Traditional leaders, government entities and communities of Kapiri Mposhi, Lundazi, and Mumbwa districts have welcomed the project to fight gender based violence (GBV) in their areas using a community-led approach, funded by the European Union.
The project titled Increasing Access to Justice in Rural Areas for Gender Based Violence seeks to align traditional practices to national Anti-GBV laws. This process requires continuous engagement with traditional leaders, which shall culminate into a code that the chiefs will sign as a show of commitment to abolishing harmful cultural practices that promote or cause GBV in their chiefdoms.
Additionally, the project will address gaps in service provision in rural areas to survivors of GBV by training community members in counselling and legal right regarding GBV. This will assist in the immediate need for victim services in rural areas while helping to spread education to rural communities on what gender based violence is, and what can be done to eradicate it. The volunteers becoming paralegals and counsellors will collaborate with the nearest Zambia Police Service Victim Support Unit, but in most cases the police are not near the villages, which necessitates the option to immediately access GBV professionals in their own community.
The process to engage traditional leaders and train community members in the named districts has commenced with the next phase, undertaking the “train the trainers” model where citizens are given skills that they can eventually pass on to others in advanced stages.
Women for Change’s approach under this project of increasing access to GBV also includes raising awareness in communities on what constitutes GBV, how justice can be delivered, and how communities can discard harmful cultural practices that cause violence, inequity, and discrimination in their homes and communities.
In addition to community-led sensitization meetings, WfC will build capacity of communities by recording audio material for airing on community radio stations in local language in order to improve education around GBV.
At the end of the project WfC hopes to increase the capacity of 40 area associations (comprised of ten community groups, each comprised of ~50 members) and 180 traditional leaders to address GBV in their communities . Additionally, WfC will work towards ensuring that 9 chiefdoms in 4 districts adopt new anti-GBV measures.
The project in Lundazi is being spearheaded by Mr Chris SIngelengele, Mr Alfred Simaye in Mumbwa and Harriet Sichone in Kapiri Mposhi District.