Women groups in Western Province have urged government to consider empowering them with pieces of equipment and capacity building instead money which they say was too little to make any impact in their lives.
And the women groups have appealed to the Patriotic Front government to stop using Members of Parliament in distributing empowering equipment, citing favouritism and corruption in the distribution process.
Last year, government distributed about 106 pieces of equipment which included hammer mills, block making machines, sewing machines, and oil extracting machines among others but almost all women clubs denied ever receiving the machinery meant for women empowerment which was being distributed by MPs.
Western Province Community Development Officer, Christopher Liswaniso,said his office has no information as to which women groups benefited from the pieces of equipment as most of the registered clubs are still crying for empowerment.
Mr Liswaniso explained that his office was not involved in the distribution of empowerment tools but was told by the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health headquarters in Lusaka that his office should take stock of all the equipment in the province which he said is proving to be impossible.
He noted that the tools were given to people who are not in recognized women clubs leaving clubs that genuinely wanted empowerment and that following up requires the same MPs who distributed to direct them where they took the tools.
Mr Liswaniso said at the moment there are only few hammer mills that can be traced, most of which are laying idle as they were given to those that have no use for them.
Speaking in separate meetings with the Minister of Gender and Child Development, Inonge Wina, in various districts of Western Province, the women appealed to government to consider empowering all clubs regardless of their political affiliation.
Some women disclosed that they were not considered for empowerment last year based on their political line while others blamed the Ministry of Community Development for not decentralizing the process of funding clubs as everything is done in Lusaka which they say takes too long.
But the minister said government is committed to ensuring that women empowerment is evenly distributed to all women in order to alleviate poverty especially among the marginalized.
Mrs Wina said her tour of districts in Western Province was to ensure that women are sensitized to form clubs in order for them to receive funding and pieces of equipment that would help change their economic status.
In her tour of Western Province, Mrs Wina met women groups in Kaoma,Lukulu, Kalabo, Senanga and Mongu.
She also conferred with heads departments to educate them on the new Gender and Child policies and urged them to consider streamlining gender in their budgeting and operations.