Monday, 1 April 2013

Friends of Chitambo News Issue 1 - April 2013


Welcome to this first edition of Chitambo News (can anyone please think of a better title…..perhaps in IchiBemba?).

Chitambo is a very historical place and hopefully, between us, we can find ways to support and encourage the community.

There is much to tell you already and I hardly know where to begin so let’s focus on practical developments. If anyone

has any news to share please forward it to Jo at and we will add it next time round. Meantime, here are the main bullet points:

Direct from Chitambo

· The most fantastic news is that Mr Levi Chifwaila has been promoted to Senior Nurse Tutor at the Chitambo School of Nursing! It was Levi's dream to re-open the school. Not only has he done so but he remains completely dedicated to seeing it grow and thrive. Mwabombeni mukwai Ba Levi. You are contributing to producing skilled nurses to serve the new Chitambo District.

· Levi tells us that there are 5 new buildings underway at the school. These include 2 new the student hostels; a computer lab; a new school kitchen; and additional staff housing. This is transforming the former Mission Station.

· One knock-on effect of the increased activity at the nursing school and orphanage is the need for improved infant and primary school facilities for staff children, orphans and others. Existing facilities are overcrowded and under-resourced in terms of teachers, desks, materials etc. A new dream is to build a purpose-built new school to rival the acclaimed Chengelo School at Mkushi: Any takers to start this dream?

· Another possible dream is to build a guest house and small museum at Chitambo, to honour the rich history and encourage tourism. Levi is going to forward a photo of the stool which is said to be one that was used by David Livingstone. It is currently in possession of the local Reverend.

· The Agape Village orphanage now has 34 children:

· Sarah Wallace and Team (Medical Aid Films: are piloting medical aid films at antenatal and outreach clinics. They are expecting to visit Chitambo again this summer and an evaluation report should soon be available. The team has had great hospitality from Levi and family and they are very grateful.

· There is some sad news of the death of Dr Tiza Mufune’s mother. Dr Mufune is District Director of Health, based at Serenje. Chitambo staff attended the burial on Sunday 7th April. We send our sincere condolences and good wish to Dr Mufune and family.

· The late end to the rainy seasons is said to be threatening this year's maize harvest. Let's hope that is not the case.

· Friends of Chitambo news

· Founding Friends

Attached is a list of Founding Friends of Chitambo (in alphabetical order). As you can see, we are a formidable bunch with both long and deep connections and interests in Chitambo. Thanks for all your input on this. If any details are wrong or you wish to add something please email your changes to Jo Vallis and she will add them:

· Directions

Discussions are ongoing about whether we should remain under the umbrella of Penicuik for Africa (PfA) or become an independent group in our own right. Mrs Janet Knox and Jo have downloaded the Charitable Status application form from OSCR, the Office of the Scottish Charitable Regulator:

We will study this and assess how practical it would be to go 'independent'. Advantages might be to focus on our own interests and management of our own funds and affairs. With Charitable Status, we could have a Just Giving link on our website, for people to make donations direct to Friends. Challenges might be more work and red tape, especially surrounding obtaining charitable status and management of funds. Please let us know if you have a view on this.

Miss Mary Ritchie has offered some useful advice. She is involved with a 'Friends' group in Israel (Palestine). She says that they are able to raise funds by charging a small membership fee. Individual Friends can then opt to give additional donations as they wish. Would this be an option for us? The difference is that Mary's group has a much bigger membership (in the hundreds). However, the way our group is growing suggests that we could soon be the same.

· NIDOS membership

NIDOS is the Network of International Development Organisations in Scotland:

There might be some mileage in joining this organisation as they offer training on charity management, international development and help with things like applying for Charitable Status or funding. There is a small membership fee but as a small organisation it would not be much.

· Website

This needs to be managed and updated and if anyone has interest in helping with this, please let Jo know.

We could, for example, post this newsletter on that site. Hopefully, if we get Charitable Status, we could post a Just Giving link for donations to our cause? Or should we create a new, dedicated Friends website? That could cost a bit. What do you think?

· Activities

· Medical supplies

Mrs Beatrice Chitambo-O’Neil (Bea) and Jo are collaborating on sending some available clinical supplies to Chitambo through Inter Care, based in Leicester:

Bea has previously volunteered with this group and it was her idea to send surplus supplies which she has access to through her nursing work in Leicester. Jo later also got access to similar supplies through an Edinburgh-based group called 'Holding Hands with Charities'. This is run by local community nurses who pass the supplies to any charities which need them. Two boxes went
to Bea, from Penicuik, for repacking and sending to Chitambo by Inter Care. These contained bandages, first aid kits, surgical drapes, gallipots, incontinence pads, catheter bags, forceps etc.
Bea added many more bandages, incontinence pads, Fucidin ointment and other items and took the supplies to Inter Care. She negotiated an excellent price (£118.40). The service is very quick and efficient and the items should reach Zambia within 1 to 2 weeks. They should be at Chitambo quite soon afterwards. We will keep you posted on their progress.

Separately, Sarah Wallace (MAF) is expecting to travel to Chitambo in about June and may be 

able to carry a doctor's bag provided by Holding Hands with Charities. Dr Nzinga (CMO at 
Chitambo Hospital) has been investigating getting an emergency box for the ambulance and the medical bag, which has a built-in security code, could possibly be useful for transporting
emergency dugs etc. However, if Sarah cannot manage it this time, there will be other
opportunities for sending the doctor’s bag.

· Student nurse scholarships

The yearly fee for student nurse training at Chitambo is in the region of £500. Mrs Janet Knox is generously sponsoring a scholarship to cover a fee for one deprived Chitambo student nurse for one year. A further generous donation from Dr and Mrs Malcolm Moffat ensures that there are probably enough funds in our Friends of Chitambo account to sponsor a second scholarship. That

way, no one student is singled out. These are tremendous gestures and probably the most 

help Friends can offer. So a very big mwabombeni and twatotela sana mukwai to our joint

donors. It will be up to the local teaching staff to decide how to deploy the funds, whether for

individual students or shared between several. There are said to be 7 deprived students (orphans and ‘double’ orphans) in the First Intake and Levi tells us that they should be the focus of this funding. He will forward details shortly. Perhaps some information about the supported students

could help with future fund raising. What do you think?

We are also building links with Child Fund which is currently initiating a project surrounding Life Skills Training for deprived student nurses in Zambia and may be offering scholarships to participating nursing schools next year. We think Chitambo is on the list but will keep you posted on this.

· E-learning potential

Child Fund ( is working with AMREF (

who are implementing e-learning for nurse training in Zambia. Hopefully Chitambo will be a

beneficiary of this initiative as well.

Meantime, we have had an offer of updating the eGranary (eG) non-internet dependent digital library (internet in a box: which was donated to Chitambo through the THET-funded project on e-learning (

health-partnerships/jvallis/index) by Dr Craig Wilson, Director of the Sparkman

Centre for Global Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. eG offers a wide range of health journals, books, videos etc, which Levi is finding very useful for informing teaching. The

updated version includes a further 400 nurse training resources including videos. Access to this
would be invaluable and would give Chitambo the opportunity to be one of the first health
facilities in Zambia to pilot the initiative. Watch this space!

· Computers

Mr Patson Kamanga-Mukando has a great idea of transporting computers to Chitambo. He 

contacts in London who may be able to do this. Patson and Jo have discussed potential for hiring a container to transport bigger items such as computers and/or beds (as mentioned on the 'Holding Hands with Charities' list (attached). However, this needs more thought. Watch this space!

· Penicuik for Africa (PfA)Fellowship Lunch

This lunch, held at the St. James the Less Church in Penicuik, Scotland, on 23rd March 2013

raised £142.40 for Chitambo. A big twatotela sana mukwai to Dr Neville Suttle, PfA Chair and Team for this kindness. They are also very busy on fundraising for a well in Malawi so we doubly appreciate their generosity.