The Church of the Province of Central Africa : Gender Justice Project, Zambia

THE CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF CENTRAL AFRICA: GENDER JUSTICE PROJECT, ZAMBIA

The Church in Zambia launched this four-year programme with USPG’s support in 2016 and it had been involved in combating gender-based violence since 2012. The programme is based in the diocese of Luapula in the north of Zambia and focuses on three towns in this diocese: Senama and Mulala in Mansa District, and Chipili in Chipili District. Its objectives are: to help reduce gender-based violence, to get more people to report it when it happens and to mobilise men and young people to be advocates for gender justice.

The church ran a range of educational and awareness-raising activities in all three towns. Tee shirts with anti-violence slogans and booklets explaining human rights were printed and handed out to people. Drama groups put on sketches discussing the issue. Men and young people were encouraged to become advocates for gender justice. The church provided counselling services for both female and male survivors of gender-based violence; more than 3,000 people benefitted from this service. The church also provided 600 adolescent girls with basic financial and health education. Priests encouraged the lay leaders in their churches to keep talking to their congregations about the evils of gender injustice.

As the programme draws to its conclusion in 2020, the Zambian Church is hailing it a success. Communities in the three towns covered have all seen an improvement in both the response to and prevention of gender-based violence. Survivors of gender violence now have increased assets and many are self-reliant. The Bishop of Luapula, the Rt Rev’d Robert Mumbi is now known as the champion of gender justice. The programme has since been replicated in communities outside of the three towns it ran in initially.

The Church of Zambia strongly believes that all the programme’s positive outcomes will continue long after it has officially ended.