“Sustainable Restoration of the Chewa ancestral food, healing practices and ancestral Livelihoods among children and youths along ‘Chisitu Watepwa’ wetlands in Zambia” aims at: “Influencing Ancestral Wisdom Bankers”, Traditional Think Tanks and Traditional herbalists (adults and elderly people) to pass-on the skills and knowledge to new generations (Children and youths) and preserve our precious ‘CHISITU WATEPWA’ (‘Sustainable Eco-Friendly Habitat’ providing viable livelihoods” for the natives of Kalichero community) so as to preserve the Chewa traditional “sacred” food, healing practices and Medicines.
Foods Like Chisonkonye [sausage from pumpkin seeds], Katate – for healing wounds, drenching stomach, purifying eyes from effects of measles, Suntha [cat whiskers] and Bata [Amarunthus] – to replenish blood loss, prevent anemia, reduce accumulation of cholesterol in blood streams, prevent heart diseases, Stroke, cancer and Diabetes. The use of fish intestines and snake bean fruit (Kasokolowe) powder to protect fowls from Coccidiosis, how to prepare prickly Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) to treat type-2 diabetes, High Blood pressure and use as diuretic to prevent kidney, prostate infections, urinary infections etc.
We plan to transfer Indigenous ancestral wisdom to children and youths in various healing regimes, teach species cultivation methods, preparation, dietary value & teachings, and preserve the Chewa cultural practices alive, both for the sustenance of the Kalichero people and for the creation of awareness about the ways in which the earth continually supports us, individually and collectively. The project strives to replenish the lost “Ancestral Super Foods”, revive Indigenous Ancestral Wisdom and Healing Theorems, restore rich biodiversity ecosystem-its nutritious fish and medicinal aquatic weeds and ancestral livelihoods to benefit the Kalichero community.
“Training a child at childhood to specialize in appropriate Ancestral Wisdom, preserves cultural identity, ensures prosperity, improves health and wellbeing and protects Indigenous Ancestral Wisdom, food and healing practices for self-sustenance”
— Chewa policy.
How we do it:
- Train 50 children and youths of mixed gender in viable and sustainable Chewa Ancestral Food and Healing Practices to pass-on the ancestral wisdom and equip children and youths with effective leveraged health services. (Training of Trainers). The 50 youths will educate 10 people each and lead community mobilization in planting ancestral and medicinal plants.
- Mobilize 500 people to Plant and protect 10 000 Medicinal plants and food (edible) herbs along “Chisitu Watepwa” and engage community participation in care, restoration and scale-up of Watepwa eco-friendly biodiversity.
- Restock 25 Fish ponds and 7 water bodies to enhance sustainable livelihoods and ensure project sustainability and continuum after Sacred Fire Foundation Grants funds phase out. This activity will revamp ancestral livelihoods and improve nutrition, health and wellbeing of the community.
Challenges currently being faced in the community are high rate of sexually transmitted infections, Type 2 diabetes, High blood pressure, coronary infections, low immunity and pre-natal/post natal related deaths among Women and girls. To avert hunger and poverty during COVID-19 lockdown women and girls exchange reckless unruly sexual activities with money or food to survive. 85% of women who sneaked out to the bush, forest or farm reported being raped or engaging in illicit (extra-marital) sex to survive. 70% of such victims contracted sexually transmitted infections including HIV. Massive quantities of Indigenous herbs and Medicinal plants have been uprooted in the process to cure sexually transmitted infections amid COVID-19 as clinics do not have drugs due to closure of borders. Therefore, Ancestral Medicinal practices and food are urgently needed to cure people infected with various diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kalichero.
A total of 570 people are direct beneficiaries. 550 youths of mixed gender, preferably 275 female and 275 male aged 14 and 29 years, will participate as project direct beneficiaries. 10 men and 10 women will participate as project implementers, Ancestral Wisdom facilitators, Peer educators and youths’ mentors.
By the end of the project, 60% of the beneficiaries (children and youths) have access to beneficial information on ancestral food and healing practices. 60% of the beneficiaries (children and youths) have all year round household owned ancestral food security. 60% of the beneficiaries have viable and sustainable non-wood improved livelihoods (fish) and are sustainably earning a continued income flow from the fish farming and integrated medicinal woodlots all year round. There will be 40% improvement in people’s wellbeing. Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, enlarged prostate, coronary infections and snake bite related deaths will reduce by 40% among beneficiary households due to readily availability, affordability and effectiveness of Ancestral wisdom, food and healing practices. This will enable beneficiaries to earn $3 USD per day, invest $3 USD per day and save $3 USD per day (3 Dimensional impact: Reduced Poverty) by the end of the project.
It is important that this project should materialize to echo positive perception to the rest of the world to correct the negative impression that indigenous Chewa people are backward low class people, but instead portray the Indigenous Chewa People as Elite experts with diversified eco-friendly ancestral wisdom, healing methods and livelihoods which effectively benefits people individually and collectively. To pave a good roadmap for health researchers and nutritionists who want to explore the efficacy of various Chewa Ancestral/Traditional Medicines and/or Food to come and learn or experiment with our ancestral wisdom to benefit mankind worldwide.