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   Additional Description of Link Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative (MMCI)

The Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative (MMCI) is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which was founded in 2002 by then First Lady of the Republic of Zambia Mrs. Maureen Mwanawasa. The mission of the organisation is to improve the lives of vulnerable communities especially Youth, Women and Children through providing them with skills and opportunities at both individual and national levels. This mission of the MMCI is derived from the organisation's vision of a Zambia in which all individuals have equal access to opportunities in education, health and income generation. Through its partnership with various organisations, MMCI relies on a collective approach to addressing issues. Through this approach, MMCI has established itself as an organisation that has well developed competence in mobilising key players to address various development oriented issues.  
MMCI has over the past five years implemented programmes that are essentially community driven. Based on its strategic plan for the period 2004-2007, MMCI has successfully and effectively carried out its activities with focus on the following interventions:

Children, Youth and Women Education:
Education in Zambia is considered a basic right and despite its decline over the past two decades, the government recognizes the role education plays in reducing poverty as articulated in its Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP).  Government also recognizes the importance of early childhood education and has committed to achieving UNESCO's Education for All (EFA) goals.  

The MMCI has structured its education component around two key areas described below:

  • Early Childhood Care, Development and Education (ECCDE)
  • Education Sponsorships and Support to education institutions.

Maternal and Infant Health and HIV/AIDS:
Of Zambia's approximately 12 million citizens, it is estimated that over 900,000 are infected by the HIV/AIDs virus.  With the national prevalence rate at 14.3%, infection is highest among the 15-49 years old age group.  Invariably the impact on the economic, social and family structure has been damaging, leading to increased numbers of orphaned children.   MMCI's response has focused on the following five areas:

  • Life Skills through the Sports and AIDS Project
  • Voluntary Counseling and Testing
  • Nutrition Support and Empowerment of PLWHA and those affected by the pandemic
  • Advocacy and Lobbying against stigma and discrimination, sexual and gender based Violence

Water and Sanitation:
Access to clean drinking water and safe sanitary facilities remain major challenges in many parts of Zambia.  Although urban areas are slightly better off than rural areas, existing water and sanitation facilities cannot cope with the rapid urban population growth.   To respond to these challenges, MMCI has been involved in the following activities:

  • MMCI has built an ablution and sanitation facility at Soweto market and also unblocked sewer pipes   at the Old Kapiri-Mposhi market, State House Compound and the TEVETA Home for the Blind in Lusaka.
  • Constructed boreholes in Kabwe , Lusaka, Chiawa  as well as commissioned water points in mazabuka, Solwezi and other parts of the country.
  • Donated electric, diesel and treadle pumps to community based organisations, schools and women clubs throughout the country.

Women and Youth Empowerment
Zambia's formal sector accounts for only 15% percent of formal employment, hence the majority of the population depends on the informal sector for incomes and livelihoods.  Whether it is petty trading or small scale agricultural activities, the Small and Medium Enterprise sector (SME) provides jobs and income generation activities for many Zambians. 
MMCI has contributed towards the empowerment of women and youth through the following interventions:

  • The Southern Province Women's Goat Project
    In 2002, MMCI developed the Goat project with an initial capital of eight million five hundred thousand kwacha (about USD2000.00) and this could purchase 425 goats at the time. This was donated to the Choma Environmental Conservation Centre to distribute as loans to 17 women clubs in Southern Province with each club getting 25 goats on condition that they transfer the first 25 goats born to another club. MMCI also collaborated with COMESA to provide training in goat keeping to the women.  The success of this project has resulted in a multiplication of over 10,000 goats in 6 districts and 10 chiefdoms. The goats are sold to ZAMBEEF and to other buyers within the districts for slaughter or empowerment activities.
  • Support to Women Clubs
    MMCI has since 2002 supported over 200 Women clubs in all the nine provinces of Zambia. This form of assistance is aimed at enhancing IGAs among women headed households and child headed families. The assistance has mostly been in form of sewing machines, materials, second hand clothes and other capital items as well as cash transfer.
  • Youth Development
    Targeting the Youth, MMCI provides small grants as start-up finance and provides training in small business development.  Activities funded to date include a car-wash centers, telephone centers, brick making activities and most recently, a skills centre has been built in Kapiri-Mposhi with funding from the Japanese Embassy.  The centre will cater for youth in difficult circumstances and those who have dropped out of school.

Social Protection and Emergency Response:
The social protection and emergency response component responds to crisis situations particularly those brought about by natural disasters.   MMCI has provided relief to the flood, accidents and fire victims and also assists the old people through a project called Old people's Social safety Net (OLPESOSA.Net) as well as the disabled.

Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative (MMCI)

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