Build It insaka

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Bringing some Zambian sunshine into your home!

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We were delighted that so many of you joined our online insaka on 3 December 2020. ‘Insaka’ is a Bemba word for a place to gather, and your incredible support meant there were plenty of reasons to come together and celebrate!

Thank you for bearing with us through a few little IT glitches on the night, and a special thanks to our host Tasila Mwale.

A recording of the event, as well as questions posed, is available below:

Thank you to everyone who submitted a question on the night. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to ask a question, or would like further information on any of the topics discussed:

What difference has the Safe Hands programme made to schools?

Our Safe Hands programme is helping to raise awareness of COVID-19 and the importance of hygiene, especially hand washing. Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19 and the hand wash stations will be used for many years to come. The programme has been motivating schools, many of whom have felt unsupported through the challenges of the pandemic.

What have been the greatest challenges for your training programme this year?

Dealing with the closure of our Centre for Excellence for four-months due to the pandemic has been a big challenge. We responded with the development of distance learning materials, with 30 recorded lessons uploaded to tablets and distributed to our trainees to work through at home. Health and Safety continues to be a challenge – we have improved safe practices throughout our programme and this is a key part of our training. In fact, our trainees often have a much better understanding around H&S, than some established contractors. We have made great strides but recognise that this is work in progress.

How are the trainees selected for the training programme?

We look to train young people who have had little education, but with a genuine interest and desire to learn new skills. We conduct interviews and use a scoring system to profile socio-economic status to help us select those most in need of support.

I love the entrepreneurship and business building stories. Employing others is so valuable. Are there any more examples?

We have many examples of our graduates successfully going out into the world of work, and becoming employers themselves which is fantastic. This year we had Mike and Benson successfully working as contractors, employing other Build It graduates on our construction work at Chitukuko Community School. Following the successful completion of this project, they are currently all down in Livingstone working at Light of Hope School.

We have a Facebook group for our graduates, and many post photos and updates of what they are doing, and it’s great to see them supporting each other. We have gathered more stories through our recent 2020 Impact Study and look forward to sharing these with you in the new year.

How concerned are you/should we be about the financial and political stability and credibility of Zambia?

Unfortunately Zambia’s economic situation is deteriorating. The country has defaulted on some of its commercial debt, there has been a run on the currency, and the economy has stopped growing with inflation now 17% and rising. There is an election in August 2021 which is also causing some uncertainty. The construction sector is starting to shrink with government contracts reduced. But the non-formal sector remains very buoyant for the moment, and that is where most of our graduates work. The situation will not affect our ability to deliver training and community projects. However we continue to closely monitor the situation through risk management process.

How is the construction coming along at both the Light of Hope School in Livingstone and the maternity centre at Libuyu Health Clinic?

Despite delays caused by the pandemic, work started at Light of Hope School in September and it should be completed by Easter 2021. The maternity clinic at Libuyu should start by April 2021 if we raise all the funds. We are delighted that our Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020 campaign raised over £43,000 towards our work at Libuyu.

Can more work be done in prisons?

Yes, the need is enormous. We are committed to working at Katombora Reform School through the Rise Again Project in partnership with UP Zambia until the end of 2021, when the financial support from the European Union ends. If possible, we would like to continue this sort of work.

What was the outcome of your trial with rammed earth?

We did three rammed earth buildings at Katuba and Shipungu school projects. The technology works very well, though for schools the walls need protecting up to 1 metre as they get a lot of wear and tear from the children. It is cheap but requires good carpentry skills for the form work. We have not done any more rammed earth buildings as it does not fit our general training programme, due to little demand for this design. However, we do plan to do a demonstration at our Centre for Excellence.

Thank you for your continued support. Together we are #BuildingBrighterFutures in Zambia.