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Funding secured for project in Zambia

TIMES STAFF WRITER
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Eric W. Cannan's wishes are coming true in Zambia.


The 1999 graduate of Watertown High School has notified family and friends that after more than a year of working in the southern African country on a 27-month Peace Corps assignment, funding for an educational resource center has been secured.


"I just heard the good news today," Mr. Cannan wrote in an e-mail July 2. "So, I am headed out for the long weekend, then I will be back in my village to round up the contractor and the parents teacher association and get things moving."


Describing the next couple of months as daunting, Mr. Cannan said he's excited to take on the challenging project.


"As we are all aware, the dollar is none too strong right now; that coupled with the rising price of cement here will force me to make some changes in the budget," he wrote. "I feel all right about that."


Mr. Cannan wrote that he is confident there is enough "wiggle room" to overcome budget woes.


Since Zambia is in its dry season, he wrote, there are no worries about rain interrupting construction.


No specific construction details were provided in the e-mail.


The Times previously reported, however, that approximately $6,000 in donations was needed to complete the resource center, which will provide workshops and training sessions for teachers.


Mr. Cannan, a 2003 graduate of SUNY Oneonta, is working with the Chongwe District Education Support Team and the Chimusanya Parent-Teacher Association to produce the zonal resource center.


Each of Zambia's provinces is split into educational districts, which then are split into zones. Each zone has government-run schools for grades one to nine and community-run schools for grades one to seven.


Mr. Cannan is in Lusaka Province, Chongwe District, Chimusanya Zone.


The Chimusanya Zone, like the other educational zones, has a government-based head school, of which resource centers are a part.


Mr. Cannan helped lead the effort because general funding for education in Zambia has been reduced. Although the Peace Corps hasn't provided direct funding for the project, the program connected Mr. Cannan with donors.


He said he wanted to thank everyone in the north country who contributed to the effort.


Mr. Cannan is expected to return to the States sometime next year.

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