Other objectives include to improve access to basic health services, to increase the number of children with access to good education and to help provide a safe, clean water supply.
The type of support given depends on the needs and participation levels of each particular community, though the project does focus on tree crop and agricultural programs specifically. Project OSCAR encourages local communities to meet regularly, to become increasingly involved in and responsible for the projects it runs. It also ensures communities work alongside relevant Government authorities such as the District Agricultural Office, the District Health Department and the Zambia Wildlife Authority.
Details of projects
1. Fruit Orchard Project and Chikalisha Taleta Rural Development Women Club
200 tree seedlings of 12 different species have been planted on a two hectare plot outside Kasama. A needs assessment was carried out and a sensitisation workshop was facilitated by the Extension Officer of the District Agriculture and Cooperative Office (under the Ministry of Agriculture). This was aimed at discouraging perennial burning.
With support from OSCAR, some of the local women have formed the Chikalisha Taleta Rural Development Women Club, and they participated in the 2010/2011 Government Fertilizer Input Support Program.
The domestication of indigenous fruit trees is a much more sustainable way of adapting to climate change. Bringing back more of the indigenous fruits leads to improved health as most of the fruits provide high Vitamin A, C and E.
A small area of about 50m x 50m is being used as a demonstration garden. Sunhemp and velvet beans are planted each year, to minimise weeds, improve the soil and discourage pests.
2. The Peko Pe Stove Project
The Peko Pe stove offers an alternative to charcoal use, helping to reduce deforestation. This is a biomass multi-fuel gasifier system, developed by Norwegian Paal Wendelbo. Fuel for the Peko Pe stove can be twigs, sticks, reed, bagasse, husks amongst other possibilities. The fuel just has to be dry and cut into finger size pieces. For more information visit www.miombo.no
The Peko Pe stove was introduced and demonstrated by OSCAR to community groups in Kasama District and Milima State Prison. In 2010 it was demonstrated at the Provincial Agricultural Show in Kasama and in 2011 at the District Agricultural Show in Mbala.
A small group is being formed in Mbala, Northern Province, to build up a business around the stove. Artisans are being trained in the production, use and marketing of the stove.
Project OSCAR is also running Training the Trainer workshops on the Peko Pe stove, in co-operation with ZYMCOS (Zambia Youth Multipurpose Cooperative Society) and AYE (Allied Youth Entrepreneurs) in Lusaka. The goal is for those who attend these workshops to build up businesses as a result. They will also train other local people in the Mwembeshi Satellite area in Mumbwa District, on the Peko Pe and other income generating activities.
3. Bamboo Promotion Project
Since 2008 the OSCAR Project has demonstrated the many uses of locally available Bambusa Vulgaris and Vulgaris Vitatta trees. Crutches have been made and donated to Kasama General Hospital and the Zambian Italian Orthopedic Hospital in Lusaka. Many household items, toys and small furniture have been produced, and local people are trained in making these.
With help from various Government departments and funding agencies, Project OSCAR has promoted this project at the National Agricultural and Commercial Show (2008 and 2009) in Lusaka, at the Kasama Show (2009 and 2010) and the District Agricultural Show in 2010. Supporting bodies were the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare Head Office Lusaka, the Netherlands Development Organization SNV, the Provincial Forestry Department, the Ministry of Tourism Environment and Natural Resources (MTENR) and the Jesse Foundation of Kasama.
4. Future plans
Ilembo Training Center
This training centre will focus on teaching horticulture and livelihood skills. It will be built on a 50 hectare plot in Mungwi District, north of Kasama. Another 200 hectares will be set aside for out-growers once they have completed their training.
The local community will own this project, and community members will be involved at all stages of development. Project OSCAR acts as an agent for change and relevant Government Departments will be asked to come in as it develops. Community management will ensure use of local resources, knowledge and skills, to minimise costs. The project is also aimed at building up community confidence.
Other plans for the future
Project OSCAR is working on other plans to promote similar projects in the Luapula Province in 2012, and initial activities have already begun.
Project OSCAR key information
What you can do to help
To provide this support to the people of Northern Province in Zambia, Project OSCAR depends on help from funding organisations and individual well-wishers. Bryan and Anja Baker, who run the project, live in the community they work with and are totally dedicated to the cause. Overheads are kept extremely low so that any help goes a long way. Enquire direct if you'd like to support Project OSCAR in any way.