Zambia #6: Namumu Orphanage Center
by Frank Dimmock, for the team
Dear Outreach friends,
Greetings from Zambia. We have spent today visiting the Namumu Orphanage Center (NOC) near the district town of Siavonga. The area lies along the shore of Lake Kariba and forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. People in the district have relied mainly on the fishing and tourism industries for economic support. Unemployment here is very high and the times are challenging for them.
The Outreach Foundation has been partnering with the Namumu Orphanage Center since the early 2000s to support vulnerable and orphaned children with residential care and education. There are currently 23 children (13 girls and 10 boys) from grade five through secondary school.
The board’s plan (in keeping with Zambian and international policies) is to not accept additional children into the residential program and to try and reunite children with their families and guardians where possible. As the current children at the center ‘age out’ or graduate, it will be necessary to examine options for using the existing facilities for training and vocational instruction.
The center is emerging from several difficult years due to poor administration and financial management. As a consequence, many stakeholders have lost confidence in the program. We spent the morning hours reviewing a strategic plan recently developed by an updated Board of Management and presented by their consultant. The plan is for the period 2018 – 2022. It is comprehensive and ambitious and not yet costed.
We also visited the NOC facilities that include: a chapel and offices, a clinic, a girl’s dorm, a boy’s dorm, two staff houses, a dining hall and kitchen, chicken coop, and kraal (enclosure) with six dairy cows. There were presentations by members of the board, including a progress report since January 2018 and newly-developed financial and human resource policies.
We left the Namumu Orphanage Center feeling cautiously optimistic about the future of the program. We will be following steps the board takes in the recruitment of a new director, the drafting of a revised constitution and the results of a financial audit. There are important management tools that must be developed and implemented. We all want to serve the best interests of the children at the center and help them complete their education and reach their potential.
Following the day at NOC, we paid a courtesy visit to the offices of the District Commissioner and several of his staff. The day was very full, but fruitful.
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2
Africa Mission Specialist