U.S. Government Awards a US$24,996 Grant to Meheba Women’s Centre Group

Lusaka. September 30, 2014.

Lusaka – The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) has awarded a $24,996 (154,975 ZMW) grant under the Julia Taft Refugee Fund to the Meheba Women’s Centre Group. This grant is intended to support local female refugees in establishing a chicken egg production program and to construct an ablution block for more than 30 resident orphans at the children’s safe haven at Meheba refugee settlement in North Western Province.

“Through this funding, the Meheba Women’s Group will become more self-reliant, have a steady source of income, and will serve as a model for other women in the settlement,” reported Drew Bury, the Vice Consul at the United States Embassy in Lusaka charged with administering the grant. “Constructing the ablution block will help the community improve sanitation for vulnerable populations in the settlement. The grant will significantly curtail the risk of the women and children in this block contracting waterborne diarrheal diseases.”

The chicken egg production program will focus on imparting livelihood training for Meheba’s female refugees while helping the nutritional needs of the population in general. The Women’s Centre will use this project as an opportunity to become self-reliant and to generate a sustainable income from egg sales. A recent market assessment has shown that there is a huge demand for eggs in Meheba as there are no local suppliers and producers of fresh eggs.

Additionally, a portion of the grant will fund the safe haven orphanage’s renovation, which is located behind the Women’s Centre. In providing on-site sanitation facilities, the funds will improve the sanitation and safety conditions for the 30 resident children, who are often forced to use pit latrines at an unfenced site that is far from the safe haven, which poses risk to the children, especially during the night.

The Julia Taft Refugee Fund was established to provide refugee assistance funding through small, generally local organizations not covered by larger multilateral refugee programs. The fund was established in 2000 under the leadership of former PRM Assistant Secretary Julia Taft. In addition to this grant, PRM has provided $3 million (18,600,000 ZMW) to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support UNHCR’s 2014 assistance and protection programs for refugees as well as its work with the Zambian government to locally integrate former Angolan refugees.