Film: 5613

Education | 1970 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

Film showing how with minimal monetary aid 1970's
African communities can achieve independence and create a profitable existence in rural locations by educating the villagers on methods of farming, manufacturing useful products and creating handicrafts and textiles. The project was coordinated by Austrian Volunteers. Pang'Ono means 'little by little' which is the philosophy of the project, teach people slowly how to improve their lives rather that throw huge amounts of cash at it which inevitably fails long term.
Map showing Zambia and the capital Lusaka. The project is located in a village called Mtowe 300 miles east of Lusaka. Piglets run about in the village of huts with grass roofs. A man pushing a bicycle. The elementary school provided a basic education, but nothing that could be used in the village. A lot of young people migrate to the cities where they often find great hardship, and the elders in the village are left to fend for themselves.
Herding cattle. No machines in the village. Feeding cattle. Austrian volunteers teach wood working techniques. The villagers have a plough but it was broken, volunteers teach the villagers how to fix the plough. They construct a simple charcoal forge, now they can produce metal products from scrap etc. They hammer hot metal to forge into tools. A wooden trailer drawn by oxen, the trailer can be fitted with many different tools to improve the soil and sew seeds and harvest. The soil benefits. The retired headmaster of the school sees many people leave to go to the city. The village water well was polluted with sewerage and pig's manure. The villagers did not know what to do so they waited for the Government to fix it which they did not. Volunteers show the villagers how they can construct a new well. They also teach how to use a loom to weave cotton and make cloth. Village elders were persuaded to give some land to the project so that a woodwork workshop could be built. The villagers are taught to use a lathe so that they can make all sorts of products. They make tools to sort the maize from the husks. Oxen used to pull plough. The village boys are left to break the oxen in, they use food rather than a ring through the cattle's nose to get the animals to do what they want. The oxen follow the boy with the food. They also look to the environment, a tree is left standing as insect eating birds roost in it and they will eat the insects that eat the crop. But the trees that the monkeys like is cut down as monkeys would eat all the maize. Manure from the cattle is turned into the soil to enrich it. All the boys in the village help in the project and nearly all the girls. The girls are taught dress making and they make clothes to order and earn their own money. Of the money raised, a third is used to buy materials, a third invested back into developing the project and the last third is divided amongst the girls. They gain independence. Half the day in the village is spent working on the project, the other half with the villagers so they talk and keep their traditional ways. They teach each other what they have learnt. The villagers skills are needed in the wider communities, soon they are teachers themselves. Traditional dressed African chiefs come to a ceremony where the President of Zambia gives an award to the villagers involved in the project. The villagers have a new self confidence and they plan to build a windmill to irrigate their crops in the dry season. They have produced many sacks of surplus grain which they will sell. Similar projects spring up in other villages but the local people are now teaching themselves as they have learned new skills, a young girl paralyzed from polio has organized a project in her village. Girls make clothes and boys are building a chicken house. A 16 year old boy has learned such good wood working skills he has been able to build his own house. Young people will stay in the village and not move to the city which means the elderly will have support. Two women pound grain with poles while the men sit around. Cattle pulling a plough. Two people digging in the dirt. The windmill has been built and they will have fresh vegetables in the dry season for the first time ever. Villagers are happy. They have completely changed their prospects and increased their standard of living by very little foreign investment but lots of education to help them help themselves. A very positive film (pre-AIDS).


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