It started with a $500 humanitarian project to purchase two sinks for a pediatric ward at a Zambian hospital.

Seventeen years later, Rotary District 5650 has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars – $423,000 in grants alone – in its Zambia Project to secure viable water sources so women don’t have to walk so far to get water. The project also oversees efforts to combat malnutrition and enhance economic development.

Outside knowledge, skills and resources are the catalyst, but Zambia Project co-director and social worker Mumba Chisebuka said empowerment is the ultimate goal to assure workable solutions for rural Zambians.

“When you empower people, issues like nutrition and water can be resolved,” she said. At the same time, she realizes resources are limited, so they need to be used in the wisest way.

Born in Zambia, Chisebuka brings 15 years of experience working with health care programs and community development, including agricultural sustainability and poverty reduction. Her connections are valuable to the project, shared Zambia Project co-director and Lincoln East Rotary member Charles Erickson.

Although not from the current project area, Chisebuka has visited there. She and Erickson have been collaborating since 2016. Currently, she and her children are residing in Lincoln with her husband, Dr. Peter Julius, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln research fellow.

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