambia) in order to engage in mutual sharing, learning, and friendship; aiming to improve lives in both of our communities.

We are a non-profit working group associated with VIDEA and Women for Change (WfC), our Zambian partner.

Our backgrounds and interests include but are not limited to education, communications, agriculture, health, water quality, business and international development.  We are committed to action and empowerment for all.

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Join the KaZ team in the Global Solidarity Challenge - click here for more details and to sign up or donate


Please click on the links below for direct access to specific areas and information concerning our organization:

The Zambian Connection


Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program


Official Sister City

Highlights and Past Projects





Contact Us



The Zambian Connection

With the help of VIDEA and Women for Change we have targeted an area in the Western Province of Zambia called Senanga. Senanga was chosen for the partnership for several reasons:

  • Its about the right size
    • Senanga has a population similar to that of Kelowna - roughly 100,000 people.
  • There is great need
    • The people are very poor and there are high rates of HIV/AIDS, as well as other major challenges to overcome.
  • There are few resources
    • Few NGOs are working in this rural region.
  • We have contacts
    • Women for Change, an indigenous NGO has been working to establish groups of men and women interested in improving health, families and community. 
  • The people are ready
    • The people of Senanga are ready and organized to take the next step to improve their well being.

Please click here for more information on Women for Change.

 Please click on the links below for information on Senanga, Zambia:


Come and see our beautiful fair trade baskets at these locations:

  • B.C. Fruit Packers Cooperative

The B.C. Fruit Packers Cooperative on Clement Ave now has our baskets for sale. This provides a great opportunity to buy a beautiful vessel to hold Okanagan produce! Be sure to check it out!

  • New! Picture Perfect and Perpetual Blooms

Our beautiful baskets from Senaga are now also being carried by Picture Perfect and Perpetual Blooms at 339 Bernard Avenue.

Income generation is one of the most important elements of Kelowna’s relationship with Senanga. By offering a marketplace for their traditional baskets, we have given the weavers a sustainable way to support their families and villages. At the same time, shoppers in Kelowna can purchase these beautiful and functional pieces knowing that the people who made them are getting a good price for their work.  In addition to our store locations, KaZ  often has sales stalls throughout Kelowna:  Canada Day Global Marketplace, KGH Auxiliary sales, Urban Harvest Saturday Market, Okanagan Organic Festival, French Cultural Centre Christmas Fair and others.



Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program

After consultations with Women for Change, KaZ is launching a community to community sponsorship of orphans in Senanga who have been affected by the death of one or both parents due to AIDS, Malaria, or other tragedies. Zambia is one of the most severely affected countries by AIDS, and according to the UN 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, has over 700,000 orphans.

To download our brochure on the Orphan Sponsorship Program, please click on the following 2 links for both sides:

Orphan Sponsorship Program Brochure - Side A

Orphan Sponsorship Program Brochure - Side B


In our inaugural year of 2007 Sheila Olcen (our then Chairperson) visited the community of Lui Namabunga and returned to us with the phrase “the forgotten people”.  Young children were being deprived of an education because the distance to the District School was too far to walk in the deep, hot sand.  Building a school became the focus of our fundraising efforts.  Money was raised for the building materials and more than half the budget of $20,000 was raised by Glenrosa Middle School.  The manpower to erect the building came from the parents in the area, organized by WfC staff.  By 2010 there was a well-constructed school building.

Before the building was up, a young man stepped forward as a volunteer teacher.  Sicosamubu Mututwa became the head of his family of nine siblings during his Grade Eleven Year when both parents died.  He had to drop out of school to help support his family.  Because of his efforts to teach the youngest children in Lui Namabunga, parents in the area helped him take care of his family.
We learned through WfC that teachers in Zambia cannot earn a government wage unless they have a Teaching Certificate.  Since 2008 KaZ has funded a project to help Sicho finish school and enter Teachers College.  Over time, the volunteers who follow this path will also be assisted in completing their educational goals.


Official Sister City

On February 11, 2008, Kelowna City Council passed a unanimous motion to name the community of Senanga in Zambia’s Western Province an Official Sister City of Kelowna.  This motion followed a recommendation by the Local Government Manager’s Association (LGMA) that municipalities in B.C. begin to reach out to African communities in a meaningful way following a challenge by notable international development advocate Stephen Lewis at the 2006 LGMA Conference in Kelowna.

Highlights and Past Projects


Highlights of 2010

KaZ Chairperson, Moreen Tremblay, Visits Senanga October 2010

Orphan/Vulnerable Children Program Coordinator Moreen Tremblay traveled to Zambia in October of 2010. There were 5 delegates on this trip, Lynn Thornton, Executive Director , VIDEA; Jennifer Charlesworth and her two daughters, Tessa and  Katherine.

When we arrived, we were met by staff from Women for Change with flowers and driven to Emily Sikazwe’s home-where we were told this would be our home whenever we were in Lusaka.

We spent several days getting over our jetlag and meeting with Women for Change staff to discuss plans for our visits to the villages and to review our shared programs.  We had brought with us numerous items given to us before leaving Kelowna including:

  • Art done by Grade 5 students at Aberdeen Hall
  • Soccer uniforms collected and donated by the Women’s Soccer Association in Kelowna
  • Many books and art supplies donated by individuals and groups for Siteo and Lui Nambunga Schools
  • Costumes and t-shirts for the youth drama groups for their animation teaching
  • Quilts by a Quilt-a-thon at Glenrosa Middle School under the leadership of Mary Anna   Cimbaro
  • Gifts of personal care items for the Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Our trip to the villages of Lyamutinga and Lui Namabunga was an amazing and inspiring experience.  We met with the young woodworking students who were pleased to show us the equipment and books John Kramer, of Mt Boucherie high school had collected and purchased, whilst his woodworking students made tool kits to hold the tools.  The young woodworkers were proud to show us the desks that they had made for Siteo Primary School.

We met with the basket weaving cooperative who greeted us enthusiastically.  We were shown demonstrations of the basket weaving and I was able to interview several of the weavers so that we can market the baskets with more information about the weavers.  We learned that the cooperative is now sponsoring 13 young people to go to school with the monies they have received from the basket sales –so not only are they able to support their own families with this sustainable initiative-they are also supporting other youth in their community.  We were able to shop through all their wares, and see the improvements in their designs and the adding of colour to some of the baskets.  Lynn was able to educate the weavers around what  items sell in Canada and which do not work in Western culture for their marketing knowledge. We also saw the borehole in the community which provides clean and safe drinking water.


The trip to Lui Namabunga was amazing- 90 minutes on a narrow sand track where our drivers must drive fast enough that the 4 wheel drive vehicles do not sink into the sand and still avoid the various trees and bushes.  There the community greeted us again so enthusiastically with many handmade signs of welcome and thanks to Kelowna.  They are so proud of Siteo Community School, the school and the borehole which have been  built in great measure thanks to the work of Glenrosa Middle School, and in particular the ACES program.  The new school is a huge improvement on the old school and there are already 60 students in the early grades with two volunteer teachers.  Building the school involved Women for Change staff hauling rocks from the highway into the community so that they could be used for bricks to build the school.  The challenges involved in creating this simple structure cannot be overstated.  What is easy in Canada, is a huge and formidable task in rural Zambia involving hours of labour and dedication.




I was able to meet with most of the young Orphans/Vulnerable Children sponsored by two groups of sponsors from KaZ.  I was able to get updates on their progress in school and their challenges in getting to and from school, finding suitable accommodation, getting books and materials for learning.  Several of our sponsored youth are now in high school and one ready to attend Teacher College.  We need to find ways to support that post secondary education and living costs.


During my last days in Lusaka, I was able to meet with the youth staff and identify a set of shared goals that we partner in achieving.  These include finding funding for 30 youth to attend the annual youth conference in Lusaka; working on exchanges of teachers and students; creating community schools with additional books and materials that would allow for adults to use the schools to learn gardening, weaving, woodworking, literacy, cooking and other skills as well as building a lending library for adults to encourage their reading and thereby their supporting the education of their children of both genders.

I returned to Canada both feeling very fortunate for what we have as well as inspired by the work of Women for Change and the resilience of the people of Senanga.

John Kramer Provides Tools and Textbooks for the Carpentry Program

John Kramer is a woodworking teacher at Mt. Boucherie S.S., and he is a member of KaZ.  These two roles came together when John recognized how useful good quality hand tools would be in teaching carpentry skills to young Zambians.  Over time he had collected used surplus tools, and then as a project for his students he had them build some sturdy tool kits. Learning marketable skills is one way that young Zambians can improve their lives.  As you may guess from the name of the organization, Women for Change, the young adults who will be taught carpentry skills will be both women and men.

Millennium Development Challenge 2010

This annual event again showcased the ideas of secondary school students regarding development projects.  The team representing KaZ from Mt. Boucherie S.S. won third place with their proposal to fund sports equipment for the children of Senanga.


Glenrosa Middle School Raises Money to Furnish Siteo Community School

Once again the students at GMS put their talents towards helping KaZ complete the school project by sending over $5,000 to buy materials for the Carpentry Program in Senanga to build desks and book shelves.  Using the tools and text books sent from KaZ they can continue to improve their carpentry skills while they build furniture.


Quilt-a-Thon and Raffle

Glenrosa Middle School also hosted a day for quilters, attempting to set a record for how many quilts could be made in one 8-hour day.  Approximately 240 quilts were completed and the KaZ delegates took some of them to Senanga in October 2010.  Others were distributed through the Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre, KGH Women’s Auxiliary and Hospice House.


Highlights of 2009

Norman Chavula of WfC Visits Kelowna

In February 2009, during International Development Week, Lynn Thornton brought Norman Chavula to visit the B.C. cities which have Zambian partnerships:  Victoria, Nelson and Kelowna.  While Norman was with KaZ he spoke to a gathering at The Cove in West Kelowna, met with the Mayor, visited schools and helped the KaZ committee to plan for future projects.  We also made sure he saw some of Kelowna’s winter hot spots:  Big White Ski Resort, Kelowna Rockets Hockey Game and the Kelowna Curling Club.


Highlights of 2008

Global Citizen Week and the Millennium Development Challenge

One of the many activities of Global Citizen week is the Millennium Development Challenge where teams of secondary school students compete to win funds for their projects.  They research international development projects in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals and two of the winning teams had selected KaZ/VIDEA for initiatives in Senanga.
Sharing third prize was OKM Secondary School.  Their winnings were contributed to the building of the community school in Lui Namabunga.

First Prize went to Mt. Boucherie S.S. for their idea of a youth-led community garden and bore hole well.  In fact, one garden was improved and a second one started through their initiative.  The sandy soil in this region needs augmentation to support vegetable gardens.  Learning the composting techniques was only one of the skills the teenagers were taught.  They also gained knowledge in vegetable propagation, nutritional advantages to promote improvement in the local diet and team building.

Trip to Zambia in 2008

Delegates from all three B.C. Sister Cities (Victoria, Nelson and Kelowna) traveled to Zambia in October with the guidance of Lynn Thornton, Executive Director of VIDEA.  Mary Weston was the KaZ delegate and saw first-hand how the Partnership had made a difference to the lives of many.  Packed in all the suitcases were much needed medical and school supplies donated by people in Kelowna.  The UBC-O Nursing Students were particularly generous. 

Lyamutinga Baskets

In Lyamutinga a Co-operative had been started to make baskets that we bring to Kelowna to sell.  Through their efforts they are keeping a traditional skill alive and teaching it to the younger generation.  The income generated by this endeavor allows the members to pay for medicines, school fees and for food security.  A special effort is made to keep the girls in school and prevent early marriages.

Highlights of 2007

UBCO Official launch

Our official launch was May 31st, 2007 at Okanagan College.  Our keynote speaker was VIDEA Intern Liz Morrison who had recently returned from a 7-month internship in Zambia where she worked with Women for Change.  Liz opened the presentation with a vibrant slideshow of photographs taken during her time in Zambia, accompanied by her personal insights, experiences and touching stories.

Trip to Zambia in the Summer of 2007

Sheila Olcen and members of her family travelled with Lynn Thornton and others to make the first introductions from Kelowna to the people in Senanga.   They took along goods collected from several members of KaZ:
  • Medical Supplies – Magali Segers, the Outreach Co-ordinator, gathered medical supplies from a number of family practitioners within the city…a basic first step to addressing the health needs of the Senanga District.
  • Art Exchange – Claire de la Salle began a tradition that continues to the present day.  She contacted Aberdeen Hall Prep School and they created beautiful artwork to take to the school children in Senanga, along with art supplies to enable the Zambian children to create art projects that can be brought back to Kelowna.
  • Kelowna T-shirts – Mary Weston canvassed businesses and local agencies to collect T-shirts that included the name ‘Kelowna’ for distribution in Senanga.  Over 200 T-shirts of all sizes and colours were passed around to the people who gathered to meet the KaZ delegates.


Contact Us:

Kelowna Zambia Partnership
PO Box 20159
RPO Towne Centre
Kelowna, BC   V1Y 9H2



To donate by cheque, please make cheques payable to VIDEA/KaZ and mail  
to the above-noted address.



©2014 VIDEA Victoria International Development Education Association
1200 Deeks Place, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, V8P 5S7 info@videa.ca