Zambia Archives - Earth Charter

“Seeds of Hope” Exhibition in Zambia empowers positive change

Seeds of hope Zambia“Everyone of us can make a difference!” was the motto of last month’s three-day exhibition “Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps Toward Change”, organized by Soka Gakkai International of Zambia (SGI-Zambia) in cooperation with Earth Charter International at Mulungushi international conference center in Lusaka, the Capital City of Zambia.

Nearly 1000 participants of all age groups, learned about current global issues and the principles of the Earth Charter. The exhibition pointed out our interconnection with the broader community of life and sought to empower viewers with a sense of their own potential to make a positive change. Participants were so motivated by the messages that many vowed to continue supporting the Earth Charter and SGI, and to do something over the environmental degradation after listening to the presentation of the contributing Grassroots Trust organization.

Their pledges, written on pieces of papers, were stacking on a board.  Even a nine-year-old boy pledged to help his community end illiteracy when he finishes school.
Participants left the venue asking when the next program would be held and urged COPE-Zambia to start a University Earth Charter group which they committed to.

COPE-Zambia is currently creating an Earth Charter School Network in Zambia with other schools from around the world committed to fostering Sustainability. The aim is to create an interconnected foundation of young people who are prepared for global challenges and able to live and promote the Earth Charter and its values, ethics and principles.

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COPE Project actions in 2014

Community Action on Poverty and Environment (COPE) Project, which started in 2009 as an initiative between two Earth Charter Affiliates, continues to be active in promoting direct actions to solve some pressing issues in Zambian rural communities.

One activity in 2014 was to hand out solar powered lanterns (Luci) to older girls preparing for their final exams in Mwachilele Primary School . Girls have a much tougher life in Zambia than boys, since they do all the chores. With these lanterns, the Project hopes that girls will have more time at night to study.

Find here a video when the lanterns where handed out:

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Actions of COPE Project in 2011

The Zambia Community Action on Poverty and Environment project (COPE in short), is a joint venture between two affiliates of the Earth Charter Initiative: the Workers` Education Association of Zambia (WEAZ), and the Earth Charter of United States (ECUS).  This project has been active since 2009, implementing activities that aim to translate the principles of the Earth Charter into specific actions that promote values of respect of nature, and bring about changes in production and consumption patterns.

Currently, COPE is working with rural multi-purpose cooperatives in three rural Districts in Zambia ; Chongwe, Mansa and Zambezi.  COPE project has been implementing hands on training actions in these communities, where around 370 people benefited, 200 of them women.

The trainings have focused on teaching how to build ecodome dry toilets, how to run a credit and savings business for cooperatives, how to test water quality and purify it, how to use solar energy for cooking, and have helped youth activists learn about gardening.

The following are specific results of this project in 2011:

  • People from Chongwe learned how to build ecodome dry toilets.
  • Members of Kakomwe cooperative had the opportunity to learn how to run a credit and savings business, how to track loans and improve loan performance, how to organize official meetings.  This training was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
  • Members of St. Kizito Catholic Church Cooperative received the training on credit and savings schemes, but their training included sessions on ethics for sustainability with the Earth Charter.  They learned these principles with hands on activities, for example they were taught about how to test water quality and purify it; how to use solar energy for cooking and how to build dry toilets.  A strong component was given on promoting a sense of care to all living beings.
  • The project sent an Earth Charter youth activist to a training in gardening in South Africa. This youth will train members of local cooperatives to grow cash crops in the future in order to reduce dependence on import food or forest products.

In addition, members of WEAZ reached out to the Ministry of Education to discuss how best the Earth Charter could be implemented in Zambian schools. They met with the Permanent Secretary who admitted that it is not easy for a Government Agency to endorse a full declaration, but he agreed to focus on a selection of relevant Principles (the chosen ones are:3, 8, 9, 13, 14). 

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New photos about COPE project

This link contains a slide show with photos about the new activities of COPE project, carried out by members of Workers Education Association of Zambia and Earth Charter US.

You can read more about this project objective’s and actions in previous related articles (find links below in this page).


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Zambian and EC US affiliates' partnership

We started with a simple question: can rural poverty in Zambia be eliminated in one generation sustainably, without going through a carbon based economy?

Guided by the principles of the Earth Charter, Victor Phiri, National Coordinator for the Workers Education Association of Zambia (WEAZ), and George Sherman, Board member of Earth Charter US (ECUS), developed the COPE Project. COPE is an ambitious 20 year plan to eliminate rural poverty by creating a Contentment Economy based on the traditional cultural practices of the villages. Key to eliminating poverty is the elimination of health problems through sustainable methods. Thus, the project initially focuses on solar and fuel efficient cooking, water purification, and waterless toilets.

The extra time and energy people have due to more health and less labor intensive practices can be used in any other way the people choose in accord with their traditional cultural practices. This will include education for young girls, women’s social groups focused on crafts or micro lending, expansion of small scale agriculture, and the stimulation of small scale local economies based on supplying the technology for the cooking, water, and toilet aspects. Each village is trained in all details of the project, and all that is required is that they agree to train a new village each year. And each year each new village agrees to train another village.

The first two phases have been completed. One village has been trained, along with trainers from WEAZ, in the construction and use of solar cookers, water testing and water purification. A second village has been trained in the construction of waterless toilets. In the next phase, both villages will receive training in other technique. Thus, in 6 months, both villages will be ready to use the entire COPE Project, and begin expanding to other villages around them. So far, the trainings have been far better attended, and included far more women, than originally expected. Also, the members of the villages are acutely aware of how the project can help them break the cycle of poverty that damages the dignity of their lives. By using only local people to run the project, COPE costs only a small fraction of the amount normally used by an NGO, and the Project avoids the suspicion of outsiders trying to tell local people what to do. Total costs are not yet determined, but so far the entire project, which is funded by ECUS, is less than $10,000.

Find here a slide show on the work done on waterless toilet construction at Chongwe communit. 

Ordinary people to ordinary people, joining across an ocean, united by the principles of the Earth Charter, without the intervention of governments or international NGO’s, the COPE Project aims to create a new development model to accelerate the elimination of rural poverty.

For more information, contact George Sherman,, or Victor Phiri, You can see updates at

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EC Affiliates from Zambia and USA are joining efforts to fight poverty and global warming

The COPE Project is a joint venture between Earth Charter US and the Workers Education Association of Zambia, both are affiliates of the Earth Charter Initiative.  The aim is to move rural people from poverty to contentment without going through the carbon economy.  They are using the Earth Charter Principles to guide their actions.


The project focuses on three main areas,

    1. reducing reliance on wood and charcoal for cooking, by using solar cookers and Rocket stoves

    2. water pasteurization, using solar cookers and filters

    3. sanitation, using waterless toilets


The implementation of the project will free the rural people from the energy drain of chronic illness and the environmentally destructive practice of gathering wood.  This will free up time for more constructive and productive uses of their time and energy, which the villagers decide how to use, according to their cultural customs and inclinations.


Victor Phiri, the Project Manager for WEAZ, has spent the last two months flying to Kenya and Namibia to gain training and expertise in our project tools.  George Sherman, Board Member for the Earth Charter US, has been providing logistical support from the US.


In October Project COPE is bringing together the WEAZ trainers, experts from Kenya and Namibia, village elders and the Chiefs of the two target villages, and interested villagers for intensive 4 days trainings.  During that time, Victor Phiri will also be teaching the Principles of the Earth Charter.  Once the training is completed, then the implementation phase will start.


During the implementation phase, people in the villages will begin to spread the technology to others.  People who in the past were paid for charcoal, a time consuming and environmentally destructive form of cooking fuel, will now be paid for teaching how to use Rocket stoves and solar cooking, preserving and enhancing local economies.  Similarly, others trained in making the stoves, toilets, and pasteurization tools will be marketing these to the villagers.  As the villages begin to realize the benefits with additional time and energy, young girls will be encouraged to go to school, and older villagers will be helped to channel their new found energy into whatever productive projects they are interested in, such as micro finance, Fair Trade coops, alternative energy consortiums, or health projects.

Click here to see more photos of this project’s activities.

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