Award winning singer and song writer Emeli Sandi says she feels good coming back to Zambia because she feels connected to the country.
Emeli born to a Zambian Father and a British Mother says Zambia is always close to her heart.
Emeli whose album has gone seven time platinum was visiting Zambia as part of her advocacy work with Oxfam GB on a gender based campaign called ‘I care about her.’
She visited Rufunsa and Kalulushi to learn fist hand the challenges that ordinary people go through to access health services and the levels of inequality between men and women.
“The most striking was for me to seeing how real the problem is, when you read the fact sheets you take in but when you go there and see a hospital without resources that is when it hits home,” Emeli recounted.
“In Rufunsa, I met this man called Alex whose daughter had been defiled and she was willing to share her ordeal. It was so moving to see the faith and tenacity of this family and they are now ready to change the community.”
She added, “When you are then you suddenly realise that these problems are real. It is no longer us and them, we are one people. I do feel like home, I do feel connected to this country.”
Emeli who studied medicine in the UK said health is such a fundamental right and there is need to increase access to health for the poor.
“If you are not health and you don’t have a chance to heal then you can’t make any changes. Heath issues hit home with me.”
She revealed that she would start exploring possibilities of hosting a concert in aid of health services in Zambia.
Emeli also called for concerted efforts to scale up the fight against gender based violence in Zambia.
“I was quite surprised at how openly it is spoken about in Zambia. It is still an issue in the UK but it is something I have never worried about because i know my rights, letting the women know that this is unacceptable helps a lot,” she said.
And Oxfam Country Director Nellie N’yangwa said Oxfam Zambia is using a new approach to fighting gender based violence.
“We have come to realize that the fight against GBV is not only about sensitizing women about their rights, we have discovered that in some cases, the more a woman knows about her rights, the more she is battered,” Mrs N’yangwa.
She added, “Oxfam is implementing a project called I Care about Her campaign aimed at getting men involved in protecting women. We ask the men to personalize the fight against GBV by protecting every girl they come across as if she was their own daughter.”