My trip out today on a Coca-Cola truck fell through last night which was a shame but at least it meant that Jane and I could work together on the pilot design while the hints and tips from yesterday’s session with UNICEF were still fresh in our minds. It also meant that we could meet with Batuke and Elizabeth from World Vision and Catholic Relief. They have been up to their necks getting the STEPS|OVC project off the ground (OVC = Orphans and Vulnerable Children) with wall to wall workshops and meetings. Unfortunately, one of the outputs from this meeting with Batuke and Elizabeth was that we should meet with the new Chief of the STEPS|OVC project and the head of the World Vision mission in Lusaka. However, this will not now be possible as we have committed to a trip to Mpika from tomorrow. Hopefully we will be able to cover off this meeting by telephone conference when we get back to the UK. We’d be interested in partnering with the STEPS|OVC as they will have 23,000 Community Carers spread over the 72 Districts of Zambia. On the face of it they would be ideal ‘Community Agents’ for the ColaLife pilot.
But the BIG news of today is that we made contact with Dr Nachi Kaunda and we will be visiting her in Mpika and travelling out to a Health Centre or two in Mpika on Friday. This is the route to Mpika. It’s about 650km.
Tonight we collected a friend’s car (a Nissan X-Trail) for the trip – bless you Charlotte (again). We are starting at 6:30am and hope to be there by 2pm. We did some research today and, interestingly enough, the recommended place to stay in Mpika is the rest house in the DDSP Compound. This is where we used to live! DDSP stands for District Development Support Programme (not many people will know that these days) and this is the project I worked on in the mid-late eighties AND it was while living in Mpika and working in Chinsali (the District to the north) that I had the idea behind ColaLife. But in those days the only communication device we had was a telex machine (no telephone or postal service) and so sharing ideas wasn’t easy and so no progress was made.
I think that we will not have much on an internet connection over the next few days but I’ll catch up with the blog posts when we get back on Sunday.