Mwandakwisano Community School and the surrounding area has a total population of nearly 5, 062 inhabitants. Family incomes in this area are low and many children are growing up surrounded by extreme poverty and in difficult circumstances. The trend for early births is seen prolifically in the Mwandakwisano area, with many women as young as 15 bearing children with little or no income or support.
In addition, the school suffers from inadequate and irregular financial support from either government or donors. The community schoolteachers and PTA members pointed out lack of financial resources as one of the major factors limiting their activities. In line with financial challenges, this community school suffers inadequate financial support from the government and where they receive this support it is usually delayed. Providing an income generating activity (IGA) for the school will help combat these challenges as the school will be financially independent as it will generate income for the school from the IGA. The PTA members and the teachers proposed a Maize Mill as an income generating activity for the school.
Food insecurity in the Mambwe area has been a source of concern for the school. The community is not able to provide the children with sufficient food at school, especially during the lean season January to April. Many children come to school after a long walk and are dependent on Mary's Meals. A Scottish organisation (Mary's Meals) provides porridge, but this is not sufficient for the pupils as they receive only one cup per day. Therefore, providing an extra meal to the school during the lean period January to April will help combat classroom hunger for the pupils in school and will improve attendance and enrolment as well as retention in school.
Women and girls in Mwandakwisano community is very low and this makes them more vulnerable to poverty as well as social and cultural disadvantages compounded by gender imbalances. Many girls lack skills training at school besides their normal classwork. Most of the girls and women around the community lack skills in sewing, entrepreneurship, communication skills, monitoring and networking skills, lobbying and advocacy skills, business skills etc. This has made women and girls to continue being disadvantaged and continue lacking confidence to participate in public life and in leadership position.
It is against this backdrop that RFDP Zambia launched the Mwandakwisano Integrated Rural Development Programme focusing on 3 thematic areas namely Improved Basic Education Programme, Improved Maternal and Child Health and Improved Forests Management and Sustainable livelihood.