TISUNGE ANA ATHU AKHAZI COALITION [TAAAC]
Promoting Rights of the Girl Child
Tisunge Ana Athu Akhazi Coalition [TAAAC] is an umbrella organization consisting of nine partners all working to fight sexual violence against girls in Zambia. The coalition was formed following a case of a 13 year old girl who was defiled by her teacher. The case, code named the RM case, was successfully defended by lawyer Kelvin Bwalya of K.B.F chambers and the High court ruled in favor of the girl on June 30th 2008.
TAAAC joins the rest of the world to celebrate the 16 days Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV) which falls between November 25th -December 10th.
It is sad to note that this year’s celebrations occur at a time when cases of defilement have continued to rise according to statistics from the Victim Support Unit (VSU) which indicate that the cases have risen from six hundred and ninety six (696) in 2007 to one thousand two hundred and twenty four (1,224) in 2008, rising further to one thousand six hundred and seventy six (1,676) in 2009. The risks and consequences of HIV/ AIDS infection, unwanted pregnancies, physical and psychological trauma should draw attention to this silent emergency.
Child sexual abuse is a public health and a human rights problem that can no longer be ignored. We observe that there is no safe space for adolescent girls. Defilement takes place in homes, schools, churches and in the communities.
TAAAC is also concerned that there are no adequate national laws enacted to address Gender Based Violence despite Zambia being a signatory to various international instruments including the Convention on the Rights of Children [CRC] and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination [CEDAW). The coalition urges law makers to introduce bills in parliament that will directly see stringent punishment administered to perpetrators of Gender Based Violence.
TAAAC is further disappointed to see that up to now the girl in the R.M case is yet to be compensated. The High court awarded her the amount in 2008 and has accrued into millions with no payment forthcoming.
The Minister of Education, Honorable Dora Siliya’s directive of stopping teachers from conducting tuitions with pupils in their homes has also not been effected. The Minister made the announcement early August this year during a media training workshop on sexual violence against girls, organized by Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA). The directive came out after realizing that home tuitions had contributed into increased sexual abuse of girls and consequently resulted into unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted illnesses.
A spot check in a number of schools by ZAMWA on behalf of TAAAC revealed that the circular enforcing the directive had either not been received or not effected. While Provincial Education Officers [PEOs] and District Education Boards [DEBs] had received it, not much had been done.
As advocates of children’s rights, we believe that enforcement of Hon. Siliya’s directive will go a long way in addressing the problem of sexual abuse of girls in schools and therefore call upon the concerned authorities to act now.
With support from the UN Trust Fund, partners in TAAAC are carrying out various activities geared towards creating a safe environment for the girl child to grow and learn. Respect for the rights of the girl child to adequate protection and care within and outside the home must be a basis for action at family, community, national and international levels.
TAAAC is breaking the silence surrounding sexual abuse of girls through educating the public on the impact on the girl, her family, society and the nation. Other activities include forming clubs commonly known as ‘Safe Spaces’ , within school settings for girls to learn basic health and financial education, as well as understanding their rights and also increase on their self-esteem. The girls are empowered with information and knowledge which help them to stand out and say no to sexual violence.
TAAAC is aware that the Gender Violence Bill is before parliament and we wish to commend government for the efforts. We however wish to urge parliament to expedite the bill so that it can be effected.
This year’s theme: “Defining Gender Based Violence: the Voice of Civic, Traditional and Church Leaders” should be used to identify and ban traditions, myths and attitudes that encourage the crime. We recognize that no single organization or institution can fight sexual violence against girls but we need concerted efforts and together as Zambians and well wishers we shall win the struggle.
Signed by ZAMWA on behalf of TAAAC partners
- Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA)
- Women in Law in Southern Africa (WILSA)
- Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED)
- Forum for African Women Educationist of Zambia (FAWEZA)
- Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD)
- Population Council
- Young Women Christian Association (YWCA)
- Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL)
- Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ)
Features print email to a friend Saturday 27 November 2010 Zambia: Gender-Based Violence Continues Unabated Women continue to suffer in silence as they face physical and sexual violence. By Lilian Museka LUSAKA—Tina* is an editor at one of the leading radio stations in Zambia. She reports to work very early in the morning and leaves very late. She has been leaving in harmony with her husband and children for the last 10 years. However, last month, things changed. Her husband started questioning her coming late to the house, despite him being aware of the job she does. “You will have to choose between your marriage or your job,” Tina narrated how the husband had demanded that she stops working. The man beat and threw her out of the house asking her to go spend the night at “work”. “It is not the first time he’s beating me. I have had to seek for medical attention. In fact right now I’m staying at my parents’ place and at my age with big children, it’s against out customs,” she said amid sobs. She was however adamant that she would not stop working. “I have been doing this job for the last 8 years and for someone to beat me up and demand that I stop working is unrealistic. I am however not sure how to address this because I can’t even talk about it to anyone. Despite the fact that I am a journalist and woman who champions for women’s rights, I have failed to address my own problem”, she said. Tina is one of the many survivors of gender based violence across the world, who face abuse by their husbands but have not gathered courage to speak out because of stigma. In Zambia, according to latest Zambia Demographic Health Survey, 52 per cent of women aged between 15 and 49 reported that they had experienced either physical or sexual violence. It states that around one in three women had experienced both physical violence, 5 percent sexual violence and 15 percent had experienced both physical and sexual violence. In 2009 alone the survey shows 8,261 cases of gender based violence (GBV) were reported to law enforcement and traditional authorities of which only 1,855 (22 percent) were prosecuted. In his message during the commemoration of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in tandem with 16 days of Activism against gender based violence, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon acknowledged increased cases of violence against women saying that, “The word is spreading: violence against women and girls has no place in any society, and impunity for perpetrators must no longer be tolerated. On this international day, I urge all governments, civil society, the corporate sector, individuals to take responsibility for eradicating violence against women and girls.” Meanwhile, during the celebrations in Zambia, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country representative, Ms Viola Morgan said women in Zambia represented 52 percent of the total population and violence against them had far reaching consequences, harming families and communities, and undermining economic growth. She said GBV was directly related to the unequal power relations that existed between men and women and this contributed to their (women) subordination to men. “Gender based violence is therefore a cause of concern for the United Nations as it is for the government. It places greater demands on general health and emergency services and has a high economic cost whenever it occurs,” she said. Morgan urged the Zambian government to adopt the Gender Bill tabled in Parliament, which will in turn provide legal framework for promoting gender equality and empowerment of women in Zambia. “These 16 days from November 25th to December 10th of activism provides a very good platform to reflect on our collective milestone against GBV but we need to ensure that these issues remain high in the agenda every day,” she said. And the board chairperson of Non Governmental Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Ms Beatrice Grillo added that there was need for concerted efforts if the fight against GBV was to be worn. “We all need to agree that GBV is a despicable crime and a violation of women rights. It is therefore unfortunate that in this era, others believe that battering a wife is a sign of love. How can love be expressed through fists, kicks and bloodshed?” she posed. Commenting on this year’s theme in Zambia, Defining gender based violence, the voice of civic, traditional and church leaders, she said some crimes were committed in the name of culture and called on traditional leaders to denounce all forms of cultural practices that demeaned women and girls. “As custodians of our cultural and traditions, traditional leaders must stop negative practices such as sexual cleansing, wife inheritance, property grabbing and mistreatment of widows,” she added. Grillo however expressed disappointment at the increase in the number of women withdrawing cases of GBV from both courts and police stations. “This is a clear demonstration of the low economic status of women in the country and government must put in place deliberate measures to economically empower them,’ she added. And Zambia’s Vice President Mr. George Kunda, in his speech read by Gender Minister Ms Sarah Sayifwanda said statistics from the Victim Support Unit (VSU) showed cases of defilement had continued to rise. In 2007, he said 696 cases were reported but the figure shot to 1,224 in 2008 and rising further to 1,676 in 2009. He however added that the government had prioritized establishment of safety places and one-stop-centres where victims could access services from police, health personnel, counsellors and paralegal staff. “This means survivors have access to quick interventions in terms of reporting, testing and counselling at the earliest opportunity,” he said. The Vice President called on leaders to be role models and take concrete action to fight GBV. *The name of the victim has been changed to protect identity.
ZAMBIA joined the rest of the world to commemorate the 2010 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Vice President of the republic of Zambia Mr. George Kunda officially launched the 16 days on November 25th, in a grand ceremony at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.
Among notable guests at the event were cabinet ministers, honorable members of parliament, representatives of UN agencies, and heads of government departments, parastatals, civil society and religious organisations. But the most important guests were women groups and school children who form majority of the victims of gender based violence.
The event was preceded by a march past that was flagged off by Hon. Sarah Sayifwanda MP, Minister of gender and Women In Development. The event was carried under the theme “DEFINING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE: THE VOICE OF CIVIC, TRADITIONAL AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS”.
Defilement and assault are the most common form of gender based violence in Zambia. Other forms of violence include spouse battering, denial of women and children to access productive resources like land and abusive social –cultural practices which lower the status of women.
In his speech read to him by the Gender and Women In Development Minister, Mr. Kunda noted that cases of defilement have continued to rise from 696 in 2007 to 1,224 in 2008 and rising to 1.676 in 2009.” In 2009 alone a total of 8.261 cases of Gender Based Violence [GBV] were reported to the Victim Support Unit “, the vice president added.
The available statistics on gender based violence in Zambia could be just a tip of the ice -bergs bearing in mind that majority of cases go unreported. The situation is not different in other African countries. It’s also a fact now that GBV does not only affect lives of victims but society as a whole. For instance sexual violence against girls, among other things, results into unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, poor academic performance, family break-up and HIV infections. It may also result into death.
The above scenario cause strains on the country’s budget on health and education. Studies show that GBV increases women’s usage of health services, leads to reduced productivity and fuels other form of violence.
The 2010 theme is appropriate because it gives us an opportunity to review the role of civic, religious and traditional leaders in curbing GBV. Special focus should be put on traditional leaders to ensure that customs and traditions that perpetuate violence against women and girls are scrapped. Traditional leaders should endeavor to eliminate traditions that regard the girl child as a second citizen.
The African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting Women and Children names other bad practices to include Female Genital Mutilations [FGM] and child marriages. Amnesty International estimates that over three million girls ranging between the ages of 4-10 are circumcised every year. Activists of children’s rights have constantly called on authorities to deem FGM and similar practices as crime and illegal activities punishable through laws.
Organizations like the Tisunge Ana Athu Akazi Coalition (TAAAC), that are working to address sexual violence against girls should put efforts in demystify myths and perceptions that HIV patients become negative after having sex with virgins or that sleeping with a virgin makes a man rich. Changing attitudes and behavior are critical to the successful fight against sexual violence on girls.
The government of Zambia has established One Stop Centers where victims access services from the police, health personnel, counselors and paralegals, all in one place. Survivors of defilement, rape and other GBV abuses have access to testing for possible HIV/AIDs infections, pregnancy as well as counseling. The challenge is that such services can only be accessed by the urban based population while the rural majorities remain unattended to.
However the most important thing is to prevent cases of sexual abuse to occur in the first place for prevention is better than cure. Government and civil society organisations should come up with more strategies to prevent the crime. The struggle calls for supports from various social structures in terms of creating stable families and communities. “A stable family provides household members with good family and religious values through better parenting and care for one another. Families also need to ensure that children are protected from exposure to GBV”, George Kunda emphasized.
He said that it is about time that reflected on enhancing traditions that are good for development and abandon the negative ones that do not recognize the rights of women and children. Culture, he said, should serve the purpose of our existence and make people live a better life in modern times.
A National Action Plan on GBV has been developed and launched here in Zambia to ensure coordinated response to the fight against GBV. In addition government has developed a National Gender Communication Strategy which aims at changing attitudes and behaviors of society in order to reduce gender imbalances. A gender song with the theme,” Together As One We Cana Make It” has also been produced to reminds public fighting GBV needs concerted efforts of everyone.
By Lilian Museka
Jane* 15 is a house help in this particular house. The man of the house finds out from her whether his wife and children, “No, am just alone,” she says. The man then sends her for sweets at the nearby ntemba (Shop). When she comes back, the man asks her to go into the bedroom. She declines and stars tarts crying but the man forces his way, defiles and warns her not to tell anyone, failure to which he would send her back to the village with no living provisions.
Jane later reports the matter to the police and the man is arrested. He tries to bribe the police with no success and he is taken to court and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour.
This is an artistic demonstration that was performed by a group of boys during a workshop organized for a group of school boys by the name The Boys Network which falls under Zambia National Women’s Lobby in Lusaka’s outcasts.
The play depicts the struggles a young girl goes through at the expense of working at home with an abusive man. She tries to uphold her dignity by turning down the man but she’s overpowered and mercilessly defiled, as the man takes advantage of absence of other family members.
This is the message the Boys’ Network drawn from both basic and high schools in Lusaka , is trying to put across as they take part in addressing sexual violence against girls.
The Boys’ Newtork is a department under Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL), which is a partner of Tisunge Ana Athu Akazi Coalition (TAAAC), translated to “Let us protect our girl child” a coalition working to address sexual violence against girls in Zambia with support from the UN Trust Fund through Equality Now.
Other coalition members include Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA), Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), Population Council, and Campaign on Female Education (CAMFED), Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD), Forum for African Women Educationists in Zambia (FAWEZA), Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), Plan Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ).
While opening the workshop, the Lusaka District Education Officer Mr. Andrew Ngwenya acknowledged that there was need for the boys to get involved in addressing sexual violence against the girls adding that the vice did not only affect women but men also and the community at large.
“These problems not only affect women but men also in the community and at the end of the day, it is the whole community that gets affected as one girl who drops out of school due to pregnancy from defilement creates a vucuum in the leadership or business fraternity,” said Mr. Ngwenya.
He said there was need for the boys to take advantage of such training opportunities to express problems they face in identifying and reporting sexual abuse cases, adding that they (boys’ network) should become a role model to other boys, who can speak about such issues in the community.
The Coordinator of Boys’ Network Mr. Nelson Banda said there was need to involve boys in the fight as they (boys) could get involved in illicit affairs with the girls at schools thereby increasing the vice.
“Boys cheat many girls at schools causing them to drop out either due to pregnancies or diseases. The girls are not safe anywhere and by involving the boys at an early stage, they get to learn ways to address this, he said adding that “any man seated next to you is a potential defiler.
He added that many young people suffered from “identity crisis stage” where they get a lot of confusing messages that may interfere with the future plans, adding that the Boys network had the opportunity to engage them at an early stage so that they became role models to their fellow students.
In his presentation, Mr. Kalombo Longwa, a teacher at Kamulanga High School regretted that there was increased sexual abuse against girls in families adding that most ceremonies impacted negatively on the girl child’s education.
He said the male was currently enjoying both economic and political dorminance thereby hindering the girl child to fully participate. He called on the need for the girl child to be given an opportunity to finish her education and further participate in the development of the society.
“Many women are not participating in development because they have been subjected to stay indoors and this calls for strict laws to protect the girl child. Current laws allow for punishment to defilers but forget the need to protect the girl child. Even if you kill the perpetrator, the effects caused on the girl cannot be reversed, the stigma always remains,” he said.
Giving an example of a man who defiled a 14 year old girl, interfering with her education and was only fined two chickens, which the courts ordered him to pay to the family of the survivor, he called on review of the laws to stiffen punishment and expel corrupt judges.
The teacher also asked parents to be vigilant and escort their children to and from schools to prevent attacks on their way.
‘Many children become vulnerable while going or coming from school because they are never escorted and this exposes them to the risk of being attacked by perpetrators,” Mr. Longwa said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Zulu, a teacher from Chazanga basic school called on the need for sensitization and organizing of workshops to train the youth to stay away from such and encourage them to abide by Christian values.
At the end of the training, the network developed topics for radio programmes to educate the public on the need to fight sexual violence against girls and messages for t-shirts that they would use in their campagn messages around the country, which read “Boys Lets Speak out Against Sexcual Violence on Girls”
They also developed a communiqué to be forwarded to the Minister of Education Ms. Dora Siliya on resolutions arrived at to help fight the vice
By Lilian Museka
Zambia: child sexual abuse
LUSAKA - Teachers have been accused of luring young school girls into sexual escapades under the guise of offering them home tuition. In 2006, a girl aged 13 was sexually abused by her teacher at a known school in Lusaka, Zambia.
The minor and her guardian sued the teacher, along with the school and the Ministry of Education in Zambia.
On June 30th, 2008, the presiding Judge, Philip Musonda delivered a judgment in the High Court of Zambia in which the victim was awarded K45 million (about $13 000) as compensation.
In his ruling Judge Musonda, said it was the responsibility of the government to care for all school going children through its agents (teachers and school authorities), when schools are in session.
The case was hailed both locally and internationally as one of the landmark judgment ruling by the judge who held the government liable for violating the child’s rights and was asked to pay for the damages.
The story generated a lot of interests from different international human rights organizations who followed with keen interest in a bid to document violence and discrimination against women. This was geared towards mobilizing international action to support efforts in the country to stop these abuses.
Equality Now, an organization that advocates for humans rights, saw this case as an appropriate advocacy tool for effecting the necessary change in Zambia, through funding from UN trust Fund, convened and strategized with various civil society organizations in Zambia to develop a programme to address violence against girls by teachers.
Although the problem of sexual abuse of adolescent girls in Zambia has been growing at a very frightening rate, it is gratifying to note that there has also been a growing recognition of the need to safeguard the rights of adolescent girls and to ensure that interventions are centred on the concerns of these girls.
The abuse is a global public health concern. The magnitude of the problem in the African region is not known, and information from authoritative studies is scarce. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, some 40 million children aged 0‐14 years suffer some form of abuse and neglect requiring health and social care.
In definition, Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent. “It is a cruel and tragic occurrence and a serious infringement of a child’s rights to health and protection,” Says Zambia’s Minister of Education Ms Dora Siliya.
In her address to a recent journalist workshop, organized by Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA) in Lusaka, Siliya directed all teachers to stop conducting tuitions with pupils in their homes, saying the move had resulted in increased sexual abuse among girls.
“The Ministry of Education has recorded 16 cases of sexual abuse by some male teachers countrywide from January to August this year, resulting in unwanted pregnancies,” she added.
The minister noted that some male teachers were taking advantage to offer tuition to students from homes while with motives of luring them in sexual activities. She directed all Provincial Education Officers (PEOs) and District Education Board Secretaries (DEBS) to ensure the directive was adhered to.
The move was received well around the country but the challenge came in how implementation would be done.
Secondary School Teachers Union of Zambia (SESTUZ) Deputy General Secretary Mr. Emmanuel Zulu however said that it would be challenging to enforce the directive as the Ministry of Education lacked necessary structures to uplift the education standards in the country.
By Lilian Museka – Continue Reading on News From Africa
By Sarah Muwanga
Media plays a formidable role in cultivating and promoting human rights in the society. It has a duty to champion measures that protect people from inhuman and degrading treatment. That is why the Tisunge Ana Athu Akazi Colaition [TAAAC] decided to work in partnership with the Zambia Media Women’s Association[ZAMWA] to fight violence against girl children in Zambia.
ZAMWA is a membership organisation of women journalists formed over 10 years ago, to address the plight of media women and women in general. ZAMWA promotes the use of information among women in order to make informed decisions and it has been in the fore front in pushing parliament to table and pass as the Freedom of Information Act.
On the other hand Tisunge Ana Athu Akazi means “Lets protect the our girl children”. The coalition was launched in 2009 with ZAMWA as one of its eight core partners with a mandate to create public awareness on Sexual Violence Against Girls [SVAG].The girl child is receiving special attention due to the common fact that she is more vulnerable and more affected when it comes to child sexual abuse .
The risks and consequences girls face among other things include HIV/AIDs infections, poor performance in schools, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal mortality. Social outcomes may include rejection of the girls by the family, family disharmony or break-up, loss of self esteem and poor parenting. Abused children some time become abusers when they become adults.
There is a lot of silence surrounding SVAG mainly due to cultural and religious beliefs. However ZAMWA is breaking the silence through advocacy and educating the public. The advocacy role played by ZAMWA under TAAAC has seen several activities being rolled out by the association.
A training of 25 journalists from Lusaka province was conducted with participants coming from both the print and broadcast media as well as public and private media. It is an open fact that that a successful media campaign would only happen if journalists are trained and equipped with knowledge and information on the various issues concerning Sexual Violence Against Girls [SVAG].
The journalists were therefore educated on the national, regional and international instruments on Gender Based Violence and how they can be applied. Other topics included services offered to sexually abused girls and organisations offering such services. There are various organisations that offer care and support to the survivors of sexual abuse in Zambia. But more importantly the journalists were educated on the in-depth causes of SVAG and the impact on society and the nation. ZAMWA also developed a Code of ethics to be used by journalists and media houses when reporting on issues of SVAG.
The training of journalists by ZAMWA was indeed memorable one. The Minister of Education, Honorable Dora Siliya while officially opening the event announced a ban on teachers conducting tuition from their houses. The announcement made headlines in the media with many applauding the minister while others raised concerns over implementation and enforcement.
Besides empowering the media with information and skills to report on Sexual Violence Against Girls, ZAMWA is running a radio program which began in September 2010. The Tisunge Ana Akhazi program airs every Saturday on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Radio Two, with a diversity of panelists. TAAAC partners like the Population Council, Forum for Women Educationists in Zambia[FAWEZA] , Young Women Christian Association YWCA] , make up majority of the panelists. The other partners include Campaign for Female Education [CAMFED], Zambia Association for Research and Development [ZARD]. Plan Parenthood Association of Zambia [PPAZ, and Zambia National Women’s Lobby [ZNWL].
ZAMWA has also developed Public Service Announcements [PSAs] which air on several radio stations. The announcements educate the public on how SVAG occurs and the need for people, including the abused girls, to come out and report cases to the authorities. TAAAC recognizes that it is not only girls that are sexually abused but also boys are in the same predicament.
To this effect the program has put in place what is known as the Boy’s Network, a new concept aimed at engaging adolescent boys and youth to fight gender based violence and understanding gender issues.
Of late there have been several campaigns to engage men in the fight against Gender Based Violence[GBV ] at different levels but such activities are now being extended to include young boys.
“We are being taught how we can help our sisters not to be abused sexually and other forms of abuse. It’s wrong for an old person to date a school girl. If a teacher dates a school girl it is defilement “, John Mbita, a grade 11 pupil at Kamulanga High School and a member of the school’s Boys Network said. “The Boys’ Network is also teaching us about children’s rights, life saving skills and how to partner in the struggle against sexual violence against children “, he added.
And Lotson Sichangala said from the Boy’s Network he learnt that defilement is a crime and it should be avoided,. “Even an old woman to be in a relationship with a young boy is bad. Sometimes the aunties sleep with young boys which is not good,” Latson said adding that boys who are abused sexually fear to come out and report because aunties warn them not to tell anybody.
According to the Coordinator of the Boys Network Mr. Nelson Banda, the idea is to make boys advocates in preventing sexual violence against children and in particular their sisters the girls. He says boys need to be involved on gender based violence at an early age such that as they grow up their mindsets promote gender equality. And Shupe Makishinyi,the coalition coordinator says the fight against sexual abuse of girls and the Boy’s Network concept have drawn attention from countries from the region who want to emulate the process.
Gratitude goes to the Un Trust Fund for the financial support through Equality Now ,to carry out the above activities and TAAAC partners re- affirm commitment to fight for the rights of the marginalized people in society especially women and girls.
By the end of the project in 2012, ZAMWA will have trained 75 journalists across the country. Future trainings will benefit journalists working on the Copper belt [Kitwe] and Livingstone in 2011 and 2012 respectively. According to the association’s work schedule, these trainings are expected to benefit 4.5 million Zambians in form of readership.
The ultimate goal of ZAMWA programs is to empower communities with information to enable them prevent and manage Sexual Violence Against Girls. The crime is rampant not only in Zambia but in Africa. Fighting the vice requires combined efforts from families and the public at large, government, NGOs and the media. Last but not least the girls need to be empowered to stand out and say no to sexual violence..
The writer is a journalist on exchange program with ZAMWA from Uganda Media Women’s Association. She can be reached on
By Sarah Muwanga
ZAMBIA Media Women’s Association Program Officer has encouraged gender activists to have closer links with the media to enable them realise their goals.
Gender activist and Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA) Programs Officer, Ms. Sally Chiwama said currently Nongovernmental organizations had currently distanced themselves from media yet the fourth estate was also a partner in development.
She said that NGOs promoting gender equity and equality should amplify and make their voices louder by publicizing their activities. “If you make the media your partner, you will get better results”, Chiwama told participants during the Tisunge Ana Athu Akazi Coalition [TAAAC] workshop held in Lusaka recently.
TAAAC is an organization consisting eight major Non Governmental Organization partners with a goal to empower adolescent girls to understand their rights and say no to sexual violence. Zambia Media Women Association [ZAMWA ] is one of the partners whose role is to create public awareness on the magnitude of sexual Violence against girls in Zambia and efforts by different stakeholders to address the problem.
Other organisations in TAAAC include, Population Council, Women and Law in Southern Africa [WILSA], Forum for Women Educationists in Zambia (FAWEZA), Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) , Parenthood Planning Association of Zambia[PPAZ], Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) and Zambia Association for Research and Development [ZARD].
“The media plays an important role in changing people’s attitudes and myths surrounding sexual violence against girls. We are grateful that ZAMWA with support from the UN Trust Fund and through Equality Now , is also carrying out training of journalists to increase capacity to report issues of sexual violence against children”, Chiwama added.
And Shupe Makashinyi, TAAAC and Equality Now Coordinator in Zambia said partners need to do proper monitoring and evaluation of their activities. This she said helps in knowing the impact of the program and changes in people’s behavior, knowledge and attitudes towards sexual violence against girls and gender Based Violence in general. Makashinyi added that good monitoring will enable the coalition to re-strategize and plan for future activities .
Caroline Muthoni from Equality Now Africa Regional Office in Kenya said TAAAC project in Zambia has generated interest from several countries who have approached Equality Now to find out how they can replicate it in their own countries. “The knowledge and information that has been documented in not only important in Zambia but globally”, she said.
Tisunge Ana Athu Akhazi [Let us Protect the Girl Child] was launched in June 2009 following a case of a 13 year old school girl who was raped by her teacher. The case was successfully defended and the high court judge ruled in favor of the girl. The partners in TAAAC came together in consultative meetings which culminated into the formation of the body.