Letter from ZOCs

Dear Jenny and John,

Greetings from ZOCS!

On behalf of ZOCS Management, I would like to thank you sincerely for your timely response to our call for support for antiseptic aids for our communities. It is great to know there are always people out there looking out for the needs of others. I can assure you that, this donation will make a difference in the lives of many families in Zambia.

We have been praying for the COVID 19 situation to get better amid the raising number of people contracting the disease. Currently, there are 16 confirmed cases, but we are delighted that Government has put in place mechanisms for support and information sharing.

We will confirm receipt of funds as soon as it reflects in our accounts.

Once again, thank you for your unwavering support to ZOCS.

May God bless you always.

Kind regards,


10 positive aspects of Zambia

1. Zambia is a country at peace – 41 years of independence without serious conflicts. Seventy-two tribes; seven major tribes; living in harmony; without ethnic clashes. Zambia is the envy of other African states!

2. Zambia is noted for hospitality – people who are friendly and welcoming, people who have received several hundred thousand refugees in recent years. It is the poor hosting the poor.

3. Zambia has rich resources – great assets of minerals, land, water, agriculture, tourist sites, etc. It is true that these have not always been wisely utilised – but they are there for the future.

4. Zambians are known for hard work, for resilience – dedicated to feeding families and building a strong nation. (This is particularly true of women!)

5. Zambians have talent – given a good education, they can match anyone. We know this from the wonderful staff of young Zambians who work with ZOCS and many other NGO’s with whom we have contact.

6. Zambia is committed to democracy – a nation struggling, faltering, but persevering in efforts to build democratic structures and attitudes. Zambia has an anti-corruption fight that has even put the former president on trial for “plunder of the national economy”!

7. Zambia has wonderful women – increasingly socially active (two top-rate presidential candidates in the last national elections) and the backbone of domestic and agricultural efforts.

8. Zambian civil society is very strong – coalitions of NGO’s, trade unions, professional associations, church groups, etc., that are articulate and intelligent in shaping development policies.

9. Zambian churches are dynamic and spiritually vital, with plenty of ecumenical cooperation at many levels. This involves service of the needy and a prophetic voice in pursuing social justice.

10. Zambian youth are a powerful force – 45% to 50% of the population often million is below the age of 15! They experience plenty of difficulties but also are committed to work for a better future.

Coronavirus in Zambia

ZOCS today addressed members of the press on the closure of schools following the corona virus pandemic that has caused panic world over. ZOCS welcomes the move by Government to close schools in an effort to prevent any spread of the Corona virus. However, we are concerned about the safety of our children given their vulnerability status. Water and Sanitation remain a huge concern in some communities where our children live. Our worry is their lack of purchasing power to get disinfectants needed for preventive measure. Therefore, we are calling on the Ministry of Health, other line ministries and other well-wishers to look into this issue as a matter of urgency. Support could come in form of purchasing or donating disinfectants, soap, etc.

Hand sanitiser

Help the current requirement to protect the children and vulnerable households in Zambian communities by donating a small amount towards the provision of hand sanitiser


Chipo for Life

Buying a Chipo for Life gift is simple and easy: this is how it all started…

When Jenny & John Preston first visited the village of Kalalasaka in southern Zambia, the village headmen conferred Tonga names in them: John’s name is Milimo – meaning Worker, and Jenny’s name is Chipo – meaning Gift. Friend Nell who designed the newsletter livery suggested we use the name Chipo to highlight that all the giving opportunities are intended to have ongoing effect on the lives of recipients.

For example the gift of goats is linked to a community management project whereby every 3rd progeny then goes to the next poorest household in a particular village.

Gifts of door or window frames will accelerate the building of a 3x 1 classroom for Kaanga Community School.

Each gift thus adds an extra dimension towards the opportunity for village children to flourish in life skills – including mathematics, reading & writing, history, health – food groups, hivaids, prevention of abuse, and local herbs and fruits.

If you are interested, please download this link and fill it in and send back to Kondanani Zambia.

The order form below can be printed out and sent to the email address shown.

Screenshot 2018-12-21 13.46.50

NEW INITIATIVE: Kaanga Community School

Mark Preston’s description of Kondanani Zambia’s first visit to Kaanga: “My wife Isabel and I had travelled to Gamela and Kalalusaka to monitor improvements at the villages with the ZOCS team and Mayor of Choma and he asked if we would mind diverting on the way back to Choma to visit a small village of Kaanga where he, the Mayor, was very impressed by the effort and enthusiasm of the village, and he hoped ZOCS and Kondanani would consider supporting the school.

We travelled for what seemed like a long distance, but was actually quite short according to my GPS because the roads were so bad and the 4WD’s that we were travelling in had to travel so slowly to traverse the dry route (I can’t imagine what it would be like in the wet season).

What we saw when we arrived I can only describe as impressive: the effort that the village had gone to build schools houses, toilets and to begin to create the bricks required to build more school buildings. I was impressed by the effort that has already been put into the school and think it is a great project to support.’

Isabel alerted us to the fact that Kaanga is always cut off from the rest of the country when the rivers flood. You’ll notice Isabel standing by the piles of bricks ready for the building of a 1 x 3 classroom block.

Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) reports to us that already the community has a full Parent Community School committee in place, which demonstrates their willingness to be active in the school development plan. ZOCS suggests that income generation activities of chicken and goat raising will be of assistance to this community. (as supporters will recall the goat scheme has been of great value in numerous communities.)

Presently at Kaanga there are 96 male students, 128 female students, with two male volunteer teachers. The Parent Community School Committee has 5 female and 5 male members.

Kalasaka dressmaker Professor Mudenda given a 3 year bursary to Masuka High School

Kalasaka dressmaker Professor Mudenda given a 3 year bursary to Masuka High School, southern Zambia, to become a qualified community school teacher for Kalalasaka Community School

Since Professor Mudenda graduated from UCZ CHODORT TRAINING COLLEGE 4 years ago, not only does he have a thriving business at Kalalasaka Village, he has also been teaching young people the rudiments of pattern making and machine sewing, and helping Grade 2 pupils at the Community School. His commitment to fulfilling the trust placed in him in his 1 year training in Choma, has led the Preston family charity – Kondanani Zambia Inc – to find an avenue to give Professor the opportunity to further increase his education.

He has been awarded a 3-year bursary to study to Masuka Secondary College, which is close enough to Kalalasaka village for Professor to attend school, to study, and continue his dressmaking business.

Kondanani Zambia Inc has been committed for 20 years to working alongside ZOCS – Zambia Open Community Schools, Lusaka, Zambia, and its CEO Mrs Harriet Sianjibu Miyato. Mrs Miyato states:” I have monitored his performance since his CHODORT training, his commitment to his work is obvious, and he has been ready to do additional work of teaching Grade 2 learners, an indication that he is really determined to become a teacher, in his village of Kalalasaka.”

Cleopatra Chona-Muna, Research & Advocacy Manager at ZOCS says: “not only will he become a more skilful teacher, but the whole Kalalasaka community and learners will benefit; he is a determined person, and we have no doubt he will excel in his studies”.

Village Chickens to create sustainable entreprenurial activities for rural Zambian villages

Vulnerable Zambian women given opportunity to raise healthy village chickens, following guide by AusAID Prof Robyn Alders; project funded through ZOCS by Kondanani Zambia Inc

Kondanani Zambia (KZ) is funding a new project in Zambia, working with Zambia Open Community Schools Agricultural Consultant Simon Chiputa to introduce 5 women-led households to sustainable village chicken raising practices in the Mungule chiefdom. Simon will be assisting in enlarging the women’s understanding of chicken rearing, of health and disease management, of mating and breeding of chickens.

Chicken project Simon Chiputa

Improving poultry health improves production efficiency which contributes to food security and poverty alleviation, The egg provides a range of nutrients apart from protein that can make a substantial contribution to the nutrition of children and pregnant and nursing women.

Additionally, the women will learn the benefits of a 3-monthly vaccine to prevent the poultry from succumbing to Newcastle Disease. The vaccine, which does not need refrigeration, is the product of research carried out in Zambia by Assoc Prof Robyn Alders of Sydney University, Australia, in conjunction with veterinarians in Lusaka.

KZ hopes that, with effective monitoring, the project will be cost-effective and will be replicated in rural villages. The monitoring will be exploring ways that the vaccine can be administered for a reasonable fee, which in turn will provide a small living allowance for the vaccinator.

You can support the work of poultry health and production by donations to Kondanani Zambia on the Donate page of this website.

Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Action – Fifty Goats

Have you ever seen true sustainable social entrepreneurship in action? I mean uncontrolled growth in the most difficult environment with the most minimal resources imaginable?

I have, and I have called it fifty goats.

Why fifty goats?

Eight years ago, I joined a phone call with my parents and the executive director of ZOCs in Zambia and we brainstormed about ways to further affect the rural community schools that Zambia Open Community Schools supports with entrepreneurial concepts that would bring IGAs – income generating activities – to grow self-reliance to support teachers & provide requisites for the community schools to continue to flourish.

The criteria would only require a small amount of seed capital, no organisational structure, no working capital, just the pure entrepreneurial spirit of those who joined the entrepreneurial experiment.

A small spark was the target, no long-winded, difficult to manage project to build, just a spark of an idea and the small amount of seed capital to get it going and perhaps some encouragement along the way.

So we started, 27 goats, 14 female and 13 male. We organised donations from some churches in Australia and away it went.


ZOCS began by simply explaining an idea. Distribute the goats between the most vulnerable families (female-headed households, often the grandmothers) in the most rural village. Each family would get 3 goats: 2 females and one male. As each individual family’s herd grew, they donated the next 2 goats to another vulnerable family and one to the community schools herd.

The thing about goats is, they are tough, they eat anything, they don’t require land rights, they don’t get many diseases and they produce protein-rich milk and meat and the ownership rights of women were covered.

And so it began.

So 7 years later, this spark of an idea, self-sustaining, self-growing at a rate without any external input is one of the most amazing things I have experienced in entrepreneurship: one of the best examples I have ever seen. I use this story in many of my discussions on the subject of innovation and entrepreneurship because when you say those words many people think driverless cars at Google or CERN in Switzerland!

The program has affected over 1,023 families in Zambian communities in the most profound ways. Children that can grow up to be healthy adults, families able to pay for the children’s education which is at the centre of any growth scenario of ANY country on earth.

So why did I call this an entrepreneurial bonfire? Because from the smallest spark of an idea a whole world opened up and grew at a rate that can’t be slowed down: the dream of many a multinational organisation! True innovation at its best operating in the most difficult conditions imaginable to most people.

Join us at Kondanani Zambia and Zambia Open Community Schools as we continue on a journey through innovation and entrepreneurship in Zambia with projects that we hope will grown across Africa and the world.