In 2016 a cluster of new Edmund Rice Mission communities was established in Western Zambia, an area with immense social problems, where three out of every four people live in extreme poverty.
There, 18 Brothers and 15 volunteers now live amongst the local communities of Mongu, Luampa, Limulunga, and Senanga. They have learned the local language and have become integrated into the local communities, listening to their concerns, and entering into discussions with local people to identify some of the root causes of social problems. This is the first phase of what has become known as our Journeying Together programme.
Maintaining a compassionate presence and walking in solidarity with those with the people with whom they live and work is fundamental to Journeying Together. This allows trust to be built and equal relationships to form, and it allows everyone to gain a deeper understanding of the reality of the challenges faced by those most marginalised. The Journeying Together programme acts as a catalyst in a community so that people may realise their own power, resilience, and giftedness. People recognise and respond to their needs and those of the environment, in a spirit of collaboration and collective responsibility.
The Journeying Together programme plans for a number of new initiatives in Western Zambia in 2017 to address the needs highlighted by local communities there:
Sustainable Agriculture Practices to Empower Youth for 45 Luampa youths who will learn basic technical knowledge in vegetable crop production, fisheries and poultry.
Strengthening Community Support and Care Systems for 150 Senanga youths and adults who will be trained as basic caregivers for the elderly and the sick.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Knowledge and Attitudes and Practices for vulnerable children and adults living in poverty in Senanga.
Reproductive Health and Life Skills for 300 young people (ages 14-25) from Limulunga and surrounding areas through youth activities, especially sports.
Improving Nutrition Education for Women of Reproductive Age in Limulunga and aims to improve knowledge, attitudes, and practices on personal and family nutrition.
The next cluster of communities begins in 2017 in northeast India and you can read more about this and progress in Western Zambia here.