Blesser Breakers' Updates from Zambia

by VManve
Aug 09
We are writing from the lively town of Livingstone, Zambia during our third week of the Blesser Breakers pilot project. As many other companies have experienced, COVID-19 caused a few kinks in our travel plans as we began our trip. Nevertheless, we have all arrived safely in Lusaka and the four of us have been working together, in person, since June 11th, 2022. As we have been settling in, we’ve been guided by our project leader, Wabei Saboi, in navigating the streets of Lusaka and Livingstone, working within the country’s economic system, and understanding the power structures which will support us in empowering 8th-grade girls in Zambia’s public school system.
With support from the Institute for Global Leadership (IGL), the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the D-Prize organization, the Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC), and the Derby Entrepreneurship Center behind us, we’ve connected with Zambia’s Ambassador to the U.S. and Zambia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the 13th of June, we met with the Ministry of Education to discuss our intentions; we are currently awaiting our permit to begin our pilot work in the country’s Western Province, Wabei’s home Province. As newly minted entrepreneurs, this process pushed us in ways that we didn’t expect - we have learned to be patient and persistent in meeting our objectives.
This week, we have been working from hotel lobbies, surrounded by zebras, monkeys, and deeply rich sunsets, on the Derby Accelerator Program! With help from our colleagues and mentors, we are currently navigating the differences between founding as an NGO versus a social enterprise, and we’ve been researching different revenue streams such as grants, philanthropic donations, offering products and even offering our service as a training program which would help us scale our impact at a higher rate. It was a special treat to hear directly from Jack Derby, the namesake of the Derby center, on how to best position our venture for success.
We’ve been loving our time in Zambia: standing up in an open-top jeep, we spotted wild giraffes, hippos, wildebeests, and even an alpha-male white rhino in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park; enjoyed t-bone steak with nshima and rape (collard greens); and hiking to the bottom of the world’s largest waterfall, Mosi-oa-Tunya (a.k.a. Victoria Falls). We are excited for the next phase of our journey, which will be to Wabei’s hometown, Mongu, in Zambia’s West Province.
Thank you to IGL for your continued support during our pilot program!