Tuesday, June 28, 2005

THE ZAMBIA SOCIETY TRUST : Efficient and Effective

The Zambia Society Trust gets straight to the point. At their website they tell you a number of things, but it is very easy to find out
Who They Are,
What They Have Done and
What They Plan To Do
This type of efficiency seems to typify the "Trust" as they refer to themselves, not wasting any words. And the efficiency of this organization pays off in effectiveness. Their programs are well defined and very "do-able" and their fund raising activities are uncomplicated and effective. They also keep their supporters informed with a portion of their web site called "Spotlight on Zambia" that contains news, information and important visibility functions like interviews with the U.K.'s Secretary of State for International Development.

Right from the start at the Trust's homepage in bold letters that you cannot miss, you learn that:
"The Zambia Society Trust is a British - registered charity devoted to the relief of poverty, disability and sickness, the promotion of good health and advancement of education in Zambia."

Look to the left, and they have their Mission Statement in Bold Letters:
"Our main objective is to raise £50,000 every year in order to help 3,000 out of the 550,000 orphans and children at risk in Zambia find homes with food, healthcare and schooling."

And to give you some perspective, they add:
"It costs about £15 for each child."


The organization grew out of the Zambia Society, a friendship group formed by people in the U.K. who had previously lived and worked in Zambia.

The Trust was formed at the suggestion of Vic Godfrey - The former Treasurer of the Society, Vic Godfrey suggested the formation of the Trust because the Society had accumulated reserve funds which could be used for "worthy causes" in Zambia.

On 27th November 1991, 11 members of the Society met in London and after the draft Constitution was approved by the Charity Commissioners, those present at the meeting became founder members of the Trust.

The Trust made its first 2 awards in April 1993; Harvest Help, an agricultural scheme on Lake Kariba, and a quadriplegic assistant at St. Frances Hospital being the recipients. Later, a grant was made to the hospital when a lorry with medical supplies was stolen. And more awards would follow.

In 1995 Dick Hobson's Tales of Zambia, was printed and raised £11,000 for the organization. And in 1998 Dr. Jessie Ridge provided the Ridge Bursary to help train Zambian doctors and health workers. Every year an annual golf day is held and currently generates about £5,000 each year. The funds raised by the annual golf day are used for specific orphan projects.


The Zambia Trust Society reports that there are about 700,000 orphans amongst a population of 10.5 million in Zambia. Many of the orphans' parents are said to have died from HIV/AIDS; but the great majority of the surviving children are not HIV infected.

The Trust places a high priority on assisting orphans to attend primary schools in their communities and to receive one nutritious meal a day when over-burdened families have difficulty in providing this.

Projects assisted in 2004 by the Zambia Society Trust are:

Chitsime Association, Misisi Township, Lusaka

A community based project assisted by the Catholic Parish of Kabwata, Lusaka. There is a community primary school for about 1000 pupils and a special needs school for 64, providing free education for pre-school to Grade 7. Grades 8 and 9 are planned.
85% of the children are orphans, most of whom live in Misisi shanty town with relatives or neighbours.

About 20 children from the streets live at the centre in modified containers, until a home can be found.

Alongside them are small income generating projects (making charcoal stoves, building, carpentry, homecraft, tie and dye, pressing oil seed (sunflower)

£ 2500 was awarded to this project.

Mpundu Mission, Kabwe

A Catholic centre where there are basic and secondary schools. Funds are used to pay school fees for orphans, also the poorest are given clothes.
£ 1,000 was awarded to this project.

St Francis' Hospital, Katete

This general hospital in the Eastern Province, administered jointly by the Anglican and Catholic Churches in Zambia, has an AIDS team responsible for health education, a community based home care system and an orphan support programme.
£ 1500 was awarded to this project.

There are Six other projects listed at this page in the web site


A total allocation was made in 2004 of £9500


JAMES CAIRNS, the current Chairman of the Trust has stated that the Trust is a small charity but with a clear focus and close links with small self-help groups in Zambia.

Making small grants totaling £15,000 per year, the Trust's objective is to

"raise £50,000 every year to help feed thousands of Zambia's orphans and vulnerable children find a home in the community, food and primary education".

Because Zambia is poverty ridden and debt burdened with an outstanding debt to the IMF of $4 Billion (Reduced down from $7 Billion after years of pressure and the Jubilee 2000 Campaign - However the debt service was left at its original rate and accumulates about $140-200 million in interest every year.). And when the IMF reduced the debt, it imposed conditions on Zambia that make that reduced debt even more difficult to repay. Forced to open its doors to foreign goods and to eliminate its subsidies for local industry the economy of Zambia has suffered so badly that among other things, "Schools deteriorate through lack of funds for basic needs such as textbooks, chalk and blackboards. Hospitals lack basic drugs and surgical supplies."

In addition to its other woes, Zambia has suffered the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic with 20% of adult Zambians being infected. This is the primary cause for the large number of orphans in the country.

As stated earlier, the Trust is trying to increase support, especially to projects which help orphans receive primary education and at least one good meal a day, but living with related families.

In addition to initiating new projects, the Trust intends to continue the following efforts.

Bursaries for students to local colleges for accountancy, flour milling, medicine.

Medical awards
Specifically from the bursaries set up by mission doctor, Dr. Jessie Ridge, to provide books for medical students, support for doctors at rural hospital postings and training health workers.

Help given to Salvation Army Home for the Aged where the Trust has paid for an intensive care unit and annual treats for residents.

Mukinge Hospital
Borehole, water pump and fencing and toilets for an AIDS ward.

Football project
In 1994 the Trust provided football for schools and this was so popular it has become an annual obligation! Most schools in the country have now been reached.

The Trust has also established an exchange program between schools in the UK and Zambia. The Trust helps to foster links made by some English schools with Zambian counterparts who can visit England, whilst parties of English students go to Zambia.

The Zambia Society Trust is doing a lot with a little; and I only gave you a summary so go to their web site to see what a small group of people working efficiently and effectively can do.


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