Operation Rice Bowl – Zambia

| February 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

Operation Rice Bowl programs develop communities worldwide

Since 1975, Operation Rice Bowl, the Lenten program of Catholic Relief Services, has helped to improve people’s ability to access food in communities around the world and in the United States. Seventy-five percent of the donations to ORB help fund food security projects around the world, while 25 percent remain in the diocese in which they were collected.

As the official international Catholic relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services works with local, national and international Catholic institutions and structures, as well as other organizations, to assist people on the basis of need, without regard to race, religion or nationality.

CRS development projects include helping farmers improve crop yields, bringing clean water to communities, microfinancing to encourage the growth of small businesses, providing basic health and nutrition services through mother and child health initiatives, addressing the many needs of people affected by HIV and AIDS and providing resources and training for educational programs.

In each issue during Lent, The Catholic Spirit is sharing CRS’ work through a personal story of someone who has benefited from one of their programs and a recipe from a country that agency serves. Vietnam was featured in the previous issue and El Salvador will be highlighted in the next issue.


Spotlight on Zambia

In’utu Kokola and her husband are farmers living in Mongu, Zambia. Recently In’utu Kokola opened a shop in the market where she sells vegetables and corn meal from her farm. She didn’t believe this day would ever come, but it did thanks to a Savings and Internal Lending Community started with the help of Catholic Relief Services. In a SILC, the group saves money and makes small, interest bearing loans together. With her market stall, In’utu Kokola and her husband now have a reliable income to feed their family, buy medicine and pay school fees for their grandchildren. Photo by Kim Pozniak / Catholic Relief Services

My name is In’utu Kokola and I live in Mongu, Zambia. My husband and I are farmers, but we aren’t able to grow enough food on our land to support our family. I was very happy when CRS came to our village and helped us start a Savings and Internal Lending Community.

My SILC group meets every two weeks, and the members put the money they have saved into our bank.

Group members may also request loans to help them start small businesses. They must explain how much money they will need and how they plan to use it, and the rest of the group votes on whether or not to grant the loan.

The loans are paid back with interest, which increases the amount of money in our bank. We keep careful records of how much money each person puts into our savings and how much we loan out.

We also have a “social fund,” from which members can take loans to pay for doctor’s visits for sick family members and other emergencies.

With the loan I received, I opened a shop in the market where I sell vegetables and corn meal. I now have money to feed my family, buy medicine and pay school fees for my grandchildren.

Being part of this SILC group is a really great way for me to provide a better life for my family.


Zambia: Ifisashi

Philip Laubner / CRS

2-3 cups water
1 cup chopped peanuts
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bunches fresh collard greens
or spinach), washed and chopped
Salt to taste

2 cups cooked rice

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot and add the peanuts, tomatoes and onion. After a few minutes, add the chopped greens. Stirring occasionally, continue cooking for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until peanuts are soft and mixture has become a thick buttery sauce.

Serve hot over rice.

Yield: 4-5 servings.

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Category: Featured, Lent