The Simon Poultney Foundation

The Simon Poultney Foundation

Why Africa ?

SPF has decided to undertake charitable activities outside of Canada in the African countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe since this is the region where Simon, in whose memory the Foundation has been formed, was born and raised.  Simon had been back to Africa since moving to Canada in 1988, to visit family and friends and planned, once he graduated from university, to go back and do film-making there.  At the same time he wanted to do relief work amongst the many poor people there, especially the children caught up in the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

His parents, the founders of the Foundation, were born, raised and lived in this area for 30 years before moving to Alberta in Canada.  With that background they are cognizant of the great needs of the people in that region. They have the knowledge of the local geography, conditions, traditions and language to be able to effectively carry out the planned work of the Foundation.

Target Country – Zambia – Central Africa

-landlocked – average elevation of 6,000 feet (1,800 m)

-The climate is considered sub-tropical

-The area of the country is 290,600 sq miles (752,600 sq km) which is approximately the same size as the province of Alberta.

-Population is about 11 million people.  HIV/AIDS infection rate in adults is 15.2%

Target Community – Chibwelelo Ward

-In the Kapiri Mposhi district of Central Zambia, 250 km North of the capital city, Lusaka ( see Map of Zambia and for Google Earth view of the area enter 14� 4’20.49″S, 28�35’6.34″E)

-A rural community of approximately 6,500 people living on traditional tribal land

-Land area is 250 sq km (25,000 hectares or 62,000 acres) about a tenth the size of Parkland or Leduc County, so population density is 26 per sq km vs 8 per sq km in Parkland/Leduc

-Like most of the people of Zambia the people are subsistence farmers living in small villages

-Little formal employment in the area a few commercial farms and no industry

-There is no electricity in the community and the road system is very sparse

-Average income approximately Canadian $ 200.00 per year

-Main local language dialect is Bemba although everyone can speak English as this is the official language and all lessons at school are taught in English
The Chibwelelo community was selected by SPF because it bordered the farm of Simon’s uncle and he advised the family of the great needs of the community. Members of SPF spent two one-month visits to the community in 2006 and 2007 to carry out extensive on the ground research and information gathering and exchange. The whole focus of the SPF work in the community will be based on the community itself accepting participation in the project through sweat equity and a willingness to continue striving to improve themselves to attain self-sustainability in a very short time frame. Thus meetings and discussions were held with the community stake-holders, Government ministries, tribal leaders, parents in order to establish the expectations of the project.
There are many needs in the community and all of them face the same problems: lack of funding from the central and local government who expect the community itself to help itself. But the local community is poor and needs help to become more economically independent. Below is a summary of what SPF has begun to do and hopes to do in the community over the next 3-4 years. We do not want to simply pour money into the community in the form of aid but to help them become self-sufficient by empowering the people in the community! SPF will provide funding for building supplies and equipment. The community will provide sweat equity in the form of labour to complete tasks.
SPF is the first non-profit relief agency to ever work in this community  .

It is our intention that any buildings and other related development will be designed with the local culture and climate in mind and constructed with materials produced locally. Everything will be done with environmental sensitivity for waste management, use of local labour and skills and optimum use of alternative sources of energy for power: wind, methane, solar etc.

Scope of the Zambian Community Development Project

Sungula School

The Sungula Basic School (Grade 1 to 9) is funded by the Zambian Government but there are additional funding needs to improve the operating of the school and supporting its infrastructure.

  • Originally built in 1973 � has had little maintenance since then � except SPF paid for a basic refurbishment in 2005
  • No electricity; two wells with hand pumps (which also serve the local villages)
  • Two toilets (out-houses) each for boys and girls
  • Seven operational classrooms
  • 750 students grade 1 to 9 = 40 per class, two classes per grade
  • Three sessions per day are required to handle this number of students
  • National government provides funding for teachers salaries and text books
  • School infrastructure and teachers housing is the responsibility of the Parent Teacher Association

The cost to parents of sending children to school is a school uniform which costs about Can $ 30.00 � including shoes

The SPF therefore wishes to raise funds and resources to :

-Drill a new well and provide a reticulated water system for human and cultivation needs

-Renovate existing and construct new classrooms including desks and equipment

-Renovate existing and build new teacher housing

-Build new toilets

-Establish a school vegetable garden, orchard and woodlot

-Develop better sports fields to provide for play and games

-Provide teaching resources and supplies for teachers and school supplies for the students

Longer term : teacher training and development using Canadian schools and universities as supporters; teacher exchanges; student exchange

For an interesting and informative report prepared by the Global Campaign for Education about the problems facing the Zambian education system, which clearly confirms why we need to be helping this school, click here. (PDF format 344kb)

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Kakulu Rural Health Centre

  • Serves the entire population of the area
  • There is an urgent need to expand the current small facility
  • This is under way but the national government provides little funding for capital projects and puts the responsibility on the local community through the Community Health Committee
  • The clinic is located at one end of the community so some people have to walk 10-15 km to get there if they need treatment � there is no transport in the community

Drill a new well and provide a reticulated water system

Additional construction of the health centre and staff housing

Provide medical equipment and supplies

Longer term : nurse and medical staff training and development; staff and student exchanges with Canadian medical and dental facilities/businesses and other post-secondary institutions

Orphans

- develop a community-based strategy to take care of the many HIV/AIDS orphans in the community (estimated to about 400)
- orphans would be assisted to go to school and become self-sufficient members of the community

Churches

- provide pastoral leadership training
- develop outreach programs to sick and needy in the community
- develop youth programs

Economic Sustainability

These are some of the ideas that have come to our attention as we have consulted with people in the community:

-Set-up a micro-finance fund to provide interest free loans to members of the community to develop small business and other income opportunities. (Already in progress)

-Develop skills training programs : building, carpentry, welding, art, craft, textiles, sewing/tailoring etc.  Develop a market for any resulting products.

-Encourage the establishment of individual vegetable gardens and orchards for better personal nutrition and food security.  Any excess produce could be marketed locally or in the nearest city to generate cash.

-Encourage animal husbandry appropriate to the area: cattle, goats, pigs, sheep, poultry, bees, fish.

-Maintain community woodlots to provide fuel for cooking and timber for construction and carpentry.  Build a simple saw-mill.

-Develop a local tourist industry: safari lodge with wildlife and birds; tours of the local area with emphasis on local culture and history; adventure activities: cycling, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, caving etc.

Visit the Zabian Community Project Facebook page here >