Santa Clara (Agenzia Fides) - "The future of Africa is in the hands of Africans. It is up to us to build our future; I will return home as an African to show concepts and African solutions for Africa", said Sister Juunza Christabel Mwangani, of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, a religious congregation founded in 1971 in the diocese of Monze, Zambia, at the Builders of Africa's Future (BAF) 2022 award ceremony given by the African Diaspora Network (ADN).
The nun collected the award representing the Emerging Farmers Initiative, a project initiated by her religious congregation in the village of Magoye, Mazabuka.
"Together with a group of nuns we founded the Emerging Farmers Initiative, in 2019, with the permission of the congregational leadership", explains Sister Juunza Christabel Mwangani. "Our congregation has 40 sisters and is based in the Diocese of Monze, in the southern province of Zambia. The Emerging Farmers Initiative is in Mulando village in the Nziba, Magoye area, in the same district as the motherhouse of the congregation. Nziba is in the rural part of Mazabuka District about 151 kilometers (about 94 miles) from Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia in the southern province".
"There are about 73 households in Mulando village with an average of eight members in each. The main trade is subsistence farming, cattle rearing and crop production. Due to frequent droughts and total dependence on farming, the levels of poverty are still high. The illiteracy level is also still high, estimated at 25 per cent. Half of the population in the area is under 20 years of age", continues the nun.
"The Emerging Farmers Initiative is meant to run in the context of a secondary school, as a production unit. Most schools focus only on academic learning. Through the Emerging Farmers Initiative — which houses our poultry, swine and egg production units; vegetable garden; fruit tree orchard; maize field and shponds — we will offer hands-on training to our pupils and life-transforming skills to young school dropouts and young families at risk. In the EFI, we prepare our students to face the real world", concludes the nun.
Founded in 2010, African Diaspora Network (ADN) is a Silicon Valley-based non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship and economic development on the African continent and in communities where the African diaspora lives.
Two Ugandan nuns also won the BAF award: Sister Frances Kabagaaju of the Daughters of the Child Jesus of Uganda, who runs a health center in Nkuruba in Rwenzori, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Sister Rose Thumitho of the Little Sisters of St. Francis, one of the founders of Mother Kevin Providence Social Enterprise, in Jinja, to provide development opportunities for women and young people. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/4/2023)