Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) has bemoaned increasing levels of violence against children, including those living with disabilities.
ZAPD Director Nicholas Goma said inculcating the spirit of love and respect among young ones will help them know that authority is not demonstrated by inflicting pain on the opposite sex or another life.
He said the fight against Gender Based Violence and Violence against children should begin with new teachings to children by parents and guardians in their respective homes.
“This is the time to introduce a new chapter in the way we deal with GBV and violence against children. Let’s begin to teach new ways of living to our boy children that they do not to beat or verbally abuse someone to show that they are a man,” he said.
Mr. Goma said during the ceremony for “coaching boys into men” at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium that the initiative of training boys into responsible, loving, caring and tolerant men should be escalated to other districts as well.
He said rural areas should be prioritised because that’s the scourge is high because of traditional beliefs that to be a real man, one has to be violent and vulgar.
“There is no better way of doing it like this. These should now become the light of the world to showcase that which they have learnt best to our women and children,” Mr. Goma said.
He said the agency is also concerned with the many challenges persons with disabilities have continued to face in the quest to better their wellbeing.
Mr Goma said due to lack of information and capacity, people with disabilities have been disadvantaged in so many ways, a situation he described as worrying and called for immediate solutions.
And Zambia Center for Communication Programmes Executive Director, Johans Mtonga his organisation adapted the “coaching boys into men” training programme following increasing violence among girls by boys of the same age.
Mr. Mtonga said his organisation is saddened that 20 percent of female youths aged between 15-19-years- experience physical violence and that 6.7 percent of the same age experience sexual violence.
Mr. Mtonga said the programme that targets 9 to 14-year-old boys under the USAID Stop Gender-Based Project also seeks to increase knowledge on primary HIV prevention, respect for girls, women and boys and generally begin to inculcate the spirit of gender equality at a young age.
Mr. Mtonga said the USAID sponsored the programmes goals to strengthen the environment for girls, women, boys and men and persons with disabilities to live lives free of GBV and enjoy healthy relationships.
“HIV prevalence in Zambia now stands at 11.1 percent and the infection rate among young people aged 15-24 years is at 3.8 percent. It is higher among young women which is at 5.6 percent compared to the young men which is at 1.8 percent,” Mr. Mtonga said.
He said both physical and sexual violence put adolescents at a high risk of HIV infection.