Journeying On in Western Zambia
The first Journeying Together cluster of three mission communities and a Hub was established in Western Zambia to respond to the most urgent needs of the local community.
Over the last year, the 18 Brothers and 15 volunteers in the Western Zambia cluster have maintained a compassionate presence in these communities and built meaningful relationships with the local people. They have begun to respond to some of the critical social problems identified by the community.
ERD Visit to the Cluster
Programme Coordinator Michael Hanly (pictured with Senanga community members) undertook a recent monitoring trip to Zambia:
"The preparation for, commitment to and strength of vision of the Journeying Together programme is outstanding. From visiting the Mongu hub and the cluster of communities, there is a palpable sense of mission: through the presence of Edmund Rice people in local communities, to engage with and empower them, and to transform the lives of the communities and themselves. It was quite a moving experience to visit these communities.
The communities face multiple chronic problems, and the programme is attempting to address them: food insecurity; poor nutrition especially for babies; poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene; reproductive health for adolescent mothers and women with large families; inequality experienced by the vulnerable elderly and disabled, disaffected and unemployed youth. While it is still early, initial signs of impact are positive. The programmes are designed in line with development best practice, and under the leadership of local co-workers and community leaders." -Michael Hanly
Learning Advocacy Skills in Western Zambia
In 2017, the Western Zambia cluster held an Advocacy Workshop at the Pastoral Centre in Limulunga. The goal of the workshop was to empower the local people with knowledge and skills needed to become involved in human rights and advocacy within the local context of Western Zambia. Over 60 Edmund Rice people from the communities of Limulunga, Luampa and Senanga participated in the session, which was facilitated by Br. Kevin Mullan from Edmund Rice International and Jessica Dewhurst, Sarah Child and Kayla Brittan from Edmund Rice Justice Desk South Africa.
Over the four day workshop, the participants received an overview of advocacy and human rights issues and learned about the current work of Edmund Rice International and the Edmund Rice Justice Desk, the United Nations mechanisms and the Zambia-United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership. On the final day, the groups from each community prepared advocacy plans, which were shared with everyone. These groups will continue to meet to work on the implementation of the advocacy plans over the coming year.
This workshop was a success and a great way to give participants an opportunity to share experiences, discuss issues that were affecting them and explore potential ways of collaborating. It also helped strengthen the links between human rights work at the local, national and international levels within the wider Edmund Rice network.