The government says it targets to see all empowered women co-operatives in the country become viable and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
Minister of Gender Elizabeth Phiri says the empowerment of women co-operatives in Eastern Province is meant to help reduce poverty which one of the major factors contributing to gender based violence.
“President Edgar Lungu wants to see to it that women in Eastern Province and the country as whole are empowered as a way of reducing poverty at domestic level and ending early marriages,” she said.
She says early marriages are rife in Eastern Province and other rural areas mostly due to poverty and would reduce if women and girls are economically empowered.
The Minister of Gender was speaking when she paid a courtesy call on Eastern Province Permanent Veronica Mwiche.
“As Government, we believe that the empowerment of women in the country will make our women to be able to stand up economically and contribute to the national development of the country as well as support their families,” she said.
Mrs Phiri says she is in the Eastern Province to distribute agriculture production and value addition equipment to Women-led cooperatives in Lumwezi, Chipangali, Vubwi, Sinda, Petauke and Nyimba.
Ms Phiri said the agriculture equipment to be donated are nine maize shellers,15 treble pumps, three rice mills, nine oil expellers,12 electric peanut butter making machines, irrigation sets, five egg incubators, one electric hammer mill,100 double deck beehives , 10 swam boxes and 2 honey pressers.
She said through the donation of the agriculture equipment to women co-operatives, Government wants to see women in Eastern Province become effectively productive.
And Ms Mwiche said the donation of the agriculture equipment to women co-operatives will actualize the Government gender policy.
She says the donation will adequately help to liberate the women in Eastern Province from the crutches of poverty.
Ms Mwiche assured the Minister that her office will closely monitor how the women co-operatives will be working with the donated agriculture equipment to ensure the intended impact is realised.