Joseph Mulonga-Zambia

Joseph Mulonga-Zambia

Date: June 30, 2015
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Joseph Mulonga was born in the early 1960s and was raised on the Copperbelt. He is a qualified Reverend and also councilor for Luano ward in Chingola. The Chingola Municipal Council works in partnership with Genderlinks (GL) towards engendering local government structures. The council works with other to foster development. The Council invited Joseph to a gender workshop organized by GL and that’s how he met GL in Zambia. Here is Joseph’s story.

“I became involved in gender issues when I was invited to a gender summit by GL while studying for a Degree in Theology. The summit was organized by GL but hosted by Chingola Municipal Council. I represent the people in my community at government and other stakeholders meetings. I also present their views on ways to make their lives better. I represent the ward at different forums and meetings at the district council including those organised by GL through established programmes at the council. My career is challenging as I am serving a highly underdeveloped area that is lacking adequate social amenities like Health and Education

I first heard about Gender Links (GL) through different literatures and publications. I was invited to attend a summit in Johannesburg and that’s when I met GL. My journey with GL has had several great moments, the most memorable moment being the experience at the summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. I learnt a lot from the many women leaders from government and religious sectors in South Africa, it made me realise how much women in Zambia needed to be empowered. It was sad to realise how ignorant we are about gender equality, but it was a memorable moment because I discovered where I want my country and its women to be.

I got copies of several documents among them the SADC Protocol and brochures on COE for gender in the media and gender and Media Diversity Centre.As a result, interacting with GL during various workshops and meetings has helped me adopt several ideas about gender. My view and understanding of gender has changed. I have learnt the essence of a woman in society and that man’s views towards women are just socially ascribed. The majority of the Zambian population are women hence; development will only happen if women are empowered so that they can make a more meaningful contribution to the economy.

I commend GL and the country manager for the efforts in ensuring that gender is mainstreamed in the local government. Information and tools provided by GL have proven useful. Tools like the local government scorecard have been helpful in measuring the council’s progress towards gender mainstreaming as the council is in the process of developing its own monitoring and evaluation tools.

I now view my position in society as a way of evangelising and helping people in my community. I use my position to influence gender sensitive decisions through various works that I do. For instance, when the government allocates funds to the Chingola municipal council to dig trenches along the roads, I ensure that women are not left out and at least 50% of workers employed are women.

Previously I had considered issues about gender as being unacceptable in the religious circles but as I interacted with gender committees at the council and gender focal persons in the community I realised it was a cross cutting issue and religion was no exception. Gender based Violence is no longer a family issue, whenever a case is reported I try to address it as a clergyman and gender advocate and I then report it to the relevant authorities. Keeping records of all cases I address has helped in tracking the number of cases reported to the court and those that are sorted out by family members. Even though most cases are resolved outside court it is impressive to note that the number of reported cases is rising compared to the number of unreported GBV cases.

I have gained several skills, attitudes, knowledge and values through GL. I am now able to advocate for Gender equality a skill I learnt during the 16 days of activism held in Zambia last year. I encourage women with language barriers and those without public speaking skills to provide ideas in their local languages so that the community may benefit from their ideas. I now acknowledge women better in all sectors of society spiritually, politically and socially.

This change can also be attributed to my personal relationship with other women in leadership positions like female councillors and council female directors as they have been good examples of women’s capabilities.

My only hope to see a future where more women can lead in the spiritual and religious sectors like it is in South Africa. I want more women to be vocal and active in national issues like Prof. Nkandu Luo, Sylvia Masebo and others. It is time the church revisits some scripture verses so that women and girls are educated by the interpretation that demand a women to submit to a man so that we all realise humans are equal regardless of sex and gender.



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