Nancy Malwele – Zambia

Nancy Malwele – Zambia

Date: June 30, 2015
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My journey with Gender Links (GL) started in 2012 after I was invited to attend one of its events during the annual 16 days of Gender Activism. The invitation came through my boss but maybe, for obvious reasons of being a female reporter, I was selected to go and attend the training which was held at Zamcom Lodge in Lusaka.

The most memorable experience with GL was when we had a media field trip to Kafue’s Shimabala area where I had an opportunity to interact and later to interview Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors who shared their experiences and challenges about gender in their area. During the visit to Shimabala, I discovered how women are vulnerable to GBV, yet most of them do not know their rights. Even when they have made a little positive step by reporting perpetrators of GBV to the police (most of them relatives), they end up withdrawing such cases.

It makes my heart sad because most of the women who withdraw cases, have but one common reason of the perpetrators being their breadwinners. They think they are their economic pillars and cannot do without them.

I met a young lady of Shimabala in Zambia compound whose father had been sexually abusing her for some time and neighbours were aware of her ordeal but no one could report the matter to the police. Looking at the physical appearance of her father, the girl could have been infected with the virus that cause AIDS, HIV.

I work as a reporter at New Vision Newspaper; my work involves gathering news stories. Being the only female reporter in the newsroom was not easy at first but I have come to realise that we are equal. My job has made me interact with a lot of people with different cultures and beliefs, and I feel blessed because I learn new things on a daily basis.

My first encounter with GL was during the 16 days of activism, and I have attended several trainings which were facilitated by Gender Links staff. I felt nervous at the first meeting in preparation to the 16 days, and I was not sure of what to expect, but attended the meetings with courage. The following year in 2013 we travelled to Chibombo, and my interaction with GBV survivors who were mostly women made me realise that a lot still needs to be done in terms of sensitization, and there are few cases of men being reported to the police. I was delighted to learn that one man from Chibombo came out and reported his wife in a case of abuse and it was unfortunate that I never had chance to interact with him on a personal note.

Through the meetings, I realised that there was plenty of knowledge I needed to know and understand about gender and how best to report on gender related issues. My experience with GL has been very helpful to my work and as a person. GL has made many women and men to come out and report cases to Victim Support Unit (VSU). I had a chance to interview some women who were very willing to talk and share their stories with me. The unfortunate part is that few men from the community attend trainings.

The things I have learnt from attending the 16 days of activism every year is the importance of gender equality and a lot of issues that come to light that I never imagined. I have also realised that I am a change maker and the amount of information I have gained is enormous.

Through GL, I am able to ensure there is gender mainstreaming in my news pieces unlike it was some time back and I appreciate for that. I used to think that gender is all about women but I have come to realise that it involves both sexes.

GL has also shaped me from the person I was to the person I am today and my future plans is to ensure that I influence more men to report cases of abuse and to ensure that other people’s lives change for the better.

Change can be brought about if both men and women involve themselves on the issue of gender.


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