Honorable Curren D. Price, Jr, Councilmember, the New 9th District, to his left is Ms. Lidia Mongerie-Brown, Project Director for the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee, and to her left is Dr. Earnestine Thomas-Robertson, Chair of the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee (the First and Oldest Sister City to the City of Los Angeles). (Courtesy photo)

Director, Ms. Lidia Mongerie-Brown was honored on September 8, 2018 at the home of the Los Angeles City Stentorians in Los Angeles. Joined by the Honorable Curren D. Price, Jr. Councilmember, the New 9th District, Committee Members, and other guests with African focused interests, Lidia was presented with a Resolution by Councilmember Price on behalf of the Los Angeles City Council. Ms. Mongerie-Brown also received the highest accolade of the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee presented by Dr. Todd Roberts with Dr. Earnestine Thomas-Robertson, Chair of the Committee.

Between 2011 and 2018 Ms. Mongerie-Brown served four terms as Project Director for four major developments in Lusaka, Zambia on behalf of the LA-Lusaka SCC: The Micro finance Project for Women, Clean Water Project for Families, Youth To School Project for Children, and the Mobility for All Project for Seniors ( which is still in the development phase).

During the four terms, Ms. Mongerie-Brown implemented the Women’s Empowerment Micro Finance Project starting with the “Lusaka Ten”, the first Micro finance group in 2011 to be funded by Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee to either develop and or improve their businesses in 9 contiguous areas of Zambia. This number has now exceeded fifty women and four men in areas such as Chaisa, Mateo, Mongu, Copperbelt, and Kanakantepa.

An original of the “Lusaka Ten”, Ms. Joyce Kausa is one of the Committee’s most outstanding entrepreneurs whose Kantemba (Grocery Store funded in 2011) is located in Kanakantepa. Joyce started at 18 and is now 25 years of age. Along with her husband and two children she has developed an amazing grocery store business. The business has significantly increased brand offerings, product inventory and profits since inception. Another outstanding entrepreneur is Ms. Hellen Chanda. Ms. Chanda’s initial business was a Food Stand at the Tuesday Market Place in Lusaka. LA-Lusaka SCC and the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) augmented Hellen’s resources in 2016 enabling her to broaden the base of her business to include products from Tanzania and South Africa such as apparel, handbags, ginger and garlic. The latter two products are used by local and diverse markets and restaurants.

In partnership with the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU), LA-Lusaka SCC funded a successful Layer Chicken farm, a struggling Goat Farm, several successful agribusinesses, and two very skilled Seamstresses to name a few. With capital paid back from 2016 projects, LA-Lusaka SCC funded its’ first 80 year old entrepreneur. The Committee’s historical age range of individual micro finance entrepreneurs now spans 18 to 80 years of age.

The celebration honoring Lidia also highlighted the implementation of the Chaisa Compound Clean Water Project, funded in 2013 by the LA–Lusaka SCC. This project continues to provide clean water for a number of families in Chaisa Compound. It was designed to ensure that residents had clean water to drink (as opposed to collecting water from a sewage dump and dipping water from wells where the risks of contamination are higher). In 2013 Lidia also carried two small water units to Zambia that are used for small agribusinesses we fund. The next phase of the LA-Lusaka SCC Water Project will usher in a Water Reservoir under the leadership of Dr. Todd Roberts. Water will be provided for more people, create jobs in Lusaka, and integrate the provision of clean environmental considerations such as water, waste treatment measures, irrigation and disease reduction.

On her recent tour Lidia brought the entrepreneurial spirit to Kumwanza Community School, a remotely located school with open space classrooms where nearly 600 students attend. Five of the young teachers earn 5 Kwacha (less than $10.00 a month). To get them started LA-Lusaka SCC invested in the collective of five young teachers. Lidia purchased sufficient nutritional items for a popular/healthy snack product that the five teachers can prepare and sell during breaks throughout the day. The money from sales will go to augment the Teachers’ salaries. That loan will be paid back in two years, meanwhile new self-determined young teacher-entrepreneurs will improve their quality of life.

Prior to leaving Zambia, Lidia met and conferred with Christine Glidden, President/CEO of Women 2 Be, an organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, regarding their endeavor to manufacture products for women that could have great implications for the Seamstresses funded by the LA-Lusaka SCC. This potentially means jobs for our Seamstresses, an important step toward keeping young women in school and spin off businesses for women and men in Lusaka. Women 2 Be has enjoyed success in Nepal, and we believe, in collaboration, we can find similar success in Zambia.

Since 2013, LA-Lusaka SCC covered the cost of school tuition/uniforms and supplies for Four Youth we sponsor. Also covered are costs and provisions for the students daily enchima breakfast meal for each school year. One Kantemba owner funded by LA-Lusaka SCC carries the enchima product and makes a profit from the consistent monthly transaction. LA-Lusaka SSC has created yet another entrepreneur in Lusaka, Zambia while achieving six different objectives simultaneously.

Representing Dr. Earnestine Thomas-Robertson, Chair of the LA-Lusaka SCC, Ms. Mongerie-Brown met with the First Lady of the Republic of Zambia, Her Excellency Esther Lungu, in 2016 and 2018 to advance conversations regarding LA-Lusaka SCC and the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) endeavor to facilitate the potential donation of Fire Apparatus; and also to affirm LA-Lusaka SCC commitment to fund a Water Reservoir in 2019/2020. Such endeavors bode well for great relations, cultural ties, business and economic development and hopes for stronger relations as envisioned and solidified in 1979 by two great Statesmen, the late Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, Honorable Tom Bradley and Founding President of Zambia, His Excellency Kenneth Kaunda.

The Honorable Curren D.Price, Jr. visited Zambia as a college student some years ago. He has been consistently supportive of the Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister dating back to the 1990’s. Lidia was thrilled by the Resolution presentation signed by the Los Angeles City Council President, Herb Wesson and all Councilmembers of the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles-Lusaka Sister City Committee is especially proud of the work Ms. Mongerie-Brown has devoted to our Sister City. Her work has been genuinely joyful with tireless enthusiasm enabling transformative development projects in our Sister City of Lusaka, Zambia, the First and Oldest African Sister City to the City of Los Angeles.