An update on the Women’s Co-op Groups!

One of the founders of Malambo Grassroots, Jocelyn Banyard, was recently in Zambia and sent us through this lovely update on how the Income Generation projects with the Women’s Co-op Groups are doing!

Read on…


Dear All,

We just completed the 9 day skills building workshop for women sponsored by Rotary Nelson.  It was SUCH a success.  Many many thanks to Rotary.  I am completely exhausted.

We had 2 women from Monze rural – Mutinta and Mutimba.

One lady from Mazabuka – Charity.

One lady from Kafwefwe – Elenor.

2 from Choma – Esnart and her daughter Busiku

and 5 from Siavonga – Loveness, Bridget, Grace, Febby and I have forgotten the last ladys name.

Joi came down for a break from Monze and pitched in helping – she is good with colour choice and did a lot of pattern copying – nice.  We also had a young rocket scientist, Peter, from Holland.  He designs propulsion systems for rocket ships to take them to deep space – a cheery super positive young brain who helped with many technical difficulties. (And made an appropriate technology sample of a light bulb made from a water bottle that is equivalent to 50 watts that I could show the women – good for those village homes with the tiny windows)

Bead work in progress

The idea was to introduce 2 new techniques (to low/no income women)– rug hooking and beaded art pieces.  The women were picked as potential leaders who could then go home and share with others.  The women did very well and loved both techniques.  I put most of them up in the lodge and the Choma ladies in the Castle.  I  would go over in the am at about 7 and all would be working.  Each day we started at 9 officially and worked until 5pm.  When I visited them in the evenings they would still be working up to 8 or 9 pm or 10 – and the Siavonga ladies said they worked until 11pm sometimes – by solar light.  Not usual in Zambia.  They all became totally hooked on the beads.

Febbie's first full size carpet!

Most of the funds were spent on transport and food and some t-shirts.  My mother, sister and I donated most of the materials and the lodging was free.  With the remaining we are buying some beads and frames so the women can continue.  Joi is finalizing the budget.  ($500 was spent on a previous workshop – bringing Sam in from Lusaka to teach Siavonga ladies papermache and how to decorate.)

We are going to try and get beads from Tanz to lower costs but in the immediate future will buy from Soweto in Lusaka.

The rug hooking went very well too.  We reviewed many issues on how to improve – from how to read a drawing, to light and dark values, how to choose second hand tshirts that looked new and were for v large people (to maximize profit).  This product so far sells well and easily.  I believe this workshop will help improve the group in Monze – I’ll let you know.  (I asked the Monze ladies who all say they are making good money with the rugs already. )  For the Siavonga, Choma, and Mazabuka women – this was a new technique.

Massages after a long day!

All the women came really not knowing what we were going to do – as soon as they saw the beads their eyes lit up.  Zambians LOVE beads.  I think this product might do very well with the newly wealthy local population here which is great.  They worked so hard everyone got very cramped neck muscles.  So Joi offered free massages to all.  Elenor (62) jumped at the offer.  I attach a photo.  I also set up the trampoline next to the lodge as I figured we needed some exercise to counter the hard work.  When it was set up the women crowded around and I asked if they’d like to try.  “Yes”.  “Well – go on”  “What is it?”  So we had to demo.  Great excitement, laughter and fun.  “Is this a bouncy castle?” Again – Elenor at the forfront – determined to enjoy every second.  SO each night the women bounced until dark, often one lying down in complete laughter as another jumped to bounce her.

Esnart, who is Tonga, is the indigenous craft expert of Zambia.  She was most helpful during the workshop – helping explain concepts like light value and dark value colour choices, and how marketing works if you are selling to a middle man ext.  Everyone fell under her spell – she is very kind and caring.  I am going to try and help her set up in the Choma area (not sure how yet – no funds myself).  She has no funds at all and is excellent with quality control – so the items will be good. And she will be working with v rural women who have nothing at all.

I sent each group home with beads, and designs for both beads and carpets and I shall continue making designs for all.

Love to all,


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Workshops at Ngoma Dolce Music Academy- Lovely Thank you’s!

We’ve received some really great letters from students who attended a workshop at the Ngoma Dolce Music Academy. The letters speak for themselves!

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Catherine’s Run for Malambo Grassroots!

We’ve put all of Catherine’s posts into one spot for you to read all about her training for her amazing feat of running 50km for Malambo Grassroots! We can’t thank you enough, Catherine!

January 28

Remember Catherine? Our fearless runner who ran a marathon for Malambo Grassroots in October 2011 ?
Well, she is at it again! On March 16th 2013, Catherine will be running her first ULTRA run for Malambo Grassroots….the Chuckanut 50kms in Washington State. We’ll be posting updates from her training, and reporting about the big day! In the meantime, read more here.
Thank you for your support Catherine and good luck!

February 6

A training update from Catherine…well, sort of….

“A small step back…..

With regards to this week’s training, not much to say really. A disappointing slow week due to a pulled calf muscle last Sunday. Stayed off the legs all week, just did some cross training in the pool, then went for a slow run on Saturday. Calf seems to be healing, so I’ll let it rest a little more before I really up the mileage again! Murphy, number one pooch training partner, is getting antsy, so some morning runs this week in the forests of North Vancouver will be delightful. With the run a little under 6 weeks away, I don’t need Murphy to remind me that we need to run! Keep you posted.”

February 15

The training is back on! The latest update from Catherine…

“Did a 3 hour run up in the mountains last Friday morning at 8am with some friends and the dog. All went super well until horrible knee issue after around 25kms Bit sad and annoyed but there are things I can try to curb the pain so I can go finish! Will keep you posted on that. Murphy was a star the whole way and was ready for another three hours.
Unfortunately I was so tired at the end of the run that I forgot to ask my mate to take some pics!
The training continues though…doing 2 shorter runs this week….but the next super long one, 4 hours, is next week. Stay tuned!”

Thanks Catherine, and take care of those knees!

March 1

It’s March…and that means Catherine’s run is soon! Read on for her latest training update!

“Training is going well and after a 3 hour run in the mountains of North Vancouver on Friday…good news…my knee was fine! Besides the knee issue the fitness is good so let’s hope I get round in one piece. It seems some muscles in my right hip are what’s causing the knee cap to slide right which causes the knee pain. So massage and some very contorted stretching have been helping…fingers crossed.
Building up some quad muscles this weekend on a ski trip and some cross training in the pool on Thursday. Just two and a half weeks to go. Wish me luck “

March 11

With less than a week to go before the big day, Ultra-Marathoner Catherine shared some points on her pre-race routine!

“Here are my trusty shoes that will get me through the mountainous run comfortably, laces crossed! These, along with all the other race needs, are laid out the night before the big day –including as many energy gels that will possibly fit in my pockets to sustain me for the run! Pasta for dinner the night before racing and then on race day, I will wake up around 4.30 to eat bagel, peanut butter, banana and lots of coffee. Any other tips are accepted and appreciated!”

March 14

Runners often taper their training leading up to race day. Here is a photo of Catherine and her training partner resting up before Saturday!

And, Catherine’s final pre-race report…

“Had an easy run together [with trusty partner!] around town for an hour. Doing a light run today and then some swimming tomorrow just to loosen up the muscles and nerves. Then it’s up and go on Saturday morning to cross the US border at 6am. Race start at 8am after bib pick up. Fingers crossed the knee holds and we should be fine….until the end of course!”

Good luck Catherine! We’re all cheering for you!

March 21

After some rest and recovery, we have a post-race report from Catherine!

“So the run was a success. 7 1/2 hours of madness and actually quite a lot of fun!! Except for the last 10kms the race was great. After 3 hours the heavens opened and a torrential downpour accompanied my friend Doug and I for the rest of the run. With the rain came serious amounts of mud which made the many climbs and descents all the more interesting. The last 10kms was just mentally tough…head down…plod till the finish.
Just wanted to thank everyone for their support. It was amazing and it kept me pushing through to the end. xxxxx'”

Congratulations, Catherine. What an amazing run. Thank you so much!

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The Training Continues..well, sort of….

A training update from Catherine…well, sort of….

A small step back…..

With regards to this week’s training, not much to say really. A disappointing slow week due to a pulled calf muscle last Sunday. Stayed off the legs all week, just did some cross training in the pool, then went for a slow run on Saturday. Calf seems to be healing, so I’ll let it rest a little more before I really up the mileage again! Murphy, number one pooch training partner, is getting antsy, so some morning runs this week in the forests of North Vancouver will be delightful. With the run a little under 6 weeks away, I don’t need Murphy to remind me that we need to run! Keep you posted.

A picture of training partner waiting patiently!

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50kms for Malambu School, Zambia!

50kms for Malambu School, Zambia!

Yes, Catherine is at it again! On March 16th 2013, Catherine will be running her first ULTRA run for Malambo Grassroots….the Chuckanut 50kms in Washington State. After her successful performance in Portland in 2011, she has decided to up the stakes and turn to the mountain trails of Washington and run 50km on very different terrain, with a spot of snow mid run!

In 2012, slowly but surely (slow and steady wins the race!) the school classrooms started to come alive……which brought much happiness amongst the children!

So, Catherine has chosen to focus her fundraising from this incredible running event on raising much needed funds to fill these classrooms with books, school equipment and computers. Money raised will also be made available for scholarships, so students can continue their education. Should you wish to donate and support Catherine in this lengthy endeavor, you may do so here!

Catherine and her Loyal Training Partner!

We look forward to following Catherine through her training and on the big day! Thank you for your support, Catherine! And good luck!

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Detailed Hand-Work Puts Charm Into African Pieces

Read below an excerpt from a piece in the November 2012 issue of the Kootenay Quilters’ Day Guild Newsletter. The article focuses on the work of one of the founding members of Malambo Grassroots with the women’s group in Zambia!

Squares for Quilts Drying in the Zambian Sun

The Malambo Grassroots organization is a success story that makes Marylee Banyard feel a great sense of inner contentment. Over the course of the last 20 years, Marylee has seen the women involved in the organization develop their skills and flourish. As a grassroots organization, they hone their handiwork so that it can easily be sold at fundraisers in Canada. Many quilters purchase the hand-embroidered pieces and make them into attractive wall hangings or quilts, such as the work of Nellie Shukin depicted above. Money is used to support community initiatives sponsored by the women and is also critical to the success of ongoing maintenance of plumbing in the centre and the preventive maintenance of 2 industrial sewing machines and 6 other machines. In addition to Marylee’s efforts, the Rotary Club of Nelson generously donated tables and chairs and an industrial sewing machine to the centre. Private donors have also assisted to ensure that the centre flourishes.

This year Marylee will assist with a project to enhance the work of the local PTA. A guest speaker will talk about the childrens’ education. The women of the centre will then break into 6 groups to discuss issues surrounding the presentation and will develop an embroidered banner depicting their discussion issue and possible ways to resolve the issue. This whole process is also aired in the media. The sense of community involvement and development is significant.

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A great 103 miles!

Geoff Cross on a training ride up Mt.Baker

At the end of September, Geoff Cross rode for Malambo Grassroots in the 103 mile Levi’s GranFondo cycling event. Geoff had a great ride finishing 80th out of the thousands of participants! Thank you so much, Geoff, for your support!
Read here his summary of his day:

Typical of the Bay Area, the day started with some fog and cold, making way to beautiful hot sunny skies in the mountains before dropping down into the fog bank hanging over the pacific coast. It didn’t rain thankfully, as the course was even more technically demanding than I had been told- Besides the 7.500 other riders, there were lots cracks and potholes and tree-lined, switch back descents to keep one senses firing all day.

It is a spectacularly well-organized event with rest/food stations just where you need them. I knew that a key to a good performance would be eating and drinking more than you feel like. While not a recipe for day to day diet, I credit the peanut butter and jam sandwiches and coke, combined with the terrifically supportive atmosphere, and getting to share it with friends, that kept unexpected levels of pep in my legs all day.

A bike in Zambia

It was the best road ride that I have ever had the luxury of undertaking. Some/many big rides are Type 2 fun- painful and full of suffering during and only enjoyable after they are done with the sense of accomplishment; however, every so often you do a big ride that is Type 1 fun- huge smile inducing all day long, even though you are breathing hard. I think of it as being in the state of “Flow” that athletics, music, art, and other endeavors can bring when everything comes together in just the right doses.”

Geoff told us that he was happy to have had the opportunity to do the ride and support Malambo, and we are so grateful to Geoff! Thank you!

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103 Miles for Malambo Grassroots!

Much like kids all over the world, children in Zambia dream of having a beautiful bicycle to ride. So when Geoff Cross, one of our supporters offered to  ride for Malambo Grassroots at this year Levi’s Granfondo cycling event, to raise money for our Zambian community development efforts, we knew it was the perfect combination of event and cause!

On September 29, Levi’s GranFondo takes place in Santa Rosa, California. Started by professional cyclist Levi Leipheimer in 2009, Levi’s GranFondo is an annual, organized bicycle event with over 7,000 participants riding over 100 miles for various charities. Geoff Cross, will be collecting donations and riding in support of our ongoing education projects with Malambo Grassroots. See below for a quick Q&A about his upcoming ride and feel free to donate here.

Malambo Grassroots (MG): The Gran Route is 103 miles! How do you train for a ride of that distance?

Geoff, in blue, on his training ride up Mt.Baker

Geoff Cross (GC): Well, sometimes a little fear is a good motivator! In general, I like to mix it up and generally stay fit throughout the year by having fun cross-country skiing, mountain biking, playing tennis and paddling. And then, for an event like this I start adding longer and longer rides up until a couple of weeks before the event. This Fondo has a ton of climbing in the route, so I have made sure to spend time riding up Vancouver’s mountains, building up to a 95-mile ride up Mount Baker last weekend.

MG: With an 8am start and 6pm end time, how long do you think it will take you to complete the ride?

GC: If all goes really well, I am hoping the ride will last about 7 hours.

MG: What do you think is the biggest challenge riding in such a large group? And over such a long distance?

GC: There will be 7,000 cyclists, riding shoulder to shoulder and wheel to wheel, who will start the day incredibly excited but come with different levels of experience and bike handling skills. With a
healthy dose of mountain descents this also means that you have to be very attentive all day long. On the flip side, group riding is fast and the collective energy is inspiring, so you have to be careful not to get carried away too early.

MG: What type of bike are you riding and why?

GC: I ride a beautiful but older steel framed Ritchey Road Bike. While not the lightest or fastest bike in the peloton, it fits me perfectly and is more comfortable than a carbon bike because steel absorbs more of the road vibration and bumps than carbon.

MG: Even though you are riding in such a large group, will you be riding as part of a team or on your own?

GC: There are several of my friends from Vancouver and Flagstaff, Arizona riding in the event, and we will likely end up not riding together, as it is crucial that you find a pace that works for you when you are trying to complete a long endurance event to your fullest potential. Plus, with 7,000 riders, it is tough to stay together!

MG: Why are you taking part in this event?

GC: For one, there is amazing energy on a large ride like this which is enthralling to be part of. Secondly, this particular event takes place on stunning northern California roads, through wine country and even on the famous Pacific Coast Highway, for a stretch. Finally, the challenge of preparing for and completing a long event, to the best of one’s ability, calls for focus and disciplined training and offers the reward of improvement.

MG: Why is Malambo Grassroots or Zambia important to you?

GC: I think the activities of the organization provide tangible benefits to the communities it serves. What I really like is that Malambo Grassroots’ approach is sustainable, in that it is helping build local capacity around issues and initiatives identified by the local partners not imposed by foreign benefactors who, while well intentioned, are unlikely to be familiar with the cultural context necessary to get the best outcomes.


We’ll be thinking of Geoff on the 29th and wishing him all the best for a great GranFondo! Thanks for your support, Geoff. We really appreciate the 103 miles you are putting in for Malambo Grassroots!

We are grateful for Geoff’s support and welcome any further donations to continue our education work in Zambia. We are currently funding over 50 students in highschool and university and your donations will help provide for their scholarships and school supplies. To donate, please see our donation page for details. 100% of your donations go to our work in Zambia.

Feel free to add a note or comment to the donation that it is in support of “Geoff Cross, GranFondo ride”.

To read more about our current education projects, click here.

Thank you!

On Moorings Farm, Monze, Zambia

Kids in Zambia love bicycles!

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A Letter from Harriet!

Income generation is an important part of our community development work in Zambia.

Below, read a letter from Harriet to you, our donors and community.  Malambo Grassroots gave Harriet, who is from the Monze area, the equivalent of $40 earlier this year to start a new business. She purchased fabric to make clothes of her own design and sell them in the surrounding villages.

The tone of Harriet’s letter also highlights that Zambia has been declared a “Christian Nation” by the president.

From Harriet, to you:

“Firstly I would like to thank god who has given me this chance of writing this letter to you. Hope and trust that you are fine me I am fine. First thing I want to say. is to say thank you for the money you have given me,
may god continue blessing you and giving you more life, may god bless what ever you doing. may god continue even blessing your family in jesus might name thank you very much.
yours harriet”

Thank you for your continued support!

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Kids at the Window: Art fundraiser: W.Vancouver Sunday 9th September 2012

Malambo Grassroots will be selling crafts made by the Malambo and Lusumpuko women at the upcoming Ukama Arts fundraiser. 100% of proceeds will go directly back into Malambo Grassroots projects in Zambia. The art on display and on sale will, again be incredible!

At this 2nd Annual Event, beautiful African and West Coast Contemporary Sculptures, paintings, and crafts will be shown in a lovely garden setting in West Vancouver.

Come out and join us for the great event!

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