Zambia, a Low and Middle Income (LMIC) ‘land-linked’ country has a long history of hosting refugees from neighbouring countries. An innovative Local Integration national programme seeks to resolve long-term refugees’ dependency on aid by offering them land to farm and integrating them into Zambian host communities . However, extreme poverty is pervasive, particularly in rural areas, where climatic changes have affected crop yields and an estimated 2.3 million people are presently facing severe food insecurity in Zambia.
Z-lab will address some of challenges faced by resettled communities, such as soil degradation, reliance on expensive fertilisers and seasonal cash crops, food losses related to lack of storage or food processing and damage during transportation, in one of the two officially designated refugees’ settlement areas in Mayukwayukwa (Kaoma district, Western Province).
The project will take advantage of a newly built workshop in Mayukwayukwa resettlement as a physical space as a ‘Living Lab’ to organise a co-creation workshop during which Z-lab partners from academia, United Nations Development Programme, third sector and social entrepreneurs with diverse engineering expertise will co-design solutions with local stakeholders. Potential solutions such as rainwater harvesting, vertical gardening, aquaponics, solar drying and plant-based packaging will be developed through rapid prototyping with locally available materials. This co-design process should encourage local ownership of solutions and anticipate issues with maintenance and repair.
Below are some pictures from our field visit: