Since 2003 Lincoln Rotary District 5650 has collaborated with The Livingstone Rotary Club in Southern Province Zambia and the Rotary Foundation to improve the lives of villagers in Zambia through the Zambia-Lincoln Nutrition Project. The project works with local partners to end child malnutrition through peer nutrition coaching, agricultural innovation, and access to clean water.
This year, the project is being expanded for an intensive two-year collaboration to expand the project to a new village in Zambia (Lifilale). Rotary Clubs from Lincoln, Seward, Beatrice, and Omaha joined together to raise a total of $11,500 which received a match of $11,500 from District 5650 District Designated Funds and a $9,200 grant from the Rotary International World Fund for a total project of $32,200.00.
Rotary International and Nebraska Rotary contributions will fund the “Improving the Nutrition and Health of Children in Lifilale Zambia” project. The project involves a multi-faceted approach to ending child malnutrition and supporting sustainable practices to improve the health of families in the village of Lifilala. The project builds on evidence-based practices that have been developed by the Lincoln-Livingstone Rotary coalition in other Zambian villages. The practices include improving access to water for drinking and gardens, teaching villagers to track growth in partnership with Nebraska volunteers who analyze the growth data, growing native nutritious foods and working with peer educators to help Zambian families learn to prepare dishes from the plants, and working with villagers to build a garden fence that villagers continue to support with user fees. Villagers in Lifilala will also benefit from previous contributions to stock a pond near the village with fish to increase the availability of protein for village diets.
Dr. Chuck Erickson from Lincoln East Rotary, who initiated Lincoln Rotary engagement with Zambia and who serves as the primary Nebraska contact and medical expert for the project explained “Our overarching goal is to prevent malnutrition, especially "stunting"; i.e., being short for age, which is a common health concern in the country.” Stunting is a measurable consequence of malnutrition. The unseen and extremely concerning implication of stunting is that the malnutrition of young children that leads to stunting also leads to permanent brain damage. We will see the benefits of nutritional improvements in the elimination of stunting through tracking normal child growth patterns. The unseen benefit will be the dramatic improvements in potential for these children who get a healthy start in life.
Shari McCright, also from Lincoln East Rotary, traveled to Zambia in September to meet with local partners who will be implementing the program. Shari, a retired teacher familiar with the behavioral strategies that promote learning, will help to teach proper measurement in infant length and work with local villagers to maximize their strengths for sustainable improvements in family nutrition. In September, she met with a new local Zambian partner ADRA, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, to develop the strategic plan for future implementation along with the local Zimba health department, including the director of health and a nutritionist. "We're in good hands," said Shari.  This local support, plus the trained peer program leaders assisting new mothers with nutritious cooking and feedback, assures the empowerment and sustainability of this program. 
The Zambia-Lincoln project demonstrates the power of global collaboration that can occur through Rotary. Lincoln partners assist with technical assistance and tracking of medical outcomes while Zambian partners provide the on the ground coaching and health care to improve the health outcomes. Evidence from growth trajectories shows Zambian infants and young children have made healthy strides from the efforts thus far. The Rotary International grant will allow those efforts to multiply. Rotary District Governor Barbara Bartle said, “The Rotary Zambian collaboration provides a testament to the power of partnerships and showcases the role of Rotary serving society in a global way.”
Invite us to your club to tell our success stories in Zambia and share how your Club can become an active participant in this International Project.
Charles Erickson
Phone 402-420-3088