The Copperbelt Health Education Project (CHEP), currently a non-governmental organisation with company limited by guarantee status, was established in 1988 as an integrated development project in response to emergent health issues. Its primary mandate is to contribute to national efforts and strategies aimed at reducing the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS and mitigating its effect in Zambia, in general, and the Copperbelt Province, in particular. CHEP considers HIV/AIDS not only as a health issue but also a development issue that influences and affects all aspects of human life of every person in the community.
CHEP’s mission is enshrined in its mission statement, which reads;
To enhance capacities and competencies of local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other structures through technical support, research and appropriate knowledge management.
With emphasis on collaboration with the community, CHEP believes in sustainable livelihood approaches to development, where communities should own their own programmes and ensures their success. CHEP hence considers itself as a catalytic agent that enhances, accelerates and strengthens the community’s own responses to situations as they occur, based on those values and lifestyles that communities find fit to cherish and have reason to value. CHEP has become an intermediary organisation who can link policy makers with grass root level organisations.
The organisation’s goal is;
To contribute to the prevention of the further spread of HIV infection and to mitigate the impact of AIDS on individuals and communities on the Copperbelt Province of Zambia and create opportunities for shared learning at national and regional level.
For CHEP to achieve this goal the organisation has 2 main objectives, which relate to programming at community level and to institutional strengthening.
1. To facilitate expanded community responses to HIV/AIDS prevention and poverty alleviation through the provision of IEC strategies and Technical support.
2. To further strengthen Copperbelt Health Education Project’s management and quality service delivery to partners.
The Copperbelt Health Education Project (CHEP) uses participatory methodologies in the implementation of its health education activities among target groups. Community based peer education in which community volunteers actively participate is the main engine, which drives the organisation’s participatory methodologies. In this regard the target groups from local communities on the Copperbelt are involved in all stages of community health education project management namely identification and design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Admittedly and in conformity with current empirical evidence CHEP uses peer education as a positive behaviour change communication strategy among its target groups. This is with particular reference to their behaviour on sexual and other health matters such as hygiene to combat preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, STDs, TB, Dysentery, Cholera and Malaria etc
In addition to peer education other supportive strategies used by CHEP in its programmes are as given below.
• ‘Community mobilisation and participation in the management of community based development activities including the development of small autonomous community based groups (CBOs) of various kinds.
• The use of mass media and community education to convey key messages
• The development of various kinds of counselling services and
• Understanding appropriate advocacy with a view to promotes the fundamental rights of its target group.
In January 2003 CHEP management structure was restructured and staff members were redeployed in their jobs with revised job descriptions. The management structure of CHEP now is as follows;
Board of Directors: now with eight members from different walks of life, the Board of Directors are the legal owners of CHEP and are responsible for policy development, adoption of the strategic direction CHEP engages in, appointing and supervising the senior management through the Executive Director. They also appoint the external auditors and are responsible for authorising the acquisition and disposal of CHEP’s core assets.
Management Team: Executive Director: is the team leader of three other senior members of staff namely the Programme’s Manager (in charge of all programmes ensuring that they are well planned and implemented), the Finance and Administration Manager (responsible for resource management – both human and Financial) and the Training Centre Manager (managing the Training & Research Centre ensuring that the sustainability of CHEP is realised and quality curricula are developed to benefit our partner CBO’s and NGO’s).
Coordinators: Now we have four coordinators who are in charge of programme implementation and will supervise Field Officers. These are:
• HIV/AIDS Policies Coordinator (responsible for ensuring that workplaces and other organisation evolve policies that contribute to the prevention of HIV/AIDS and promotion of good corporate citizens)
• The Gender and Advocacy Coordinator (in charge of providing technical support on issues relating to gender and advocacy at community level. This unit supports children and young people’s activities)
• Community Support Coordinator (ensuring that all community initiatives are helped to take off in a more organised and coordinated way- this unit works with faith-based organisations, groups of women and men involved in micro-businesses, PLWHA’s, some community based theatre groups and other out of school youths who are provided with technical support to strengthen their programmes).
• Process and Special Project’s Coordinator (in charge of monitoring, evaluation and implementation of special projects
• The Accounts Unit: This unit has been boosted and it now has five qualified personnel who will not only ensure that CHEP property and finances are well accounted for but will also provide technical support on financial matters to CBOs and NGOs so that the fight against HIV/AIDS is effectively accelerated in the community.
• Information Systems Unit: This unit now has two members of staffs who are taking care of the information management systems of the project but also will eventually start helping other organisations set-up their own information management systems.
• Administrative Unit: in charge of ensuring that all office and human resource procedures are timely and well implemented. The unit is in charge of ensuring that stationery and other office accessories are regularly replenished, staffs contracts are timely signed and renewed, visitors are well attended to and so on.
Currently CHEP has a total number of 35 full time staff, 27 of which are qualified and experienced technical and programme staff and the remaining 8 are competent support staff.
The Copperbelt Health Education Project has been able to mobilise and expand finances from amongst financing partners for the past 16 years.
A) Financing Partners
a) CHEP has in the past handled funds for HIV/AIDS related programmes intended to be utilised in the community from organisations such as:
• WHO on behalf of DHMT’s on the Copperbelt,
• European Union through the Zambia Education Capacity Building programmes for children’s school requisites in rural Copperbelt.
• CIDA/SAT and UNICEF for Income Generating Activities for young people and women’s groups.
• Currently CHEP is in the process of nesting funds for Kitwe district CBO’s under the International AIDS Alliance.
• CHEP is in the process of nesting funds for Zambia National Aids Network for NGOs and CBOs in the Copperbelt Province.
b) The following financing partners fund the core programmes of CHEP on a three year contract basis: NORAD, Christian Aid, Royal Netherlands Embassy and Development Cooperation Ireland.
c) Accounting Procedures and Auditing
CHEP’s accounts are audited on an annual basis, by an external auditor. The auditing of accounts is done in accordance with the legal provisions for charitable organisations and general internationally accepted standards in auditing. Documentation of all expenditure in CHEP is kept in its original form as supporting documents. Management maintains adequate accounting records for the project as a whole in the form of weekly and monthly summaries of expenditures as well as quarterly financial records, which are supported by narrative reports prepared and submitted to the Board of Directors by the Executive Director.
d) Financial Systems
CHEP uses a windows driven accounting package called Money Manager which has a lot of inbuilt functions that enables the accounting staff to budget and track expenditure prudently and be able to adapt to various donor financial reporting requirements. The accounting system helps staff to produce the income and expenditure, variance analysis and the Balance Sheet. The financial systems set up and followed by CHEP offer a complete and up to date picture of CHEP’s current financial position.
CHEP has a main current account held at Kitwe’s Barclays Bank Business Centre which is operated using funds from NORAD, The Royal Netherlands Embassy, Christian AID, and the Norwegian Association of Heart and Lung Patients (LHL) who are in the ‘basket funding’ concept. Besides CHEP also maintains a United States Dollar account at the same Bank as a holding account for financing partners whose funding comes in Foreign Currencies i.e. United States Dollar.
CHEP has other Bank Accounts with the Standard Chartered Bank of Zambia for financing partners that do not want to be part of the “basket funding concept.”.
In order to emphasise the checks and balances there are four (4) signatories to the CHEP accounts of which any two can sign one from each panel for withdrawals as long as the Executive Director or to whom it has been delegated gives a final approval.
f) Accounts Policies
CHEP accounting procedures are based on the CHEP Policy document, the Operations manual and Accounting Manual.
1) CHEP and the Community
In order to contribute to the reduction of the further spread of HIV/AIDS and the mitigation of its impact on individuals and communities CHEP has embarked on expanding communities’ response to HIV/AIDS through the provision of technical support and IEC services. This means that CHEP will work with grassroots level community based organisations in order to provide them with skills and resources necessary to implement programmes that will involve people right in the community. The involvement of people will focus on vulnerable groups particularly women aged between 15 to 35 and Young people. CHEP will also ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS are involved in the design and implementation of programmes in the community. We will utilise the following as the overall strategies of the programme
a) Training CBOs in what has been proven as workable and participative methodologies to prevention of HIV/AIDS and TB. We provide the following training:
- Community Health education: these include Home Based Care, OVC Care, Basic health and Hygiene, Reproductive Health, Psycho-social counselling and VCT
- Skills training: these include Stepping Stones, Peer Education, Life Skills, Resource Mobilisation, Documentation and Communication, HIV/AIDS and Gender policy development, Advocacy, Stigma and Discrimination, facilitation skills, interactive drama, micro business skills and proposal writing
- Organisational Development: these include Strategic Planning, Financial management, Human Resource management, NGO management, IT management, Monitoring & evaluation, Baseline surveys and project managemen
b) Mentoring and Monitoring: CHEP over the years has come to understand that training alone is not enough. There is always a need to continue providing backstopping support through effective hands on mentoring and motivational monitoring to communities so that the skills they have acquired can effectively and efficiently be integrated in the day to day life of the community. CHEP will therefore continue to visit and enhance skills of the community by promoting crosspollination of good practices from community to community.
c) Small grant making: one of the hindering factors in the last two decades to HIV/AIDS prevention at community level has been the lack of resources that have not reached the community. Taking advantage of its proximity to the community and understanding of CBOs, CHEP will use its capacity that it has developed over the last five years to provide small grants to CBOs so that they can design and implement programmes at community level with people of the community participating in the design and implementation of those programmes.
d) IEC materials will be developed to ensure that people have access to latest information regarding HIV/AIDS and other materials.
To accelerate the response of community based organisations and workplaces CHEP is starting a training & research centre that is able to concentrate knowledge and skills in health education and community development in one place. The planned opening of this centre is October 2004.
2) Examples of CHEP’s Community Programming Competence
a) Community schools: In conjunction with four communities on the Copperbelt CHEP has initiated four community schools namely Kamakonde, Ipusukilo, Kaputula and Natasha where about 1,801 orphaned and vulnerable children receive basic education and life skills they need to survive in a world of poverty and HIV/AIDS.
b) Helping Rural Children access education: with support from a European Union funded programme called Zambia Education Capacity Building Programme we have supported 4,000 children in the three rural districts namely Masaiti, Mpongwe and Lufwanyama to be able to go to school. 64% of these children are girls due to the emphasis on enabling the rural girl child access education since in the past she has been disadvantaged.
c) Misaka youth Project: an out of school youth group that is doing gardening and outreach peer education activities in a village of about 4,000 people. Being a rural set up on the highway between Ndola and Kitwe, the youths have helped the community to learn more about HIV and other related health and development related challenges. Currently discussions to register this group as an independent youth group have started.
d) Twafwane Christian Care Centre is an interdenominational group that we have been technically supporting through training and mentoring. They run a home care programme and are now helping with orphans and other vulnerable children. With our support, the group has now been registered as an autonomous entity with the local authority.
e) Games for Life: Mostly done at Kwacha centre in Kitwe urban, games for life activity is one of the most interesting out of school youth programme. In 2002 over 600 boys and girls participated in the games for life activities. These participants were from 16 teams of football, 6 volleyball teams, 2 basketball teams and 2 netball teams. During the organised tournaments of these games for life, an estimated 312,000 people from the community came to watch the games and listen to the information being disseminated. These community spectators become not only interested in watching football or netball but also in listening to the peer educators who disseminate health information during breaks of the sporting activity interspersed with traditional dancing and singing. The health information is not only about HIV/AIDS and TB but also covers a range of other community problems such as Cholera, Malaria and STDs.
f) Bwafwano Women’s Group: This is a Community Based Organisation initiated in 1996 with the main purpose of assisting the Luangwa community in disseminating information on HIV/AIDS. In order to increase effectiveness in disseminating information on HIV/AIDS the group was trained in health education and later trained in tailoring and designing to enable them start an Income Generating Activity (IGA). We assisted them acquire two sewing machines that they are currently using. To date the club has 22 members out whom 4 are men. Besides doing tailoring and designing the club also takes care of 22 orphans and 15 widows in their group. From the money they raise they support some orphans and widows enabling them to buy food. Some of the orphans are now learning how to do tailoring and designing. Once a week our member of staff go to Bwafwano to hold a session that has popularly come to be known as nutrition demonstration class where women bring traditional and conventional foods and teach each other how to prepare them nutritiously.
g) Workplace HIV/AIDS Policies: We have trained helped Mopani Copper Mines and Copperbelt Energy to develop their HIV/AIDS policies.
7.0 Possible Areas for Funding
In order to realise the vision of working with communities in order to accelerate their responses to HIV/AIDS and TB, CHEP requires financial support from various financing partner. Here below are some of the key areas for possible funding
a. Community Skills and Capacity Enhancement: Since the out break of the epidemic communities have come up with various reactions and spontaneous responses. In the last five years CHEP has observed the formation of a number of Community Based Organisations. However these CBOs in most cases lack both programmatic and organisational management skills and there is need to enhance that for effective programming.
b. Sustainability of CHEP: Since its inception in 1988 CHEP has relied on donor funding. In the strategic planning workshop which was conducted in 2002 CHEP came up with a feasible sustainability plan of developing a multi-purpose training centre and will offer community development courses, HIV/AIDS prevention courses and various other curriculums in line with bettering people’s lives. It is expected that the centre will generate sufficient money to contribute to CHEP‘s administrative costs , but before that donor support is still necessary in the start up phase
c. Advocacy: HIV/AIDS, TB, Poverty and Children and Women’s rights are Key advocacy issues that CHEP would like to participate into. Funding for advocacy will include skills building and also policy implementation issues.
d. Capital Expenditure: In order to effectively run programmes CHEP requires vehicles, computers and digital still cameras and video cameras. CHEP will welcome donations of these equipments or direct funding to help us acquire them. On utility vehicles and office equipment we have appropriate Tax exemptions that enables us bring them at reasonable cost.
e. Behaviour Change and Life Skills programme: In order to eradicate the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to bring about sustainable livelihood, behaviour change and life skills are necessary both to an individual and to communities. Such programmes need to continue and be accelerated by adopting a community-oriented people level approach. CHEP is more than willing and has the expertise to utilise resources invested in such programmes effectively so that the desired people level impact is achieved
CHEP will continue working with communities through strengthening of their responses, initiatives and best practices. Communities have their own histories of challenges, which provide blue prints of basic response patterns and mechanisms in times of epidemics and pandemics. CHEP also believes that these communities have institutional memories, which provide bridges that help develop response patterns that are consistent with existing community resources.
CHEP believes that these communities already have existing capacities which CHEP can enhance and further strengthen to enable them cope more effectively with emerging challenges from HIV/AIDS and any other current or future pandemics, including their related adverse impacts on the community.