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Project Zambia 2018

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The Danes were expelled from Zambia

On February 26, a large group of Danes was forced to leave the project in Zambia, as the immigration authorities did not think we were following the rules. It required hard work and many meetings, but we succeeded and on April 12 the group could return home and continue their work. Due to the expulsion of the Danes, we decided to put NSA on hold in 2018. We needed time and calm to work through all of our practical matters and relations with relevant authorities.

In 2018, there was therefore no official trip to Zambia. During 2018, however, Novicell continued to make ongoing donations every single month. In this way, Eventure can continue to establish sustainable initiatives that dare to look ahead and continue to develop the project. This applies both to children, students and employees in Zambia, but equally to the more than 500 Danish volunteers who have been through the project since it started.

Despite a minor bump in the road, the project continues. Below you can read about an employee who took the whole family to Zambia after his own visit in 2017, and about the new adventure that the association Eventure has started in Nicaragua.

Novicell has now supported the danish association Eventure and their development projects for 5 years! For 5 years we have therefore been on an inspiring journey where we have seen the association's work materialize. Project Zambia has evolved from "just" being an after-school for local youngsters to now also housing a well-functioning kindergarten for the smallest from the neighboring village as well as the Living Library, which brings play and learning to the local area. It is exciting to follow from the closest team and see the impact the project has and the opportunities it provides for both children, young people and adults in an outlying area in northern Zambia.

Off on a trip - again

I myself visited Projekt Zambia in both 2015 and 2016 and it has been a great experience each time. Therefore, I had no doubt that I should go over and see the latest shot of the Eventure strain with my own eyes, so recently I made the trip across the Atlantic with my traveling companions. The new project is located in Nicaragua in beautiful surroundings right down to Lago Apanas. Just like the project in Zambia, the new project will branch out into the local community with a focus on development through sustainable initiatives.

Impact in the local community

Every year, an entrepreneurial and vocational school will offer 24 young people a developing year. This developing year equips them to start companies, process fruit and vegetables from the area and sell them in their own shops, amongst other things. In addition to the school, the project in Nicaragua will have a Community Care program, which is aimed at the neighbors. Here, volunteers meet with the area's children through sports activities that ensure both fun and movement. The program is planned in collaboration with the local school, and mutual language exchange is a positive output of the program.

Sustainable coffee production

The third branch of Project Nicaragua is about coffee - and about sustainability. There are a lot of coffee farmers in the area, but they don't get enough out of their products, which are usually bought up by the big national companies for far too little money. Eventure will help the farmers convert to biodynamic production over a number of years. That way, the farmers can demand more money for their beans - which, by the way, they also have the opportunity to shell and roast on Eventure's machines.

The meeting with the good coffee farmers gave me an idea: Why don't we (Novicell in other words) buy quality coffee directly from the farmers, pack it in delicious, locally produced wooden boxes and give them to our customers as Christmas presents [spoiler]? This, I think, is a really cool way to build a bridge between our business and our commitment to Eventure's projects.

I was on the project for a handful of days and it was exciting to see and hear about the thinking behind it. It looks like Glenn and his family are once again about to create a project that will make a tangible difference in the local area. I look forward to being part of that journey.

Presence above all

One of the things that is most important to me in relation to our long collaboration with Eventure is that we ourselves are present at the projects - that we go into them. We don't want to be just a logo on a website. This is also why we have sent a group of colleagues to Zambia in the past two years. In 2016, the task was to establish an IT room with tablets, computers, servers, etc. at the post-secondary school, and in 2017 it was the internet on the project that had to be strengthened.

2018 will be no exception and this year we are actually planning two trips - one for each project and as always with a concrete goal for both trips. Internally, there is great support for the trips, and I can feel how the energy from the previous participants rubs off on the colleagues. It makes me genuinely happy.

Will you join in?

If you are now considering whether your company should also support Eventure's projects in Zambia and Nicaragua, I can only recommend going on one of the trips and feeling for yourself the impact the projects actually have. You are welcome to contact us if this sounds interesting.

Martin Skøtt, who is Business Development Manager at Novicell, visited our support project in Zambia last year when a group of colleagues traveled there to help build IT.

The school and the rest of the area made such an impression that he has now returned - with the whole family. Read about their experiences here.

The view from the boat with the main building, the harbor, the mountains, the bathing plateau and the unique nature of the area around Eventure leaves a strong impression on me and I know I have to go back again, and not just for a short trip next time.

Such were my thoughts when I last left Zambia, where the organization Eventure runs a school, a kindergarten and a lot of work with the surrounding villages.

My family, which consists of a girlfriend and four children, quickly agreed to the idea of going, so it was just a matter of getting it arranged.

Support from both colleagues and customers

Novicell is a sponsor of Eventure, so both my boss and my colleagues supported my plans to take a five-week summer holiday and bring the family to Zambia.

However, it requires a little preparation of projects, clients and everything else before I could leave, but my clients have a lot of good contacts with other colleagues who could easily take over, so it turned out to be no problem. However, I promised everyone to check mail every now and then, but it has been limited what I have had to fix from here.

Fortunately, the Wi-Fi still works from the last time my colleagues and I were here, so it is easy to work with everything that is electronic - regardless of whether the address is Mbete Zambia or Højbjerg Denmark.

Something with me in the backpack

Before leaving for Zambia, the colleagues in Novicell and my girlfriend's colleagues in YouSee have donated a good chunk of money. That was the plan, they had to go to footballs, handballs, crayons, coloring books and pencils. But the colleagues' generosity far exceeded our expectations, so we ended up taking part of the donation in cash. This resulted in us being able to make new bags for the students and blackboards for all the children down here.

In the backpack I also had two hammocks, which were donated by Lia (who is the daughter of a colleague and with me on the last trip to Zambia), who thought they would be of use to the children down here. She was right about that. The kids love to have fun in the shade in a hammock.

What are we doing in Zambia?

Our everyday life here offers many different tasks. It can be watering the garden, collecting firewood in the bush, helping in the kitchen, attending kindergarten or something else entirely. All necessary things for everyday life to function. Part of my task is to evaluate the IT setup Novicell made on the last visit. What works after a year? What have they not benefited from etc..?

Fortunately, my children easily adapt into the community and the tasks that come with it. Likewise, the time together in the evening and the time to be with the family is fantastic. It's been a long time since I've been so close to them, and it's really nice that there is time and opportunity for that too.

The villages of Katouto and Mbete, which are the nearest towns around the school, are as one imagines villages in dark Africa. It's like stepping into a foreign country calendar, where there are an incredible number of children with big bellies, big smiles and a great desire to hold hands and ask what your name is.

We know a bit of Bemba, the language most people in Zambia can speak, so it's fun to ask both children and adults about everyday things.

Things in Zambia take time - even more time than what is good. Right now, we've had the bags delivered, but the wood for the boards hasn't been on the market, so it's just a shame. Kennedy, who is responsible for all purchases, expects it to arrive in the next 10-60 days, so we probably won't get to see the kids writing on the boards. But they have promised us pictures of the finished result.

Important learning to bring home with us

The days go by very quickly down here, so before we look back, it's back to Denmark with school and work.

I think we've all got a piece of Africa in our hearts and a view that gives insight. Both to nuance the little things we complain about in everyday life, but also a strengthened family bond that we all have together.