Africare-Zambia helps women to emancipate themselves through a Safer Zambia Program!
Africare has a well acknowledged presence in Zambia for its development work in the sectors of health, agriculture, human emergency relief, water resources and environmental management. For the past thirty years the organization has endeavored to live to its mission: Improving lives, Building futures.
In partnership with Care Zambia, Africare-Zambia has improved many lives, especially women in Central Province through A Safer Zambia (ASAZA) Program. ASAZA is a CARE Zambia led Sexual and Gender Based Violence (GBV) Coordinated Response Program funded by the United States Mission under the Presidential Women’s Justice and Empowerment Initiative (WJEI) and the European Union (EU) grant for the Expansion of the Coordinated Response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Zambia. Other partners in ASAZA include World Vision Zambia, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), International Justice Mission (IJM), Zambia Police – Victim Support Unit (VSU), Child Justice Forum (CJF) and the Ministry of Health (MoH).
The goal of the ASAZA program is to contribute to the reduction of gender based violence in Zambia through the creation of greater knowledge of and changed attitudes about gender inequities, and ensuring that survivors of GBV have access to comprehensive services to meet their medical, psychological and legal needs. The approach to this goal is two-fold: preventive and restorative. Through the preventive approach, ASAZA uses tools of information, education communication (IEC) and behavior-change communication (BCC) to help Zambians reflect on rights, gender and power; and envision and adopt new forms of relationship based on equal dignity rather than subordination and violence. Through the restorative approach, ASAZA is supporting GBV Coordinated Response Centers (CRC) sometimes referred to as one stop centers, at which survivors can access medical help, police services, legal assistance and psychological support.
To achieve its goals and to support national network of safe houses, ASAZA gives sub-grants to various associations and groups, mostly women groups. One such group in Central Province is called Mapalo (Blessing) Club.
Mapalo was started by a group of women in the outskirts of Kabwe town in 1998 when the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic affected almost every household in the village. “We have to come together and do something about this disease,” said Mrs Mumba, the Coordinator of the group. Their primary objective was to take care of orphans by sending them to school. Members in the group believe that education is key to emancipate orphans both socially and economically.
Due to limited resources, this had been a dream until Africare – Zambia sub-granted about $3800.00USD to the group in 2009. With a membership of 20 people, the club has a poultry project with 80 layers and a farm of maize in which they harvest about 30 by 50kg bags. The birds give about two trays of eggs each day. They get more when the weather gets warmer. These eggs are sold and the revenue is used to pay school fees for 24 primary school pupils and three high school pupils. Every month-end, members share a tray of eggs each, and every two months, they pay each about $12USD. The club has also joined a Cooperative that enables them to get farming inputs at a subsidized price.
“Thanks to the sub-grant from Africare, we have been able to significantly reduce malnutrition and famine in our villages, our children go to school, our husbands do not abuse us as they used to because we are also able to provide at home. We dress properly so much so that even when I am in town, my fellow women in town can’t even know that I am from the village.”
ABOVE: Mrs Mumba proudly holding two trays of eggs of tray as other members prepare other eggs for ready market.
BELOW: Mary, the Club Chairperson collecting eggs from the poultry
Photos by: Andrew Chilombo, Africare-Zambia
ABOVE: Mwape at his school, St. Kizito Basic School wants to be a Scientist when he grows up
BELOW: Ireeen wants to be a teacher so that she can help other vulnerable children when she grows up.
Photos by: Andrew Chilombo,
Mwape Daka is a 13 years old boy in fifth grade. In a class of 80 pupils he passed 10 last term. Following the death of both his parents, he moved to stay with his old grandmother together with other 13 fellow grand children. When asked about his dreams and what he thinks about Mapalo Club, he responds:
“I am even late because I should have been in my seventh grade, but my grandmother could not pay for me. I had no shoes and books to use. Then my grandmother went to Mapalo Club to ask for help. I was then enrolled. I want to work hard because I want to be a Scientist because Scientists discover things. After completing school I want to live in town because life in town is better. My brothers can come to live in town with me.”
Ireen Sandala is another beneficiary from the Mapalo Club. She is 12years old. She is a double orphan in seventh grade. She stays with her divorced aunt and six cousins. Ireen is very bright. She came out number two in a class of fifty-eight pupils. She would like to become a teacher when she completes school. She narrates her story:
“Life at home is very difficult. Ever since my parents died, I have never been happy because my aunt is very tough on me. She makes me work so hard and rebukes me a lot. If it were not for Mapolo Club, I would not even be in school. May God bless the women in Mapalo Club. I would like to become a teacher because I like the way that the madam treats and teaches us. She is very kind and would like to be at school all the time. Mapalo Club is indeed a blessing to us.
They even organize Christmas parties for us orphans, the disabled and our grandmothers. The Club pays for my school fees, buys shoes, books, pens and pencils for me. I thank them. I want also to help other orphans when I grow up” .
Mapalo Club provides a sense of hope for a brighter future to the orphans and vulnerable children. It also provides a sense of self-worth to women who, through self-empowerment, are able to resist abuse from their spouses. Mrs Daka, a Club member shared her story:
“Since I joined the club, my husband respects me and does not insult me anymore because he counts on me sometimes to provide food at home. If he wants to go and drink, sometimes he asks for money from me and I give him. He returns calling me, ‘my guardian, my keeper, I love you'. Mapalo Club has been a blessing to my marriage! Many thanks to Africare for supporting us.”