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Zambia

Diakonia started working in Zambia together with two partner organizations in 2003. Today, we co-operate with many organizations at different levels of society, organizations that all work with Diakonia's five thematic areas: human rights, democracy, gender equality, social and economic justice as well as conflict and justice.

10/29/2013 Publisher: Sombo Chunda

Women and youth – the most affected

After more than 30 years of economic crisis, beginning with the oil crisis in the mid 1970s and coupled with the fall in copper prices, Zambia has for the first time since the beginning of 2000, been experiencing a period of strong economic growth. This is mainly because of the demand for the country's most important export good – copper.

The economic growth is evident with GDP growing with almost 7 per cent each year, and inflation maintained as a single digit of 7.1 at the close of 2013, largely due to investment in the mining, construction and energy sector and good agricultural performance. However, for ordinary people, the situation hasn't changed. Out of roughly 13 million inhabitants, more than 60 per cent still live on less than 1.25 US dollar a day.

Poverty is especially widespread in the countryside, with women and youth among the most heavily affected.  Poverty levels are as high as 80.5 per cent in the Luapula Province, 80.4 per cent in the Western Province, and 77.9 per cent in the Eastern Province, while the Northern and Muchinga Provinces combined stand at 75 per cent. Women have a weak status insociety, and are especially discriminated when it comes to laws regulating marriage, divorce and inheritance.

Human rights in focus

Zambia has been in the process of preparing its Constitution for the last 17 years. In 2011, a technical committee was constituted by the President to develop the constitution through a nationwide consultative process.

Diakonia, through our partner organization the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), supported the setting up of the Civil Society Constitution Coalition to enable civil society organizations and ordinary citizens to participate at various levels. This saw the inclusion of social, economical and cultural rights in the Bill of Rights in its first draft, published in April, 2012.

The Constitution making process is ongoing, and there are serious doubts if a new constitution will be delivered according to earlier agreed time.

Achievements

During the time Diakonia has been active in Zambia, our co-operation with our partner organizations has garnered several results:

Increased social and economic equality among rural communities in Zambia

Increase demand and realization of human rights by rural rights holders

Strengthened civil society organizations with enhanced capacity to deliver their organizational objectives.

Some specific results

In Spring of 2013, a community radio station was set up together with the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Lukulu, of the Western Province. This is the first radio station for the rural community, and it will make it possible for locals to participate in issues that affect them.

Together with our partner organizations, Diakonia has also released the report "Study of political governance in Zambia" in April 2013. The report highlights several key areas where Zambia is currently struggling, and provides several recommendations on how to tackle them.

Read more about our work in Zambia

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