The Livingstone Youth Football Academy (LYFA) in collaboration with the ATD Foundation have embarked on a project called football for hunger relief.
The project is aimed at providing assistance to households most affected by the hunger crisis which is as a result of drought in some parts of Zambia. Southern Province is one of the most affected areas by the drought that has left households that are dependent on maize (rain crop and staple food) to face a hunger crisis as a result of little or no yields from the just ended farming season.
The LYFA surveyed three villages namely; Simoonga, Liyemo and Sekute Resettlement Scheme as likely targets for the relief food. The Academy committee chose Sekute Resettlement Scheme as it was the furthest from the main road (27Km) and residents are unable to trade or access assistance easily. The community does not have adequate social amenities and has almost depleted the livestock population that provides some relief.
Data was collected within Sekute, and from 224 households affected by the hunger crisis, 348 infants under age 12 are at risk of starvation. 69 households with a combined 340 dependents are under the care of seniors over the age of 65 who are not as fit to do farm work in order to provide for their families.
The Academy paid a second visit to the village but this time to deliver some relief maize meal. Over 300 people turned up to receive relief food and over 1000 people benefited and will have sustenance. The village headman and councilor representative was present at the distribution of relief food and expressed their joy.
As part of the distribution program, a friendly football match was played between the LYFA senior boys’ team and Sekute Central Football Club which ended in a goal less draw. The LYFA also took the opportunity to deliver an HIV Prevention and family planning session which was delivered by peer educators from the academy. This was an extraordinary session as it was delivered in Chitonga and Chinyanja. Many of the residents had questions to ask and where empowered with important information on HIV prevention and family planning.
The Academy is still looking at other areas in need of support and has located Nakawa village as the next area to be visited with relief maize meal.
By Kennan Zulu