Gender in Local Government Zambia

Gender in Local Government Zambia

Date: October 15, 2013
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This report concerns the Gender Justice and Local Government programme for Gender Links Zambia from August 2012 to March 2013. The work focuses on cascading and strengthening in Zambia of pioneering work on Centres of Excellence (COE’s) on Gender Mainstreaming for Local Government across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region by Gender Links (GL) and local government associations. The report incorporates the analysis of council institutional profiles and projects obtained through the Centres of Excellence (COE) process and the SADC Protocol 2013 summit. The report covers the activities undertaken in 22 councils in Zambia and the activities that Gender Links Zambia has been doing in conjunction with its partners. Contents

Key Facts
Target groups
COE programme
List of Councils
Training of trainers
GBV Indicators work
COE Verification
Country Summit
Emerging evidence of impact
Drivers of Change
Annexure: Analysis of COE gender mainstreaming work
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Key Facts

  • 22 Councils have joined the Centres of Excellence (COE) process; another ten are set to join, bringing the number to 32.
  • The 14 COE councils with gender action plans cover a population of 4,772,544; approximately quarter the population of Zambia.
  • The COE’s include the capital city, Lusaka, the four city councils and the most municipal council.
  • The COE’s cover all ten provinces of Zambia.
  • GL has succeeded in working equally well with the Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) and the Ministry of Gender and Child development (MGCD).
  • Of the 22 COE’s 14 now have and are implementing gender action plans, A full report of the verification exercise and entries to the summit is under preparation.
  • The 14 Councils scored an average of 57% as determined by the Gender in Local Government Score Card at the start of the project. This increased to 67% in the summit held in March. The 53% score awarded by an independent panel of judges is similar to the 70% average score in the verification process undertaken by GL with the Councils ahead of the summit in February 2012. The 10% increase shows that real progress is being made, both from the perspective of the implementers and of independent adjudicators. This progress is evident on the ground; Chongwe a rural Council that won the best overall COE at the Summit.
  • The COE process has resulted in high level political support, across ministries and political parties, as reflected in the high level attendance at the summit.
  • While the new Constitution adopted in March does not include a quota for women in local government as it does for women in parliament, the provisions for gender equality and affirmative action open the door to this being taken up through legislative processes. The Women in Local Government Forum, supported through this grant, is at the forefront of this lobbying effort.
  • GL, with the support of UNICEF through the Ministry of Gender and Child Development will undertake the first national survey of the extent, effect, support and response to GBV in Zambia. This will provide key baseline data for benchmarking progress at local and national level.

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The Zambia Centres of Excellence in Gender Mainstreaming Programme sought to:

  • Raise support for the in-country Gender Justice and Local Government summit in March 2013, leading to the regional summit in April.
  • Raise support for the roll out of the COE’s to at least half of Zambia’s 102 councils by 2015, the deadline for the achievement of the 28 targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. This rollout started with 10 councils in 2010.
  • Popularise and enhance application of the SADC Gender Protocol through the village workshops that accompany the COEs and incorporating its targets in the local action plans in order to increase community outreach and impact of the Protocol@work.
  • Test GBV indicators at the local level and use these to measure the impact of gender and local government initiatives, as well as build up data bases that are used to gauge the level of gender violence at national level. This information is vital for measuring the extent to which countries and communities reach the SADC target of halving gender violence by 2015.

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The COE’s bring together research, policy, action plans, on the job support and capacity building in a unique model that gives local expression to the 28 targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development À“ the sub regional roadmap for MDG 3 (gender equality). As in the case of the MDG’s, these targets are to be achieved by 2015. 22 councils have joined the COE process in Zambia; and an additional 10 have been targeted for October 2013. Click here for a list of the councils that are COEs in Zambia,

GL Zambia is working with the Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) as the umbrella body of all the Local Authorities in Zambia. The just ended 2013 summit has profiled the COE programme in Zambia; strengthened partnerships and garner support for the roll out phase. Combined with the media and alliance networks, a total of 14 winners were awarded certificates for excelling in best practices on gender mainstreaming and will proceed to compete at a regional level.

Prior to the summit GL Zambia undertook an on-the ground verification exercise of the COEs where evidence of progress was gathered and an update scoring exercise done through the local government scorecard. This level of monitoring and evaluation further strengthened through establishing levels of gender violence in each locality using the GBV indicators research pioneered by GL. The verification exercised is benchmarked using the council action plans, which include the gender based violence plans all based on the SADC protocol on gender and development.

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Target groups

The target groups for the programme are the local government councils both district, municipal and city councils in Zambia. Working from the ground upwards has proven the best way to integrate policy and community actions in gender mainstreaming as this is streamlined into the service delivery approach of local government. The programme has raised a critical mass of women and men who are pushing the gender equality agenda in the form of gender champions (the councillors) and gender focal persons (the technical persons). The GBV indicators research targets the entire community at large as the sampling technique that was used is a enumerated representative sample per locality. Women have been targeted in the programme through the person accounts of the action that they are taking at a local level in the form of Women in Politics and Changing Lives stories. These personal accounts have been examples of how the programme is showing impact on the ground.

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COE programme

Zambia is divided into 10 provinces, with 102 councils (22 urban and 80 rural). The COE process has the strong support of the Ministry of Gender and Child Development, and the Local Government Association of Zambia.

Currently, 22 Councils are part of the COE process (see Annex A); two more are set to join and 14 have gone up to action planning stage. The COE approach includes a unique blend of research and evidence, applied to strategies and action planning, with on-the-job capacity building and applied learning, vigorous Monitoring and Evaluation, affirming of good practise, and sharing of learning at the annual summits. Emerging evidence suggests that this is an effective and sustainable model. Learning from the first phase has been incorporated in the second phase that has expanded the original six phases to ten phases. Strengthening of action plans through additional content and practise on climate change and sustainable development; care work and local economic development, and IT skills of councillors will be strengthened as part of the communications component.

Through the COE process, 14 councils have gender action plans, which include gender based violence action plans. The on-the job nature of the COE process has equipped gender focal persons and champions with skills to facilitate some of the COE workshops and to introduce peer to peer learning between councils. Gender mainstreaming is therefore firmly on the agenda of service delivery in these councils. An additional 10 councils are being targeted in 2013 to bring to 32 the number of COEs in Zambia. A challenge with the COE process roll out has been the incorporation of stage 6 (statement of commitment) of the process which councils feel they have already affirmed through the LGAZ MOU.

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Training of trainers workshops

The Zambia model for cascading the COEs

The implementation of the COE activities is beyond the scope of one NGO. It is also not desirable that GL drives every one of the COE stages and therefore ownership is important and this underpins the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between GL, and LGAZ. Skills building and transfer are also essential for sustainability. Gender mainstreaming needs to be embedded within councils and council practise. As such, GL identified two key target groups that participated at the training of trainers.

  • Gender focal points: In Zambia most councils have GFPs and as such, GL took advantage of those already existing structures. The strategy is to identify and use the existing GFPs within each Council who will be tasked with driving the process from within. The GFP’s will receive training in the entire process and will conduct certain key stages, such as the situational analysis. In addition, focal persons from partners would also help in the cascading process.
  • Gender champions: Almost all councils in Zambia have Gender Champions. Each council will identify a gender champion at political level within the Council to be trained in the COE process. The gender champions will have particular responsibility for the SADC Gender Protocol Village workshops and community mobilisation linked to this.

GL and partners conducted the first Training of Trainers workshop on gender mainstreaming in local authorities from the 17À“20 September 2012. GL Zambia hosted the training in partnership with the Local Government Association Zambia (LGAZ), Ministry of gender and Child Development. The participants of the workshop consisted of Gender Champions (GCs) and Gender Focal Persons (GFPs) from existing and new Centres of Excellence (COE) councils, Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Provincial Gender and Child coordinators from the Ministry of Gender and Child Development (MGCD and the Local Government Association of Zambia. There were 33 participants in attendance, 13 men and 20 women. The workshop took place over four days where participants were equipped with knowledge and skills on how to mainstream gender in local authorities’ activities using the ten-stage COE model developed by Gender Links. Participants were also informed of the upcoming national Gender Based Violence (GBV) Indicators project which was aimed at documenting the levels of GBV in the country.

GL and partners held the second Training of Trainers workshops (10 gender focal persons and 2 gender champions) from 25 – 27 March 2013 back to back with the SADC Gender Protocol Summit at Cresta Golfview Hotel in Lusaka. The workshop took stock of the COE process and introduced a component of entrepreneurship training targeted at five councils in 2013. The workshop provided a platform for planning the COE stage workshops for the new councils. The gender focal persons present were equipped with skills to facilitate stages 2 and 3 of the COE process, well stages 7 & 8 of the process will be done by the media facilitator through the media COE process. The focal persons highlighted resource and service delivery challenges. However, as showcased by the summit, councils came up with innovative ways through projects to show that it is possible to mainstream gender despite resource constraints.

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GBV Indicators Research

GL in partnership with Ministry of Gender and Child Development with funding from UNICEF conducted the GBV indicators pilot study in for COEs GBV indicators survey in Zambia. The aim of the GBV Indicators project is to contribute to the reduction of GBV in Zambia by providing data to be used to monitor and evaluate the efforts of government and civil society to halve the current levels of GBV by 2015, as provided in the SADC Gender and Development protocol signed in 2008. In addition to being a key benchmarking tool, the project will help to strengthen the argument for far more efforts to be put into prevention rather than just response; a key lesson from the HIV and AIDS sector that needs to be applied in GBV work. The GBV indicators survey in the four districts and the results was 90% of women have experienced all forms of GBV, this survey will be scaled up with a national baseline to be undertaken in 2013.

Zambia is signatory to and has ratified the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development adopted by Heads of State in August 2008. This unique sub-regional instrument brings together all regional and international commitments to gender equality (including CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action). It enhances these commitments by setting 28 targets to be achieved by 2015. The SADC Gender Protocol is thus a roadmap for the attainment of MDG three À“ gender equality as the MDG targets also have a deadline of 2015. Two key targets of the SADC Gender Protocol include halving gender violence, and achieving gender parity in decision-making by 2015. The sample was predominantly a Zambian sample.

The preliminary findings of the GBV research show that women in Zambia have experienced some form of violence at some point in their lifetime, with varying degrees in each of the four districts. This data provides compelling evidence for the work at local level on ending violence and empowering women. It also provides baseline data against which to measure progress.

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COE Verification

In 2012 Gender Links (GL) undertook its annual verification process. This process is part of the monitoring and evaluation exercise (also known as the stage 9 in the Centre Of Excellence 10 stage process) done by the organization to assess how the councils that are in the COE process are progressing in terms of mainstreaming gender in policies which will result in good service delivery. In Zambia the verification process started off with 3 councils (Kabwe, Kapiri and Chongwe) as well as one non-COE council at the time Chibombo. It has since grown to 14 councils in 2013.

Gender Links Zambia initially identified 3 councils i.e. Kapiri, Kabwe and Chongwe for verification. The criteria used to select the councils was the identification of one council thought to be the best in undertaking COE processes, one council which was moderate and another that was below par judging by the way the Zambia office was working with the councils. The remaining 9 councils were assessed at the Gender Justice and Local Government Summit by which they were judged. This was then extended to all the councils within the COE process in 2013 i.e. Chingola, Chongwe, Kabwe, kafue, Kapiri, Katete, Luanshya, Mazabuka, Monze, Ndola, Lusaka, Mufulira, Kitwe and Kasama.

The process involved councils reviewing their gender score-card (see Annex B 1) for any changes in the score that they were allocated at the previous summit. New councils undertake the scoring to provide baseline scores as part of Stage Two of the Coe process. Councils had to collect as much testimonial evidence as possible e.g.   gender-sensitive housing policy, minutes showing their drive towards a gender responsive council. GL compiled institutional profiles of all the Councils (see example of Chongwe, Annex B2. The full set of institutional profiles can be found in the summit document that accompanies this report. Progress in each council and supporting documents can be found on:

Outcomes of the verification exercise Outputs of the verification
  1. Verified councils had done exceptionally well in progressing with gender issues.
  2. Participants realised the need to be more gender sensitive in their service delivery.
  3. The verification process highlighted the need for councils to come up with more structured monitoring and evaluation tools to complement the existing tools.
  4. Capacitation of GFPs is a necessity as well as having gender inscribed in their job descriptions.
  1. GL collected a sizeable number of files in which councils had evidence of the actual work they were doing e.g. policies, budgets, minutes.
  2. Video footage and photography of COE work being done on the ground.
  3. Institutional Case studies for the 14 verified councils.
  4. Women in politics and changing lives accounts.

Many activities take place during verification, other than just re-scoring the council. GL takes this opportunity to visit some council projects that have been serving the communities. It takes the opportunity to interview some of the beneficiaries of the projects to understand how their lives have been changed by the process. These first-hand accounts/stories (qualitative) are gathered and streamlined into a catalogue on the GL website entitled Changing Lives series which can be found on In addition GL interviews some female politicians within the council under the women in politics series which will again be published on the GL website This year’s verification saw a collection of 11 Changing Lives from 14 councils and 8 women in politics.

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SADC Gender Protocol@Work  Summit

The SADC gender protocol summit took place in Lusaka at Cresta Golf View from the 25th to the 26th of March 2013. For presentations made at the summit please refer to A summary of the summit proceedings and winners going on to the regional summit is contained on this page.

Below are quick facts for the summit:

Total number of participants 111
32 male 79 female
Total number of entries 54
Total number of councils represented 21
Rural 5 Urban 16
Number of provinces represented 8
Total number of ministries represented 1
Number of media houses present 3
Number of judges present 15
Female 9 Male 6
Number of winners 14
Female 12 Male 2
Number of times summit featured in media 4
Number of thematic categories 7

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Emerging evidence of impact

Profile of women in local government: Although women in local government did not succeed in getting a quota for the past 2011 elections, the draft constitution through the Constitution making process provides for gender parity in all public institutions. This opens the door for a quota to be introduced in legislation for the general elections as has happened in other SADC countries, if civil society could begin lobbying the government on the inclusion and implementation for the quota system. What women have gained in this process is high profile and access À“ to the ministers of gender; etc. National Women’s Lobby and WILSA are well placed to carry forward the campaign for a quota, as well as to identify and train women on the ground for political participation.

  1. Overall there is significant progress over the year. These scores are based on 25 indicators of gender responsive governance. They reflect women’s increased representation, participation, and access to resources and services as a result of the COE process.
  2. The Monitoring and Evaluation process is participative; honest and fair. The fact that judges scores are in line with self-scoring in most instances shows that Councils have taken ownership; improved evidence gathering skills and are highly motivated.

Rural councils come to the fore: A significant feature as the programme progresses is the strong showing of rural councils. Chongwe emerged as the overall winner in the 2013 summit. The balance between urban and rural is critical in the Zambian context.

Change reflected in programmes: Projects showcased as summit entries reflect the extent to which Councils are mainstreaming gender in their programmes À“ see examples below:

Summary and analysis of projects emerging from the COEs as evidence

Name of COE Project name and description
Chingola Gender and Good Governance
Chongwe Gender Justice
Kabwe Community development and gender violence through stakeholder networking
Kafue Men participating in Child caring
Kapiri Economic Justice
Katete Addressing GBV through street naming and Road construction
Monze Women’s participation in rural water supply
Luanshya Women empowerment through land allocation and gender awareness
Lusaka Gender equality and awareness through mainstreaming
Mufulira Land allocation to women in the council
Kasama Reservation and planting of trees
Kitwe Climate change and sustainable Development
Ndola Women empowerment through economic, social and political participation

Gender in council budgets:

Annex A shows that as a result of the COE process, councils have specifically designated Kr 230,000.00 for gender projects in the current financial year. The highest is Monze Council (K 165,000.00) allocated by the Council to promote gender equality in the 2013 budget. These amounts are not huge but this shows the commitment by councils to promote gender equality in the council. There has also been a significant change to gender responsive budgeting.

Gender structures established in all COE’s: Emerging gender structures include departmental gender focal persons forming gender committees and feed backing to council committees such as the Health department and human resources department. Councils are also backed by gender champions who are the politicians directly interfacing with people on the ground. It is interesting that some Councils have male gender focal persons as in the case of Chongwe Council and Nakonde District Council,

Gender responsive governance: The overall impact of the COE process is to deliver gender responsive governance, as illustrated in the profile below of Chongwe District Council, winner of the best COE in the 2013 summit:


The COE councils in the COE process serve a population of 4,772,544. The COE process has included 18 SADC Protocol Village workshops giving the community a chance to understand the SADC protocol (see Changing Lives profile below). Cyber dialogues have been held in 11 councils where through the internet, the public participates on topical issues during the 16 days of activism and during the 2013 International women’s day event. The impact of the COE’s on the lives of members of the community is reflected in the “Changing Lives” testimonial evidence being gathered as part of this process.


Although the gender mainstreaming process has been highly successful in local government, challenges include:

  • The limited capacity of councils means that flexibility is required in planning workshops as these are usually spearheaded by the gender focal persons.
  • Councils have been reluctant to sign individual Statements of Commitments. GL has worked around this through MOU’s with the Local Government Association Of Zambia.
  • The limited financial resources limit the extent to which councils can showcase the gender mainstreaming efforts as these are usually allocated small budgets.
  • There is still a gap in aligning national processes with the local actions in the case of constitution making, National action plan and various legislatures.
  • Getting more men involved still needs more efforts but GL Zambia has made strides in a number of COEs.
  • The COE process has high costs and convening the summit increases this costs. Cost cutting measures such as having councils to contribute to workshops and using gender focal persons to roll out has reduced some of the costs. Pre-adjudication and the COE verification exercise provided a pre-summit background on progress made thereby improving the quality of evidence produced during the summit.
  • GL has not always found time to attend partner events; this at times affects partner relations.

Next steps

  • Women in Local Government À“ With the draft constitution having gone through a positive constitutional review process in all the provinces, there is need for women and civil society through the Alliance focal network to begin to lobby the local government structures for a quota for women in local government. The campaign for local government women has been silent in Zambia and there is an urgent need for women to being to lobby for the inclusion of a quota system at local government.
  • Entrepreneurship training À“ With the support of the Netherlands government GL at regional level is designing a next phase of the COE process that involves linking the GBV action plans for councils with local economic empowerment. The aim is to test the linkages between reduction of GBV with economic empowerment of survivors of gender based violence. Target councils for the pilot phase in Zambia include: Lusaka, Kafue, Monze, Katete and Chingola. Women survivors of GBV will be trained in each council and through a monitoring and evaluation framework, change will be recorded at both impact and output level. Through collection of personal accounts of these women (‘I’ stories), documented evidence of change will form part of the monitoring exercise. The programme will make linkages to microfinance institutions and business opportunities.

COE cascading and roll out À“ Following the 2 training of trainers workshops held successfully, the COE programme will be rolled out to a further 10 new councils namely Chilanga, Kalomo, Mongu, Senanga, Mpika, Petauke, Siavonga, Mumbwa and Samfya. These councils will be using the peer learning arrangement as most are neighbours or a rural local of the other. Through the gender focal persons trained in the COE process, it has been agreed that Stages 2, 3, will be facilitated by them, while 7 and 8 be facilitated by the media facilitators through the media COE whilst the rest is handled by Gender Links. This model will increase sustainability and ownership of the COE process whilst at the same time enhancing impact level on the job training.

GBV indicators À“ Gender Links in with the aid UNICEF and in partnership with the Ministry of Gender & Child Development will undertake a GBV Indicators research study meant to assess the prevalence rate of Gender Based Violence in the country. Going forward this report will be essential in helping councils and policy makers including government departments to come up with strategies to help mitigate GBV especially in light of the impending SADC Protocol provision of halving the GBV prevalence by 50%

Download : Progress of COEs
Download : Zambia Gender in Local government report

2 thoughts on “Gender in Local Government Zambia”

Gwendoline Nalili Mwaba says:

Good day, it would be good to have access to the report that includes the other councils that became centres of excellence such as mumbwa.
Kindly applauds the report

Albert Ngosa says:

Many thanks Gwendoline for getting in touch with us. Please view repots on the following link

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