Florence Katunansa – Zambia

Florence Katunansa – Zambia

Date: June 30, 2015
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Florence Katunansa is a 33 year old lady who joined the Chibombo District council in 2010. She was employed as a bar tender at a council guest house, and was later promoted to a clerk. “I was happy when I was given the opportunity because the love of alcohol almost messed up my life.” She says working as a bar tender was a challenge, but she got the job because she wanted to have her own income. Not that she was single; she was married with two beautiful children. Her duty as Assistant Clerk Officer includes filling documents, receiving and sending mail, dispatching local notices and performing other duties assigned to her by her superior.

“As Chibombo District Council, we represent the community, and provide services to the local people,” she said. When providing services both women and men benefit; she learnt the importance of gender when she attended the COE workshop in December 2012. That was a rare opportunity in life. “I was just a bar tender yet I was given a chance to learn and have the knowledge that I have today,” she said. Since then she became a gender activist. She sensitised customers on gender based violence; some women shared their stories of how men refused to use condoms during sex. She would talk to men and encourage them to allow condoms. One thing she never tolerated seeing older men with young girls. The policy was not to allow anyone under age at the bar. She would talk to the girls make them go back home, and also talk to the men who only used them for sex. Indeed, she was able to see changes in the community, and she was glad she did not keep the knowledge to herself.

She believes work around gender starts at home. Before, she did not want to see her son cooking or cleaning plates. She allowed her son to go and play whilst her girl was doing house chores, but after the workshop her attitude changed. She said with loud laughter, “all animals are equal.”

She is able to go into the community, and sensitise people on gender based violence and the importance of gender equality. She says a majority of women have been physically, emotionally and spiritually abused, yet they did not know where to report such cases. They are now aware that such cases are handled by a victim support unit, and the police. Another area of her work is condom use. She says women are vulnerable to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, because men do not accept condoms. Through sensitisation, pepole in the community work together to fight against gender inequality and gender based violence. The challenge is that many people do not want her to talk about condoms. She says others joke about it, and vow not to be with women who insists on using condoms. Others say it’s a “taboo.”

Her most memorable experience at work was when she was accorded an opportunity to participate in the gender links COE workshop. The knowledge she acquired has enabled her to save lives of vulnerable young girls and women. She now understands the 28 targets of the SADC protocol. Her future plan is to lead more activities on gender. She wants to be a facilitator, and ensure other peoples’ lives change like hers did. She wants to develop a system within the council to keep gender disaggregated data.


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