Star progress by Zambian students set to become Agents of Change

15 May 2013

They’ve passed the halfway mark in the distance learning programme, developing projects focussed on the needs of their local community, including a ground-breaking motorbike ambulance scheme. Isaac Ndhlovu is shown above outside the Cathedral in Lusaka.

The trail-blazing students are now starting work on the fourth of the six course modules with the support of their mentor, Eleanor Sanderson, who is based in New Zealand.

The three students are keen to complete the programme; Rev Phiri said the programme was “interesting and educational”.  Rev Phiri has been working on a project looking at the welfare of street children and ways in which crime and violence can be reduced in the community.

Each of their projects are focussed on the needs of their local community.  Issac Ndhlovu is looking at the support of home-based care and expectant mothers, especially in the rural and remote areas of Zambia.

Issac is using the Agents of Change programme to develop a Motorbike Ambulance project, helping chronically ill patients with transport to clinics.  This will reduce maternal mortality rates by increasing access to trained, skilled care from clinic experts, reducing the women’s reliance on ‘traditional birth attendants’.

Rev Edwin Mwanza is also targeting the rural communities, considering the provision of rural child education where there are various cultural challenges such as childhood marriage.  He is using the Agents of Change programme to develop ideas on advocating for community schools in these remote areas and for the provision of free education.

Providing the students with excellent feedback, mentor Eleanor Sanderson is encouraging them to think about the components of their projects and the practicalities and training that may also be needed to see the project through.  For example in Issac’s project, motor mechanic training may need to be provided for those involved in the Motorbike Ambulance project, and health workshops may be useful for expectant mothers returning home to remote areas.

Issac has gone on to think about ways in which the community can be included in the development of the project, involving them in the consultation process and ensuring they are involved in the oversight of the project.  Module Three looked at ‘Protection’, encouraging Issac to look at the risks involved and develop a risk assessment of the project.  He then noted the ways in which these risks could be reduced or prevented.  

On completing this module, Issac said, “From this study I see a lot of things that are very serious and yet we overlook them.  There are risks that are serious and most of the time people look at them and just say, ‘It’s nothing’.  This study has helped me to look at things very differently and take good care over how the affairs of the community are handled.”

The students are now completing Module Four, and are due to graduate as Agents of Change in two months time!  Their hard work and perseverance has paid off so far, and we are looking forward to seeing the completion of their last two modules and the progress of their learning over the next two months.  

Thank you to Issac, Reverend Phiri and Reverend Mwanza for being such a fantastic example to our Agents of Change students! We continue to pray for your encouragement and blessing as you continue your work.