Zambia Gender Justice and Local Government Summit calls for women’s equal representation; end to gender violence

Date: March 12, 2012
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“365 days of local action to end violence and empower womenÀ
7-8 March 2012 at Cresta Golfview

Lusaka, International Women’s Day 8 March: Delegates to the first Zambia Gender Justice and Local Government Summit have called on the government and political parties to take special measures to increase women’s participation in decision-making and redouble efforts to end gender violence.

At the close of a two day summit that show cased 32 best practices of local efforts to end violence and empower women, delegates expressed dismay that at the very moment that Zambia should be accelerating efforts to meet the 2015 targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, there has been regression on some fronts.

The summit, convened by Gender Links and the Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ), with the support of UNICEF ends with awards to ten individuals (seven women and three men) and organisations who have demonstrated commitment to local action to end gender violence and empower women.

The winners (see Annex A) will go on to the regional Gender Justice and Local Government Summit in Johannesburg from 23-25 April 2012.  

The SADC Gender Protocol, to which Zambia is a signatory, calls for gender parity in all areas of decision-making by 2015. In the last elections, the level of women in politics dropped from 18.2 % to 11%, and of women in local government from 7% to 5.9%. There are only a handful of women mayors and deputy mayors.

“The representation and participation of women at the local level is key to democracy and prosperity,À noted the 74 delegates (23 men and 51 women) from nine (9) local councils around the country. “There are many examples of SADC countries that are redressing the gender gap in politics. We cannot afford to be left behind.À

With its next elections in 2016, Zambia has missed the mark for the SADC Gender Protocol target. But delegates urged that “drastic measuresÀ need to be taken before the 2016 elections to bring Zambia in line with its SADC neighbours. “If other countries can find means to increase women’s representation, it is not beyond our collective will and capacity to do so,À the delegates said.        

Lesotho, which also has a first past the post system, adopted a system of reserved seats for women at the local level in the 2006 elections. Following resistance to one third of seats being reserved for women only, Lesotho changed to the Tanzania model in the 2011 elections.

This allows for open competition between women and men in the constituencies, but adds 30 percent seats that are distributed using the PR system among political parties. While Lesotho experienced a drop from 58% women to 46% in the 2011 elections, this is still close to the parity target. Lesotho has the highest level of women in local government in SADC.

Mauritius, which next to Zambia has the lowest level of women in local government, has adopted a quota for women in the coming 2012 elections. This law resulted in an amendment to the Constitution that has opened the door for Mauritius to become a signatory to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

Another key target of the SADC Gender Protocol is to halve gender violence by 2015.
The Zambia Police Services recorded 8673 cases of GBV in 2010. The Zambia Demographic Health Survey found that 47% of women have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime and 33% in the last year.

“Gender violence is the most flagrant human rights violation in Zambia at the present time,À the delegates noted. “Women cannot be empowered to claim their rights unless we allow them to be making decisions on what concerns them and this means we need to implement the SADC Gender Protocol targets.À

Examples of local level action shared at the summit include HIV and Aids and care work, local economic development, gender based violence (GBV), prevention, support, gender and governance and leadership.

The summit also show cased progress made by the nine Councils that have joined the Centres of Excellence for Gender Mainstreaming programme namely; Chongwe District Council, Kafue District Council ,Kabwe Municipal council, Luanshya Municipal Council.

Others are Ndola City Council, Kapiri Mposhi District Council, Katete District Council, Chingola Municipal Council and Mazabuka, District Council run in Zambia by GL and LGAZ.  

For more information visit the Gender Links website or contact: Faides TembaTemba Nsofu +260 977324500, email:



Category: Projects À“ Gender Based Violence, Prevention
Winner: Vainess Phiri – Katete District Women Development Association (DWDA)
The DWDA provide legal education, psychosocial counselling and advocacy services to abused women in Katete. The judges concluded that the winner’s work was excellent with room to grow in developing tools to monitor and evaluate the project. The project demonstrated community involvement and over time would require increased efforts for men to take part in activities.

Category: Projects À“ Gender Based Violence, Support
Winner: Ackson Habanji – Provincial Government Officer, Mongu Western Province
The winner is at the forefront of holding gender review meetings within provincial government to assess the extent to which Principal Officers in local authorities are addressing gender based violence. This is done against previous action plans submitted by councils. The presenter had many facts at hand. He was able to demonstrate knowledge of the subject area. Going forward the judges pointed out he would need to demonstrate a stronger connection to GBV support. The project’s strength was in the equal involvement of both men and women.

Category: Projects À“ HIV/ AIDS and Care Work
Winner: Theresa Sikunte Chishumba – SWAAZ
In this category the winner has developed several income generating activities that are sustaining the care of those affected by HIV and AIDs for example a dairy that supplies milk products to Parmalat. The judges concluded that this was a good cause that could still had room for the involvement of more people in the community. Her efforts are encouraged as she is supporting orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs) and other physically challenged people in various ways such as providing school fees.

Category: Projects – Local Economic Development
Winner: Sambo Lydia Muvindi – Katete District Council, Senior Livestock Officer
A strategy of mainstreaming gender in the Department of Veterinary and Livestock Development (DVLD) was to empower women through livestock business. This project targets the House Hold and ensures that men, women and youth are involved in economic opportunities. The project has had very good impact as it has been well replicated with good interaction amongst community groups.

Category: Projects – Gender and Governance
Winner: Raymond Hawala – Young Women Christian Association Men’s Network
The Linda Community Husbands carried out a campaign for female candidates. The campaign involved community activists in Linda compound mobilizing voters to vote for adopted female candidates in all the wards in Linda community in the 2011 tripartite elections. The judges described this as a good project that would need to more closely address root causes of gender violence in households and communities as it evolved and grew beyond the 2011 elections.

Category: Projects – Individual Leadership
Winner: Shadreck Mudala Mwiinga – Mazabuka Municipal Council
Former mayor of Mazabuka council supports drama groups who do community sensitization on GBV and other gender related matters. The winner is an experienced leader who needs to build more on team work elements of his work in mainstreaming gender.

Category: Centres of Excellence for Gender mainstreaming in local government/ Institutional
Winners: Chingola Municipality presented by Laura Yumba.
Kapiri Mposhi District Council presented by Chanda Senkwe.
Katete District Council presented by Greyson E L Nkhata.
Three very strong contenders emerged from this category and will take the achievements of their localities to the regional summit in Johannesburg. Judges concurred that all three should be given the opportunity to show case their work amongst other counterparts from the region.


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