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Anna Tembo


Anna Tembo is 36 years old and lives in the village of Mumbi in Ongolwe Ward, Petauke District, Zambia. She is married to John Chiponya Lungu (39) and the couple have three sons: Moses, Noyah and Mphaso. Like most of the people living in Ongolwe Ward, Anna is a smallholder farmer.

Water shortage is a big challenge for people living in Ongolowe Ward, Petauke District of Zambia. Anna struggled with erratic rainfall, prolonged dry spells and a painfully long journey to collect water and carry home. When the rains finally came, Anna watched as flooding washed away nutrients from the soil and crops and her village became isolated by water. She couldn't grow enough food for her family.

Anna has been working with Send a Cow since 2015. She was sceptical about getting involved, having seen many other NGOs come to the area and go again without leaving a legacy. Anna’s scepticism wasn’t helped by her husband, who disapproved of the amount of time Anna was spending away from home at training sessions. However, it didn't take long for things to change. One of the first training's she took part in was gender development.

“Before Send a Cow it was difficult to share household chores equally with my husband and other household members...There was so much arrogance and ignorance among ourselves in the home. With the coming of Send a Cow and especially the training on gender, we are now better educated to share roles. Now my husband and sons can assist in cooking. I am also more involved in our family business, our grocery shop, and together we buy and sell maize."

Anna has also built her knowledge and skills around water harvesting and sustainable organic agriculture. She no longer needs to spend money on expensive chemical fertilisers and can grow a wider variety of food, even during the long dry season.

Anna’s pride and joy is the stunning keyhole garden that she built next to her house, which soon overflowed with tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, kale and spinach. She is now a peer farmer and shows people around her farm, advising neighbours on the best way to follow in her footsteps.

Anna set up a system for harvesting water from the roof of her house during the rains so that she had enough water to irrigate her plants once the rain stopped. She also built a compost pit close to the house. She was then able to use the water and compost to grow vegetables in bag gardens and re-purposed plastic containers so that she didn’t have to lose any of the land she uses for growing maize.

As well as selling her surplus vegetables and chickens, Anna has taken part in business training and as a result as set up a small shop. Through her hard work and dedication, she is saving money to pay for her three boys to go to school. Once Anna and John saw how well they could provide for their family despite the environmental challenges, they were both convinced that working with Send a Cow would bring long-lasting change to their lives.

We've launched a new campaign to help more people like Anna to make the most of their resources and thrive in challenging environmental situations.