Johanna* (Zambia) had grown concerned about the ongoing teen pregnancy crisis along the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Zambia. With some of the other women in Mpulungu, she decided to set up a self-help group for girls.

The group meets every day to do Discovery Bible Study (DBS), learn helpful life skills and support one another. Johanna wanted the girls to do some sort of physical activity as well.

Golden (Zambia), OM’s self-help group coordinator at Lake Tanganyika, said, “She came to one of our team members to ask for a ball, and was given one. Now when the girls meet, after discussions, they also do sports.”

Community transformation

The aim of Johanna's group was to reduce the number of early marriages in the community, and through the sports club — which requires discipline and a significant time commitment — they are seeing changes in the lives of the participants.

“Self-help groups are one of the ministries of OM at Lake Tanganyika that we are using to reach out to the most vulnerable women in the villages around the shore,” Golden said. “We have seen transformation happening in the villages around the Lake through self-help groups.”

Johanna's sports club quickly thrived, winning the Independent Cup for football. Two players were then invited to play for a higher provincial team.

Wider impact

Johanna is one of 10 group facilitators and leads 10 groups of between 12 and 20 members each. There were 138 groups running in the region as of summer 2024. Through the self-help approach, the OM team is finding ways to change their communities, transforming women from vulnerable to equally valued and developing them into respected leaders. 

Changes are not just limited to individuals. The women have also turned their attention to community issues, such as finding solutions for clean water in their villages and supporting new transportation infrastructure, such as a cross-border bridge between Zambia and Tanzania.

Pray for the self-help ministry and the women who lead it. Pray for the impact it has on the women and girls of the villages on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

*name changed