An assessment of transformative learning programme in Nkonkola Community in Mazabuka District

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Muvwema, Habeene Cornelius
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This study that assesses transformative learning programme was undertaken among Nkonkola community members of Mazabuka District in Southern Province of Zambia. Nkonkola community is approximately 140 square kilometres, but sparsely populated due to the hilly relief. The study had four objectives: to assess participation of community members in civic, religious and communal activities before and after the programme that used transformative learning strategies; to establish the levels of participation in developmental activities among the community members before and after the programme that used transformative learning strategies; to compare the participation of females to males in civic, religious and communal activities before and after the programme that used transformative learning strategies; and to determine the effects of transformative learning strategies on community members’ attitudes and perceptions towards community participation. Data were collected from a total number of 166 respondents. Out of 166 respondents, 76 underwent training in transformative learning strategies, 84 were residents of Nkonkola community for a periodof not less than 5 years and 6 were implementers of the training progamme from Women for Change. Out of 76 respondents that underwent training 47 were females and 29 were males and out of 84 respondents that were residents of Nkonkola for a period exceeding 5 years, 33 were females and 51 were males. From 160 respondents each sex contributed 80 persons who were selected using systematic sampling. The 6 additional respondents who were Women for Change personnel were selected using purposeful sampling procedure. Data were collected using: researcher administered semi-structured questionnaires, observations schedule, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. The study revealed that Nkonkola community was actively participating in a number of communal activities such as livestock rearing, poultry keeping, bee keeping, gardening, carpentry, and tailoring after intervention with transformative learning strategies. Furthermore, the study discovered that there were changes in people’s perspectives, worldviews, confidence and self-esteem. The community exhibited high levels of participation in terms of social mobilization, community development, and civic awareness and above all community participation. Individuals in the community started mobilizing themselves in small groups and started doing communal activities such as gardening, livestock rearing, bee keeping, poultry rearing, pottery making, tailoring and carpentry. The study also revealed that community members still wanted to be empowered economically despite acquiring substantial knowledge of how to sustain their livelihood. Many individuals in the community measured change in terms of economic well-being and not social well-being (change of attitudes, perspectives or worldviews). Therefore, transformative learning strategies succeeded in changing the some social problems the community was experiencing through promotion of cooperation and enhancement of participation levels in the community. The study recommends that in order to sustain the increased participation and cooperation, Women for Change and other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) involved in transformative learning programmes should approach change holistically so that it occurs at both individual as well as communal (societal) levels.
Transformation learning-Mazabuka, Zambia