Monday, December 28, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Greetings from Tom & Elizabeth

ASAP Africa's President, Tom Arsenault and
Executive Director Elizabeth Bara, in the US, send these words:

We believe anything is possible.
That’s what inspires us in our work.
We share this belief with many of you.
This shared faith is the driving force behind our work.
We are thankful to be truly happy and to have all that we need.
Let us discover and learn new things together in the New Year.
We appreciate your support whether large or small.
Have a Blessed Christmas and a Wonderful New Year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Greetings from Regai Tsunga

ASAP Africa's Country Director in Zimbabwe, Regai Tsunga, send these words:

2009 has come and (almost) gone. Through our projects, we at ASAP Zimbabwe are pleased to have made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of poor and vulnerable men, women, youths and children to whom our interventions were directed. We owe this success to the cooperation and support we received from our funding partners and other state and non state actors.

From the Country Director and staff at ASAP Zimbabwe, we wish all our partners, project participants and stake-holding public the best for the festive season as we celebrate the end of another year. We thank you most heartily for your support during 2009 and look forward to the strengthening of our relationship in 2010 and beyond.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

UN loophole sees Mugabe join climate talks

Copenhagen - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrived in Denmark on Tuesday to attend United Nations climate talks, despite Western sanctions on his travel and public disapproval from his Danish hosts. Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said that Mugabe was allowed to attend the Copenhagen climate conference because of rules that permit him to attend UN meetings, over-riding European Union and United States travel bans. "That is the spirit of the UN - that the world needs a place where we can meet with those we basically don't like. And I guess that is how you can characterise the person you're asking about," Rasmussen said when questioned about Mugabe. Mugabe's arrival prompted local media to ask whether Danish leaders would shake the 85-year-old African leader's hand and whether, as elder statesman, Mugabe will be seated next to Denmark's Queen Margrethe at a dinner on Thursday for heads of state and government attending the climate conference.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Low Input Garden Philanthropy in Zimbabwe

Production from low input gardens (LIG) near Mutare has been so successful that LIG farmers chose to support other vulnerable individuals with products from their respective gardens by donating a week's supply of vegetables (rape, spinach and tsunga) to needy institutions in the area. This included St. Josephs Infectious Disease Hospital, Sakubva Eye Unit and Zororai Old People's Home.
ASAP is one of the Mutare base partners in The Joint Initiative Project, which is working to reduce urban vulnerability in 12 communities in 6 urban areas throughout Zimbabwe. LIG includes training in how to establish low income gardens; land preparation, seedling preparations and maintenance, mulching, inter cropping, compost making, record keeping, keyhole gardens set-up(pictured) and seed retention.

Featured here in her low input garden in Sakubva with her daughter-in-law and grand daughter is Mrs Eldina Chandakabata.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Inspiring Words from a Student Philanthropist

"I give because in my life, others have helped me move forward. You may not be able to give millions, but a little goes a long way in other countries. Some of us will waste money on useless items that will only bring us joy for a short time, but donating to a worthy cause that will truly help others, that will bring me greater joy in life. Find a project, any project that speaks to you and donate whatever you can!"

These inspiring words came in response to the question - Why do you give? Whatever your unique reasons, we hope you will consider making a year-end contribution to ASAP Africa as we work together to make poverty history. Together we will succeed!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Give Unique Gifts from Africa that Support ASAP

Africa Direct generously contributes to ASAP when you purchase selected items. With over 17,000 pieces in stock, Africa Direct features the largest online selection of African art, African baskets, African tribal masks, African bead work, Trade Beads, Ethnic Jewelry and African Weapons, you'll find something truly unique. Click here to visit the Africa Direct web site.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Holidays!

"Dollarisation in Zimbabwe has brought back the good old days for some. The pictures taken yesterday show Xmas preps are in full gear in Mutare. Such scenes had long disappeared and had become long pipe dreams for most residents of Zimbabwe in the last few years." Regai Tsunga, ASAP's Country Director shared these photos today of Mutare, Zimbabwe's version of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Last year the holiday season in Zimbabwe was dismal for many with inflation of 400,000,000% gripping the country! It seems a lot has happened in a year. Even that terrible inflation is now under control. But the rural folks are still suffering.
ASAP has much to do and your help is greatly needed to help us continue our good work.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Obama Awards Zimbabwean Women

This evening President Obama presented the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award to Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). ASAP congratulates WOZA and hopes this award will draw attention to the plight of all the women struggling to survive in Zimbabwe today - tenacious, hardworking women enduring unspeakable hardships to provide for their families.

It was the first time in the award’s 24-year history that Senator Kennedy did not present the honor in memory of his brother. “Ted knew that Bobby’s legacy wasn’t a devotion to one particular cause, or a faith in a certain ideology — but rather, a sensibility,” Mr. Obama said. “A belief that in this world, there is right and there is wrong, and it is our job to build our laws and our lives around recognizing the difference.”

Click here to read more about the ceremony.

Click here to read more about ASAP's work to empower rural women in Zimbabwe during these tremendous times of hardship.

Monday, November 16, 2009

ASAP Africa photo is a winner!

Congratulations to Kirsten Sorenson for creating the award winning poster using this photo, taken by ASAP Africa in rural Zimbabwe.
The poster was created to promote the 20th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films in Celebration of Black History Month at Portland Community College Cascade Campus in Oregon. To read more about the festival click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The New Wave of Farming in Africa

As we plan our Organic Fertilizer Project at ASAP Malawi, I came across this interesting story.

ILA GORONGOSA, MOZAMBIQUE - When he started tending this field, not long after the end of his country's long civil war in 1992, Joao Jongue's neighbors thought he was foolish, even crazy.

He didn't burn the cornstalks at the end of the season, but left them on the earth to rot. He mixed tomatoes and peanuts in with the corn. When mice started eating the decomposing vegetables, rather than clear the field, he brought in cats.

"My partner, he didn't agree with this sort of farming," says Mr. Jongue, smiling in the shade of his wide-brimmed straw hat. "So I did it myself."

Now, 15 years later, the soil of Jongue's machamba (small field), is still moist brown, and the corn reaches toward the cobalt-blue sky. His neighbor's plot is dusty and red, but Jongue's yields are still large enough that he can sell half of his crop at the outdoor market in this sunny, brightly painted town. Meanwhile, representatives of international development projects are coming to visit – asking how, in this overly farmed region, he's had such success.

Jongue's plot is a model of what many local aid projects would like to repeat across this region: organic farming, African style.

For many Americans, the idea of "organic food" is connected with high-end grocery stores. But here, "organic" has a different face. A growing number of development experts, as well as local agriculturalists, see organic farming as a way to achieve food security and slow deforestation – two big challenges in rural sub-Saharan Africa.

(The above article was written by Stephanie Hanes of the Christian Science Monitor)

Monday, November 09, 2009

No ban on Zimbabwean diamonds

Zimbabwe is not suspended as was proposed, a joint work plan was adopted by this plenary meeting, said outgoing chair of the Kimberley Process (KP) and Namibian deputy mining minister Bernard Esau on Thursday.

Click here
for more details.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

24 HOURS LEFT TO ACT: Ban Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds – AVAAZ Petition

Lobbying group AVAAZ are calling on people to sign a petition that they can deliver to diamond regulators meeting in Namibia this week. We have only 24 hours to gather as many signatures as possible. Please sign the petition and then use the AVAAZ tool on their website to send the petition link to as many of your friends and relatives as possible. The diamond regulators meeting in Namibia this week will decide whether to suspend Zimbabwe and stop Zimbabwe from selling blood diamonds on the world market.
Click here to sign the petition
Click here to read more

Monday, November 02, 2009

DRC President Visits Zimbabwe in Regional Mediation Effort

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila is in Harare today, where he is expected to try to mend the widening cracks in Zimbabwe's unity government. To read more click here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Aid Groups Fret About Zimbabwe Unity Govt Disarray

Daniel Molekele reports today "Aid workers said Wednesday the disarray of the government of Zimbabwe is putting its most vulnerable citizens at risk as hunger and disease threatens to sweep the country.
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced last week he was withdrawing indefinitely from a unity government that has been troubled from the moment its ministers were sworn in in February." To read the entire article click here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

October 15th is World Rural Women's Day.
The day provides rural women and their organizations with a focal point to :
1. Raise the profile of rural women,
2. Sensitize both government and public to their crucial, yet largely unrecognized roles, and
3. Promote action in their support. Initiatives on how to celebrate this day are left to individual organizations and communities, according to their own traditions and requirements. Activities or events should be concrete and visible. This action undertaken by rural and farming women in all parts of the world on the very same day, in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation, would strengthen the impact of the day.
To read more click here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New ASAP Project Manager in Malawi

Michael Mainje joined the ASAP Africa team in Malawi last week as the Chivuma Pa Chuma (CCP) Project Manager. CCP mean "Unity for Economic Growth" in the Chichewa language of southern Malawi. Michael holds a BSc in Agriculture and is a certified secondary school teacher, skills that will surely benefit the communities and staff members currently working to improve livelihoods and agricultural skills in rural Malawi with ASAP.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Relocation of ASAP Malawi

ASAP's office in Malawi is moving from Chikwawa to Blantyre. After only 9 months of actively working in rural Chikwawa, the expansion and demand for ASAP's Chimvano pa Chuma (CCP) "Unity for Economic Growth" project has been so positive that there is need to move to a more central location. Blantyre is the second largest city in Malawi, second to the capital, Lilongwe. The move will actually decrease ASAP's operating costs in Malawi. Because of limited road access in this area, field staff were often required to travel a long way around and through Blantyre to access communities which are actually adjacent "as the crow flies". This move makes expansion in the area much more workable.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thanks to The Jewish Funders Network

During the past few months ASAP has received valuable assistance from the Jewish Funders Network's Pro Bono Resource Bank. The consultant that has been working with ASAP to develop a clear strategy and vision as we move forward and grow. The experience has been fantastic. To read more about this program click here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One Year Ago Today

On September 15 2008 a power sharing agreement was signed between Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) in Zimbabwe. It's been a year of politic posturing, and working together to heal the nation has not yet been realized.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

U.S lawmakers support Zimbabwe's unity government

Monday, September 7, 2009 5:45 PM EDT
The largest delegation of U.S. lawmakers to visit Zimbabwe in a decade is calling on the country's leaders to ensure the success of the unity government.
The delegation concluded a two-day visit Thursday to monitor the progress of the government formed in February. The visit included meetings with President Robert Mugabe and other government leaders.

The delegation included Gregory Meeks (D-New York), Jack Kingston (R-Georgia), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Melvin Watt (D-North Carolina) and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).

The U.S. has criticized Mugabe's 29-year-rule but the Obama administration has thrown support behind the coalition government

Meeks said only the unity government had a "reasonable prospect of delivering benefits to the Zimbabwean people."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Binyavanga Wainaina

Krista Tippet's thought provoking interview with Binyavanga Wainaina this morning explored the morality and efficacy behind many Western initiatives to abolish poverty and speed development in Africa.

Wainaina is the founding editor of Kwani? literary journal and the director of Bard College's Chinua Achebe Center for African Languages and Literature. During the in-depth interview he states "Where things work is where people do them themselves."
To listen to the interview click here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Robert Mugabe defies old age

Comment from The Times (UK), 23 February 2009
by Jan Raath
To the naked eye, Mr Mugabe looks the very picture of health, even for a much younger man let alone someone in their ninth decade. "He is in very good shape for 85," said a Harare doctor, requesting anonymity. "I would be very happy to look like that when I'm 85." In an interview on local television at the weekend, Mr Mugabe attributed his apparent health to a lifelong regimen of daily exercise. He said that he jogs each morning and maintains his weight between 75kg and 80kg. "This ensures my body is full of muscles, and not fat," he said. He also works out in the gym in his new mansion in Harare's exclusive suburb of Borrowdale Brooke and has a personal trainer. He has always eaten carefully, has never smoked and admits to only "an occasional glass of sweet white wine".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nutritional Gardening - Timing is Everything

The two gardens featured in the photos above belong to Rinnet Gotekote (top) and Janet Chikodo(below), ASAP cluster facilitators in rural Zimbabwe. It is fantastic that these photos were taken at the end of October in 2008 - the onset of the annual rainy season. Such a successful and productive garden would be virtually impossible without ASAP's Health and Nutrition Development Initiative. The HANDEI Project increases food security through conservation farming skills, drip irrigation and nutritional gardening.Click here to read more about the HANDEI project.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Send Your Congratulations to Dr. Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama this month. For more than 33 years Dr. Yunus has been committed to fighting poverty and giving the world's poorest people, mostly women, the resources they need to start their journey from poverty. Click Here if you wish to leave a congratulatory message for Professor Yunus.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

We Are All Connected

Back in 2001, when the Internal Savings and Lending (ISL) was the newest micro-finance innovation, proving to be very effective at increasing household income and food security in rural Africa, ASAP contracted CARE in Zimbabwe to build our capacity and learn more about this innovative and promising program. After ASAP successfully launched our first ISL pilot project funded by The McKnight Foundation, CARE in Zimbabwe extended ASAP’s capacity building partnership, assigning Mr. Christopher Nyamandi to work with ASAP for a full year under the guidance of Mr. Alfred Hamadziripi.

As is the trend in Zimbabwe today, both Mr. Nyamandi and Mr. Hamadziripi have moved from Zimbabwe and have taken positions with other organizations. In this case they are in Sudan and Kenya. And it is through these long-lasting connections and friendships that ASAP successfully helped to build the capacity of the delegation from the Norwegian Church Aid program in Darfur, last month. Recently, Mr. Mohammed Abdelkarim Elsafi expresses his thanks to Regai Tsunga, ASAP’s Country Director in Zimbabwe, writing:

"Dear, Regai
…. let me thank all ASAP family who contributed highly to make our visit succeed, it starts from the bottom from the friendly drivers up the Director who all supported and facilitated our visit.
Be assured that the knowledge that the team acquired while in Zimbabwe will be put for the benefit of our beneficiaries in Darfur. Once again thank you very much for the hot and sincere hospitality. Let me emphasize that the visit is marked as a beginning of an ever lasting cooperation for the sake of our people here and over there, we will keep the good attitudes of Zimbabwean people in our hearts as it marks an unprecedented visit of it is kind to a Sudanese to interact with their peers in a brotherly country in West Africa, borders separated Africans from one another but by such activities we hope to be linked up and cooperate. Eventually let me also take this opportunity thank the architect behind this work, our friend Christopher Nyamandi who make it real.

Best regards

Mohammed Abdelkarim Elsafi
Protection, Psychosocial and Peacebuilding Coordinator
NCA Darfur Programme - Nyala"

Picture here, Mohammed Elsafi and Chris Nyamandi

ASAP expresses thanks to CARE in Zimbabwe, The McKnight Foundation and ALL of our donors that make our work possible each and every day. Together we will succeed and make poverty history.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Seeing Is Believing!

Dignitaries, journalists and community members were taken on a walk-around of two irrigation sites last Friday, as part of ASAP Malawi’s first field day for the “Chimvano pa Chuma” project ( CCP) “Unity for Economic Growth” project in Chikwawa district of southern Malawi. Above, the group including journalists listens attentively to ASAP’s Senior Field Officer, Lingstone Ganamba, during a visit to one of the irrigation plots.
The event, which was attended by close to four hundred community members from different villages, was a great success. Click here to view the newspaper article that appeared in The Nation in Malawi on Sunday August 2nd.

The field day had two main areas of focus – village savings and lending (VS&L) and small scale irrigation. VS&L is an internal rural savings club project that teaches communities how to pool their resources and become financially self reliant. To read more and see a short video about this project, click here.
Currently ASAP is working with 42 VS&L groups in Malawi and together, they have mobilized over MK 421000 ($ 3000) in savings. The event also served as a medium to enhance the spirit of self-reliance and promote the spirit of learning from one another among community members. Thus, the day gave ASAP the much-needed opportunity and publicity to showcase what had been accomplished within the first four months of its community level operations in Chikwawa. In the picture below the gathering listens to the VS&L success story.
Through the small scale irrigation component of the project 83 community members received farm inputs and treadle pumps at subsidized price and are irrigating over 18 hectares of land. Pictured here is Lingstone Ganamba explaining how vast the irrigation sites are, with a proud community member explaining how ASAP efforts had helped to improve food and economic security at household level.
The event was attended by, among other dignitaries, the District Commissioner, the District Agricultural Development Officer, Total Land Care Officials, representatives of other non-governmental organizations, Chief Ndakwera and other local leaders. In the picture above Sub-Traditional Authority Ndakwera makes a speech, thanking ASAP for empowering a community which was previously synonymous with free hand outs. He requested ASAP to consider scaling up to other villages within his area. Taking his turn, ASAP Malawi Country Director encouraged community members to continue working hard so that their economic status should continue to improve. He expressed thanks and appreciation for the support ASAP was receiving from the local leadership, government departments and development partners.

In addition to the speeches made by different individuals and traditional dances performed by communities, participating communities showcased how VS&L had improved their economic status in only a few short months.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Text books Help Children in 132 Schools in Zimbabwe

ASAP through the Bridge The Gap In Mathematics (BTG) project has headed to the call by Manicaland Provincial Educational Director (PED) Mr. Peter Muzawazi for the donation of textbooks to schools. The donation of approximately 2000 textbooks to 132 primary schools that participate in the BTG project in Chipinge, Mutasa, and Nyanga is expected to reduce the pupil textbook ration to at least 1:4 down from a maximum ratio of 1:40 in some badly affected schools. ASAP will deliver the books to all the beneficiary schools through their cluster centers.Above, the PED Mr. Peter Muzawazi officially receives the donated textbooks from the BTG project manager Collins Mutsvairo (left) on behalf of the beneficiary schools.

The PED thanked ASAP for the donation. “After the teacher textbooks are the next most important and indispensable resource for effective teaching and learning” he said. He expressed the hope that beneficiary schools would provide grade 7 results to ASAP so as to document the improvement that is expected.Pictured here (right) Mr. Mhembere an Educational Officer at the Manicaland Educational Regional office scrutinizes the books after receiving them from the BTG project manager Collins Mutsvairo on the left prior to presentation to the PED.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Newsletter

ASAP Africa is delighted to share our summer newsletter - Click here
and read our latest news.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ASAP is pleased to announce the receipt of an additional $3,000 toward ASAP's "Help 100 Families Grow Food in Zimbabwe " from A Harvest of Hope, a Home and Garden Fundraising Event to Help the Hungry by Irene Dunlap and Stacey Robbins.

According to Mrs. Dunlap, Co-author in the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series.

“One of the things I love most about ASAP Africa is that they teach people how to utilize their soil, which is sometimes the only resource that the people they serve have. The strategy of training people to learn a skill that will help them gain some self-sufficiency is by far more effective than feeding them for the short term."

This project is featured on the Global Giving web site. Click here. Our goal, to raise $9,950 by October 1st, is now within reach - please help us by donating today! Click here to make a secure donation online today

Ms. Mashava Shares Her Success Story

Pictured above, Plaxedes Mashava is making a testimonial to the benefits of ASAP’s Kufusa Mari Urban project, part of the Joint Initiative (JI). Project ongoing since 2006. “I reside at Block 9, Room 4 OTS, Sakubva Mutare. I joined the JI Internal Savings & Lending (IS&L) in October 2008. As a widow, I used to face many money related challenges until a friend advised me to join IS&L clubs in Sakubva. I realized that the food donation would sooner or later be a thing of the past so I joined the Kubudirira IS&L group in OTS, Sakubva. To date, I have managed to raise money to meet part of my family electricity bills, monthly rentals and food. My daughter no longer feels the absence of her father because I can now manage to meet her basic needs from the profits I am realizing out of IS&L activities.”

The goal of the Joint Initiative Project is to restore dignity and reduce suffering for the most vulnerable people in urban and peri-urban areas of Zimbabwe. This is a collaborative project between Mercy Corps, Save the Children, Practical Action, CARE and Africare. ASAP’s role in this project is to adapt the Kufusa Mari village savings and lending model, which we have been implement since 2001, to the urban area outside of Mutare.

ASAP is proud to bring our ethos of long term economic strengthening to improve the households’ resilience to promote self-reliance. Working as part of this large, holistic, collaborative project, which also fills immediate urgent needs such as food and health care, the results and response have been spectacular.

Friday, July 10, 2009

ASAP Zimbabwe Shares Knowledge to Benefit Darfur

It is said there is no better way to test your knowledge than by teaching. This last week ASAP Zimbabwe had the opportunity to do just that - with over 8 years of experience implementing the Internal Savings & Lending project, the Zimbabwe team was delighted to share their insight and experience with a delegation from Norwegian Church Aid-Darfur Program (NCA-DP). Pictured above, Joseph Miti (ASAP's Program Manager) explains the ISL methodology on-sight in rural Zimbabwe to Farhat Abaker Osman Sead of NCA-DP.

Mohammed Abdelkarim Elsafi led his delegation, which departed from Zimbabwe today after a fruitful week of learning. Through the expertise gained from ASAP Africa in Zimbabwe, the NCA-DP will return home and work to build the income and food security of internally displaced persons in the South and West Darfur region.
Pictured here from left to right, Regai Tsunga (ASAP Zimbabwe Country Director) shakes hand with Mohammed Abdelkarim Elsafi (Head of NCA-DP Delegation), Mohammed Adam Brima Hamad, Farhat Abaker Osman Sead and Christopher Nyamandi, all from NCA-DP.

To learn more about ASAP’s ISL projects, and how this successful project is improving lives all over the world, click here.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

JB Bids Farewell to ASAP Malawi After 1 1/2 Years of Selfless Service

On Thursday, June 25, ASAP Malawi held a farewell party in honor of one of its dedicated team members, Jeanette Batiste, whose contract with ASAP in Malawi came to an end. The farewell party, which was held in the evening at Matechanga Conference Center in Chikwawa district, was patronized by ASAP staff, district and community level partners and stakeholders. In the picture below Jeanette takes to the dance flow and is joined by some of the invited guests.
Jeanette, popularly known as JB within ASAP circles, joined ASAP Malawi in February 2008 as Program Coordinator to help with institutional development and establishing the organization in Malawi. In her brief but touching and moving speech, Jeanette expressed her thanks and appreciation to the ASAP Malawi team, now being led Victor Katchika-Jere.

“ASAP is still in its infancy, but it is in the hands of a great and capable team led by Victor and with the support of our partners, I believe and know that Chikwawa and other districts where we will be expanding to, will see what ASAP is doing,” she said.

A representative of the District commissioner for Chikwawa District Assembly said the district will remember Jeanette for introducing to the district an organization which had transformed the thinking and mindset of many people at the grassroots. “In a few months ASAP has been operating in the two project sites, we have seen community members who were previously dependent on relief aid and free handouts mobilizing themselves into functional groups to do something about their socio-economic situation,” he recounted.

He also added that the assembly and local leaders were pleased with ASAP’s community mobilization and development approaches and strategies which emphasize on community empowerment and ownership.

Speaking on behalf of the ASAP Malawi team, Victor Katchika-Jere, ASAP Malawi Country Director, wished Jeanette all the best as she was leaving ASAP and all the success in her future endevors.
Pictured here is Victor presenting a gift to Jeanette as her smiling husband looks on.

“I, on behalf of the ASAP Malawi team and indeed on my own behalf, would like to congratulate you tonight on your unstinting and selfless service to ASAP. You were a hard working, friendly, collegial, smart, down to earth, and "one to learn from" individual. I can safely say "We" are proud of you and what you did for the organization and those it serves,” concluded Katchika-Jere.

In addition to speeches, the party had drinks, snacks and a disco to add colour and pomp to the occasion.

Jeanette, who was in the company of her husband, received curios as symbolic gifts from the ASAP Malawi team presented to her by Katchika-Jere. Pictured here is Jeanette acknowledging and showing off her presents.

Monday, June 22, 2009

One Name One Child Campaign

ASAP is happy to be a part of the Life and Help Foundation's new One Name One Child Campaign. This is nothing less than the biggest world internet charitable record
Add your name = you set a record + you save a child
To read more click here
To view ASAP's Bridge the Gap-Kufusa Mari Junior project, and other worthwhile initiatives to help children click here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

“Love” is Born in Malawi

The family of Lingstone Ganamba, ASAP Malawi´s Senior Field Officer was blessed with a bouncy baby girl, Chikondi, weighing 3.9 kg on Monday, May 18. Chikondi means “Love” in the local Chichewa language of Malawi.
According to the cultural practices and rituals observed by the Sena tribe of the Shire Valley, the name Chikondi was selected during a low key ceremony after a three week period. During this period the mother remained indoors and was not allowed to shake hands with others to avoid infecting the child.
Pictured here are Lingstone with his wife and their newly born child at their home in Chikwawa. ASAP Malawi management wishes Chikondi and her mother well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sharing Knowledge to Benefit Darfur

ASAP has been implementing the Internal Savings and Lending (ISL) methodology in Zimbabwe since 2001, since The McKnight Foundation funded our pilot project, locally known as "Kufusa Mari"- save for the future. Today funding partners include CARE, Catholic Relief Services and Plan International and over 25,000 families will gain increased household security through participation in ASAP's project.

In January 2009, when ASAP replicated our work to the Chikwawa area of Malawi, the first step was for project staff from Malawi to travel to Zimbabwe to gain first hand knowledge from ASAP's experienced staff. In July, ASAP Zimbabwe looks forward to hosting a delegation from Norwegian Church Aid-Darfur Program (NCA-DP). Through the expertise gained from ASAP Africa in Zimbabwe, the NCA-DP is build the income and food security of internally displaced persons in the South and West Darfur region.
To read more about the Kufusa Mari ISL project please click here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Champions of Quality Education in Africa

ASAP's "Bridge the Gap - Kufusa Mari Junior" project has been declared the winner of the Early Entry Prize for the "Champions of Quality Education in Africa" collaborative competition, sponsored by ASHOKA. To read more about this winning project please click here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A poem recited by Providence Simbarashe Majaha


You people like me in Zimbabwe
I am encouraging you to work very hard
In order to produce enough food for your families
ASAP has introduced better methods of living
“Mukando” where people gather and plan their future
“Mukando” where people learn how to calculate interest.

ASAP has done its duty
Let’s play our duty too
Our local authorities, my fellow people
Let us join hands and have a better life
Let’s develop our country
Zimbabwe is our country
ASAP has introduced “Mukando”
So let’s come and join hands through “Mukando”.

You rural people
“Mukando” is waiting for you
There is room for everyone
God bless you
Thank you

A poem recited by Providence Simbarashe Majaha at the official launch of the Kufusa Mari Mutasa project 21 April 2009. Simbarashe belongs to an ISAL club at Sanyamandwe cluster. He joined the programme in October 2009 together with his mother, two sisters and two other children.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Community empowerment for sustainability through Cluster Facilitator training

by Collins Mutsvairo
ASAP has been improving the household and food security for rural families in Zimbabwe through the Internal Savings and Lending (ISAL) methodology since 2001. In each of these villages the community selects a leader, or Cluster Facilitator (CF). CFs work closely with ASAP field staff and attends supplementary training sessions offered by ASAP. It is her responsibility and privilege, as the community’s chosen representative, to share information and skills with her community during regular savings club sessions. In this way, skills and knowledge cascade throughout remote communities, reaching most villagers in a very cost effective manner.
A total of 80 CFs received additional training in the ISAL methodology in Nyanga in April under ASAP’s Rural Micro Finance project – a 5 year project partnership with CARE International funded through the Swedish International Development Agency. The CFs are ASAP’s link persons who coordinate project activities at cluster level in the communities.
The training focused on empowering the CFs on the five ISAL modules that include Member selection, Group formation, Constitution, Fund Development and Record Keeping, The workshop was facilitated by ASAP field officers headed by Joseph Miti.
Lovemore Manjoro, one of ASAP's field staff members in Mutasa is facilitating the module on Record keeping in the above picture.The CFs also discussed other issues that effect lives in their villages each and every day, including Gender based Violence, Cholera, HIV Aids, Inheritance, Child Rights and Child Abuse. In this way they are able to facilitate such discussions in their communities after the workshops. Pictured above, some participants present a drama to raise awareness of child abuse issues. Pictured here, Mrs. B Chikumba of Old Murapa cluster in Mutasa is presenting her work-group's discussions on cholera.

Care International technical specialist Ernest Musinamwana graced the occasion at the same time taking notes to enable CARE Zimbabwe to finalize the "Official" CF training manual. The fact that ASAP was chosen by CARE to enable them to finalize the Manual exemplifies the respect and fine reputation that ASAP Zimbabwe has earned by successfully improving the income and security of over 25,000 clients in Eastern Zimbabwe through various ISAL projects.