In Zambia, we are offering hope for women and girls who are the victims of gender-based violence
The statistics on gender based violence (GBV) in Zambia are shocking.
According to one survey, 47 per cent of Zambian women have experienced some form of sexual or physical violence since the age of 15 (Zambia Demographic and Health, 2007).
Most violence is at the hands of a current or former husband or partner. Other violence is perpetrated by a sibling, father or step-father.
USPG is supporting the Gender Justice Project, which is run by Zambia Anglican Church Outreach Programme (ZACOP).
The programme is aiming to reduce women’s vulnerability and GBV in three areas within the Diocese of Luapula, namely Senama and Mulala in Mansa District and Chipili in Chipili District.
The programme is increasing knowledge and changing attitudes and practices that perpetuate GBV. It is also improving and promoting access to GBV services and empowering GBV survivors through training in entrepreneurship skills and legal rights.
There is also an emphasis on supporting girls and, in particular, improving enrolment and retention of girls in schools.
Factors influencing gender-based violence
A number of factors that influence gender-based violence are being addressed by the Zambia programme, including:
- Providing information: women will be safe if they are equipped with more information about their rights.
- Overcoming stigma: women need help in overcoming the embarrassment of speaking out when they are victims.
- Financial insecurity: some women fail to speak out because they fear their husbands will be imprisoned, which means family income will drop.So, women need to have better access to income and property.
- Challenging negative stereotypes against women that leave them susceptible to mistreatment.
- Encouraging positive male role models to step forward. Young men need role models who support women and treat them with respect.
The Most Revd Albert Chama, Archbishop of Central Africa, said: ‘We need to support women all the way until the goal of equality is achieved in all spheres of life: education and property ownership.
‘We have to be vigilant and make sure that the voice of the Church is heard when we speak on behalf of the downtrodden.’
Local community-led development
We are working with the Zambia Anglican Council (ZAC) to support community development in Zambia’s five dioceses.
The development work is community-led, using a technique known as Church and Community Mobilisation Process (CCMP). The process is supported by local churches. Facilitators bring the community together to discuss their needs, identify local skills and resources, and devise an action plan to make a difference.
Fran Mate, USPG International Programme Manager, said: ‘The aim of CCMP is to empower communities transform their situation in a holistic manner using the God-given resources within their reach.’
The first stage of CCMP involves running workshops to inspire members of the community and encourage them to ‘dream dreams’.
To date, CCMP in Zambia has inspired a wide range of income generation, such as poultry farming, action on gender issues, and ecumenical work among churches.
Training leaders in development skills
We are supporting the training of ordained and lay church leaders in development skills so they can better support communities as they seek to tackle issues such as poverty.