Non-Governmental Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Board Chairperson Sara Longwe says the Zambian society is still bias towards the male which continues to disproportionately access various services and benefits.
Speaking during the grants award Presentation and European Union (EU) Project launch at the Lusaka’s NGOCC secretariat yesterday, Ms. Longwe said efforts to change the status of the Zambian women have continued to be frustrated by a number of legal impediments, inadequate political will, insufficient resources, poverty, HIV and AIDS, and maternal mortality.
The Pan African Radio Journalist Hermit Hachilonde reports that Ms. Longwe added that women are systematically blocked from rights, opportunities and resources resulting in vulnerability which must be recognized as a structural tool of discrimination and exploitation in Zambia.
She said according to the 2014 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Progress report for Zambia (UNDP) extreme poverty in Zambia is much higher in rural areas which is at 57.7 percent as compared to urban areas with 13.1 percent.
Ms. Longwe stated that the report also indicates higher poverty levels among female headed households which are at 60.4 percent than male headed households which is at 57.1 percent because women lack economic, social and political power, which excludes them from development processes in the country.
“The support will include activities aimed at increasing productivity in the fields of their economic interventions. The sub-granting program has, in the past, provided support to income generating activities which provide a sustainable livelihood in form of farming implements such as ploughs which positively affect food security, value addition and increased productivity in the agricultural sector”
“Further, through this project NGOCC will facilitate MOs’ participation in Provincial Development Coordinating Committees (PDCC) and District Development Coordinating Committees (DDCCs) to enable them input in the governance of the nation” Ms. Longwe said
Meanwhile, Non-Governmental Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Executive Director Engwase Mwale in her opening remarks revealed that the grant from European Union (EU) was amounting to one million Euros which will be disbursed over the next three years.
Ms. Mwale who assured the European Union (EU) that the grant will be utilized for its intended purpose said the EU the project is aimed at contributing to the socio economic empowerment of women, especially in rural Zambia for achieving greater gender equity and equality with the Action anchored on three specific objects expected to influence the review and implementation of legal reforms and policies by 2019.
“The Grant will be utilized for its intended purposewhich is aimed at contributing to the socio economic empowerment of women, especially in rural Zambia for achieving greater gender equity and equality” Ms. Mwale said
And European Union (EU) representative Fabienne Van Den Eede said the partnership with the NGOCC is a unique opportunity for the European Union to reach out to Zambian organizations which is one of the EU priorities in engagement with civil society.
Ms. Fabienne said Zambia is a country where inequalities persist, between the people in urban and rural areas especially between men and women, adding that poverty has continued carrying a female face.
She further noted that access to education, economic and financial resources have remained a big challenge in Zambia.
“I know that as European Union, in partnership with NGOCC and all its members we will take big steps in the right direction” Fabienne said