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Zambia

Growing Greener in Zambia

By eVitabu, Farming, Zambia

It’s the early hours of the morning. The rumble of distant thunder and close-by chirp of crickets is suddenly drowned out by the first drops of rain on the tin roofs. Soon the whole community in Zambia’s Mumbwa district are awake to the comforting sound of rainfall. Planting will start at first light.

After a prolonged dry spell the heavy rain is very welcome. Not everyone is optimistic, however. “The rainfall pattern has not been consistent. We could be headed for a repeat of last season” complains one farmer.

Southern Africa has experienced normal rainfall in just one of the last five growing seasons.  Persistent drought, cyclones and flooding have wreaked havoc on harvests in a region dependent on rain-fed, smallholder agriculture.

Zambia is experiencing both climate extremes at the same time. Farmers in the south-western parts of the country are anxious about erratic and unpredictable rainfall patterns. In the north-east, they are battling flash floods.

It is unanimously agreed that the changes in Zambia’s weather patterns are caused by human-induced climate change, over-exploitation of natural resources and deforestation.

The group most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation are the poorest as they rely on natural resources for their livelihoods. The scale of the challenge facing poor rural communities feels overwhelming, but one pastor still has hope. Lawson Limao oversees a small network of Zambian churches called Word of God Ministries. “Where God is there is hope” he says.

One source of hope is the farming guides Lawson found APF’s eVitabu app. He uses eVitabu on his old Android smart phone. Using the guides on eVitabu and some funding from APF, Lawson trained around a hundred farmers last year. Despite Covid and lockdowns, the training went well, and more funding is heading to the church network so he can continue his training and reach many more farmers this year.

“The training I do I found on eVitabu” he explained. “On the app there are resources from Foundations for Farming and other experts which can help rural pastors and leaders do farming in new ways that are less sensitive to drought and look after the soil.

“God’s way is to preserve nature whilst making farming a profitable venture to undertake. This is what I love to talk about with pastors and their wives. The content of the training includes faithfulness and fruitfulness, farming for a profit, crop management techniques, composting, crop rotation and cover cropping.

“The programme I am doing with APF’s support in Mumbwa District is among the Ila people. This people group are mainly subsistence farmers and they have for some time been practicing conventional farming methods like ploughing. That has led to the poor soil structure and outright poverty despite God blessing them with adequate rainfall and land.

“It is my view that the training will benefit the community through the church to adapt to the new farming techniques. This will help improve their yields thus providing sustainable food security for their families and for church purposes whatever the changing weather brings.”

Zoom + eVitabu = Growing Greener Zambia

By eVitabu, Zambia

In March 2018, we received an email from Pastor Lawson Limao in Zambia. We replied, thanking him for getting in touch but explained we were not looking for new partner church networks at that time. eVitabu and our lockdown Zoom meetings changed all that.

Pastor Lawson leads the small Zambian church network called The Word of God Ministries International. During 2020, he joined us every month online for our Zoom meetings. During one meeting, other pastors talked about how they were using eVitabu, our mobile library app full of resources for African church leaders. Lawson downloaded and installed eVitabu on his own Android smart phone that evening. He was immediately drawn to training from Foundations for Farming about sustainable agriculture. “Rural pastors and leaders need training to do farming God’s way in which nature is preserved whilst making farming a profitable venture to undertake” he explained in his APF project application. Last summer, we agreed to fund his farming project which reached hundreds of farmer pastors from Ila communities in rural parts of Central Province.

This is a great example of how eVitabu can work. Dedicated pastors like Lawson, downloading the app and accessing training materials on their own phones, need very little to make a huge difference in their churches and communities. Access to the library of training resources on eVitabu, and a little APF funding to help with the cost of sharing that training with others, means hundreds of families are now able to feed themselves better, farm more sustainably and know more of the hope they have in Christ Jesus.
eVitabu development continues…

We’re working hard to improve eVitabu and make it easier for African leaders to access resources on it. In recent months, our eVitabu developer Jonathan Haddock has been working hard to add new features our partners in Africa have requested. These include:

  • SD card support so more resources can be saved offline by users
  • Simplifying app registration
  • Bug fixes
  • Making it easier for us to add new resources on the app

All this is costly but you can help…

Sponsor an eVitabu user

  1. On your phone, tablet or laptop, go online and visit: www.africanpastors.org/evitabu
  2. Scroll down to find the ‘Sponsor an eVitabu user’ section.
  3. Complete the secure online payment form to set up your sponsorship direct debit. Just £5 per month, less than the price of a paperback book, will give an African church leader access to an entire library of books and training resources.
  4. You will be allocated an African church leader already using eVitabu to sponsor.
  5. You’ll receive an email telling you a little about who you are sponsoring including their name, where they live and their ministry background.
  6. Your monthly sponsorship will be used by APF to make eVitabu better for the person you are sponsoring and hundreds of other users all over the continent of Africa.

Please pray

Pray that the eVitabu user sponsorship campaign would be successful in its vision to see 400 sponsors added during this 40th anniversary year.

Pray for the APF staff team as they continue to develop eVitabu, adding new features and making the app work better for African users.

Pray for Dave Stedman and Geoff Holder as they work with partners in Africa to grow the network of people eVitabu, for Jonathan Haddock as he develops the app and for Rossalynne Wanjiru who is helping us upload new content from Nairobi.