Introduction to Project Luangwa
Written By Guest On June 29, 2022
At the heart of Project Luangwa is the belief in empowering communities through the benefits of tourism. At the cornerstone of our beliefs is improving standards of health and education, and providing a platform to help raise rural areas out of poverty.
In South Luangwa, the river forms a natural barrier between South Luangwa National Park and the Game Management Area to its East. The villagers within this area rely on subsistence farming but their fields and gardens are often raided by elephants and other game.
Within the area around Mfuwe are more than 20 Government and Community schools and Project Luangwa aims to support as many of these as it can, through a number of different projects which focus on:
- Gender Support and Gender Clubs
- Ufulu Pads
- Craft Workshops
- Preparing Students for a Life After School
- The Eco Stove Initiative
Gender Empowerment Clubs
Our Gender Clubs are a huge part of what we do. Not only do we run 20 clubs across four chiefdoms, seeing average participants of 300 students, but we also run two major events and a number of smaller get-togethers throughout the year.
The clubs aim to provide a safe space for children to discuss topics that may be culturally sensitive or often have a stigma attached, such as early marriage and consent. The pandemic has piled even more pressure and fear onto children, and the Clubs have provided a much-needed source of respite and guidance. They have also created spaces where boys and girls can talk freely with love and kindness, and we see the direct impact this has on their own confidence and interpersonal relationships.
Access to sanitary products is extremely challenging for young girls in Mfuwe, leaving most to rely on rags or similar methods every month. The reality is that most girls miss up to a week of school every month due to this, further widening the gender inequality gap, and feeding into negative stereotypes.
With the support of donors and supporters, we aim to deliver more than 4,000 pads every year! On visiting Project Luangwa you can see the team in action making the pads, or visit a school and see a workshop.
Yes, Zambia still has gender inequality, but our country is growing and changing every day, and we hope to speed up that change.
The Eco-Stove Initiative
2021 saw the launch of a new Eco-Stove initiative at Project Luangwa.
The project is designed to not only support one of our key objectives (Gender Equality) but also to tackle the ever-increasing blight of deforestation and habitat destruction. Each eco-stove provides a far more fuel-efficient source of cooking, lowering the amount of time needed for wood collection, reducing harmful smoke emissions, and lowering cooking times.
Preparing Students for Life After School
It is a major step up to go from a rural secondary school to university in Lusaka, and this gap has only widened as more and more classes include an online dimension due to Covid. In addition, many school leavers finish Grade 12 without any clear picture of what to do with their future.
With the support of volunteer tutors, our Project Luangwa team has just launched a new Foundation Course, better preparing young people for the rigours of adult life. From English to ICT, careers advice, to financial planning, the new course is there to lessen the challenges that disadvantaged rural children face.
At the heart of Project Luangwa sits a group of incredibly talented craftspeople and artisans. As well as making Ufulu “Freedom” Menstrual Hygiene Pads, our sewing team also make a beautiful array of arts and crafts which are then sold in our shop, with 100% of the proceeds going back into our projects.