The government has challenged civic leaders to identify vulnerable groups in society especially women and girls, and link them to the various empowerment initiatives under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Northern Province Permanent Secretary, Bernard Mpundu says councillors should also use their influence to advocate for the inclusion of Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors in the social cash transfer programme.
He said civic leaders have a great influence in society and should therefore use it correctly to help the marginalized.
“You can start advocating for that. The government of today has a policy of first listening to the grassroots going up. What other people might call bottom up,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary said this in Luwingu District when he officially opened an orientation workshop for councillors drawn from six districts in the province.
The workshop which was organized by the Natwampane Project was aimed at equipping civic leaders with information to help fight Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in communities.
Mr Mpundu called on civic leaders to use their influence and decision making position to advocate for the prevention of gender based violence in communities.
He further challenged them to help address the needs of the community especially the women and the girls, and the underprivileged.
Meanwhile, Natwampane Prevent SGBV Team Leader for Northern Province, Annie Sampa noted with sadness that a woman of Luwingu was last week allegedly killed by her husband in a suspected case of GBV.
She noted that the women would not have died if the community, including councilors, had paid attention to such issues.
“Most of the times when we have challenges at community level, we have this understanding that it is not our business to intervene. When we lose a life that is when we start lamenting that we could have done something about it,” she said.
Ms Sampa has since challenged civic leaders to take a leading role in fighting GBV cases in communities.
She said government secured 40 million euros from the European Union to help fight the scourge in communities.
And Chilubi Town Chairperson Rosemary Chimbini who spoke on behalf of other participants pledged the civic leader’s commitment to helping their communities to fight GBV.