The European Union has awarded grants of about K12 million to four projects related to the protection of rights of persons with disabilities.

In a statement yesterday, EU programme manager Patricia Pennetier announced that the EU had decided to support Civil Society Organisations that dedicated themselves to assist victims of marginalization and discrimination.

The CSOs which will benefit from the EU grants include; AIDS-Fondet, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, SOS Children’s Villages Zambian and Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

“On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Delegation of the European Union to Zambia would like to inform about its decision to award grants for a total of 989,890.00 Euro (approx. 12 million Zambian Kwacha) to four projects related to the protection of the rights of marginalized groups, and in particular for the rights of persons with disabilities. Examples of inequalities and marginalization do exist in Zambia, despite the positive efforts of the Government and civil society to try and protect the victims. This is why the European Union has decided to support civil society organisations that dedicate themselves to assist those who suffer and have suffered from marginalization and discrimination,” Pennetier stated.

“The European Union Delegation is pleased to announce the names of the Civil Society Organisations which are going to benefit from the EU grants and the main purpose of their respective projects: (I) AIDS-Fondet will partner with Itezhi-Tezhi Widows and Widowers Association to reduce stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS in Itezhi-Tezhi District; (ii) Catholic Agency for Overseas Development will partner with Households in Distress Programme to promote economic and social rights of people with disabilities in Mbala district; (iii) SOS Children’s Villages Zambia will partner with Archie Hinchcliffe Disability Intervention, Disability Rights Watch and SOS Kinderdorf International to effectively include children with disabilities in quality education, health and social services in Zambia; and (iv) Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities will enhance Access to Inclusive Education for Children with Disability in Rural Zambia.”

And EU Ambassador to Zambia Alessandro Mariani said Zambia could set an example for other African countries by promoting the rights of marginalized groups.

“With continued commitment and fruitful partnerships at the government and civil society level, and with greater tolerance vis-à-vis some marginalised groups, Zambia could set the example for many other countries on the continent,” said Ambassador Mariani.