Kelowna Zambia Partnership
VIDEA’s group in Kelowna began in 2007 as part of the Breakthrough for Africa initiative which coupled like-sized communities in a sister-city relationship. Our early focus was on the District of Senanga in Western Province, Zambia. Our partner in Zambia was Women for Change (WfC) an NGO working to improve the life in rural communities across Zambia. Over time Kelowna became involved in projects beyond Senanga and continues to work with WfC through VIDEA.
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.
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Basket weavers in Lyamutinga formed a co-operative, with the assistance of WfC, and we have co-operated in B.C. by offering a marketplace for their traditional baskets in both Nelson and Victoria. This has provided the weavers with a sustainable way of supporting their families and villages. At the same time, buyers in BC can purchase these beautiful and functional pieces knowing that the people who made them are getting a good price for their work. KaZ often has stalls throughout Kelowna through markets like the Urban Harvest Saturday Market, Okanagan Organic Festival, French Cultural Centre Christmas Fair among others.
With the help of the Kelowna-Zambia Partnership, VIDEA currently supports educational opportunities for more than 30 students in the Senanga, Lundazi, and Kaoma reas of Zambia. This Education for All programme has run for 8 years thanks to the support of donors across Canada including many kind and dedicated individuals in Kelowna. Relationships of solidarity and friendship underpin this programme, and members of KaZ have in the past 8 years taken part in developing and monitoring the programme in Zambia alongside partner organisation, Women for Change. Interested in becoming involved? We would love to hear from you, email Moreen Tremblay in Kelowna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 much too far to walk in deep, hot sand. And so, building a school became the focus of our fundraising efforts. Money was raised for the building materials and more than half of the budget of $20,000 was raised by Glenrosa Middle School. WfC staff organized the manpower to erect the building utilizing parents in the area and by 2010 we had a well-constructed school building.
On February 11, 2008, Kelowna City Council passed a unanimous motion to name the community of Senanga 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, a direct fit with Millennium Develop Goal #8.
John Kramer is a woodworking teacher at Mt. Boucherie S.S. and a member of KaZ. He recognized the potential usefulness of good quality hand tools particularly in teaching carpentry skills to young Zambians. Over time he 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, both women and men will be taught carpentry skills.
A good friend to KaZ is a local hobby beekeeper who wanted to encourage beekeeping in rural Zambia. Every year jars of local honey are sold and the money raised is sent to this fledgling enterprise.
Glenrosa Middle School 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 delegate took some of them to Senanga in October of 2010. Quilts were also distributed through the Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre, KGH Women’s Auxiliary and Hospice House.
In February 2009, during International Development Week, Lynn Thornton brought Norman Chavula to visit the B.C. cities that had 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.
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.
In 2009 first place went to Mt. Boucherie S.S. for their idea of a youth-led community garden and bore hole well. In fact, through this initiative, one garden was improved and a second one was even started. 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.
OKM Secondary School shared third place in 2009 and their winnings contributed to the building of the community school in Lui Namabunga.
In 2010 the team from Mt. Boucherie SS won third place with their proposal to fund sports equipment for the children of Senanga.
And in 2014 the team from Immaculata Regional School was a finalist with a proposal to enhance the gardening projects in Lundazi.
In 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 such as:
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 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.
In 2008 KaZ again participated in a trip to Zambia and brought along a soccer kit donated by the local women’s league as well as some medical supplies donated by UBC-O nursing students.
Delegates have travelled in 2010, 2011, 2013 and again in 2014. The community has always been generous when we have appealed for goods which have included laptop computers and teen reading books. Current best practice is to buy locally in Zambia whenever possible and various fundraising efforts have allowed us to support VIDEA programs.
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 email@example.com