Children in Distress Network (CINDI) is a community-based organization working in Kitwe, Zambia, with the ultimate goal of reducing HIV and sexually transmitted disease (STD) transmission among children, youth and women. While its work with the SLF has a core focus on children, in order to ensure holistic support, caregivers and grandparents who take care of them are also engaged. CINDI has been in partnership with the SLF since 2005.
CINDI has seen significant signs of emotional and psychological change, resilience, and capacity building in grandmothers through support groups, trainings, income-generating activities and community saving groups. Training and skills development have led to grandmothers engaging in ‘climate-smart’ agriculture practices, including subsistence or conservation farming and using specific crop management and diversification during the growing seasons. Grandmothers have access to seeds and fertilizer and CINDI encourages cultivation of drought-resistant crops, such as cassava, sweet potatoes and beans. Grandmothers are also supported with business management training and small grants to build small businesses.
Prisca Muma is a widow with six children and four grandchildren. She was trained in small business management and received a small grant. She now runs a business from her home. The income from her business pays schools fees for her children and grandchildren, feeds her family and buys supplies for her agricultural activities. She joined a women’s club where she does her farming. She was given access to six hectares of land and now has the title deeds to that land.
“I am what I am now because of the grandmothers’ network and the support
I received from CINDI. I am amazed that there are people out there who
are concerned about people who are vulnerable.”
For CINDI, one of the most significant parts of its work is the great levels of transformation in grandmothers’ livelihoods from being mere recipients and dependents of aid to robust, self-reliant, dignified carers of their own lives and their grandchildren.