Zambia Correctional Services (ZCS) Commissioner General Chisela Chileshe says women inmates face a lot of challenges in prisons because the facilities do not take into consideration their special needs.

Speaking when the Forum for Zambia Women Accountants (FZWA) donated assorted items to female inmates at Kabwe’s Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility, Saturday, Dr Chileshe said the service was thrilled to see cooperating partners rendering a helping hand because it was unable to meet all the inmates’ needs by itself.

Dr Chileshe called on the corporate world to continue partnering with the service in looking after inmates by donating various requirements to meet their needs.

“We appreciate this support so much because on our own as Correctional Service, we cannot meet the needs of our unions. More so that some of the women have circumstantial children who require milk and other infant food supplements, we do not have these on our budgets. And for women, we have many other challenges because the facilities we built a long time ago and they were punitive infrastructures that did not take into account that women had special needs,” said Dr Chileshe.

“So when we see cooperating partners come on board to assist meet the requirements for women, we are always thrilled as a service. Our doors are always open for any assistance that will make the living of inmates humane living so that even when they are separated from their family members, the only punishment that they may have is that they may not have freedom to move from the custodial facilities.”

And speaking after the donation, Bridget Robertson, a FZWA member who coordinated the donation, explained what prompted her team to donate to the prisons.

“As FZWA, one of our main corporate responsibilities is helping needy people. So this time around, we chose to visit Kabwe Maximum correctional Facility as one of the first beneficiaries for our cooperate social responsibilities. Being our first cooperate social responsibility as women accounts in our district, we decided that donating items such as this mealie-meal, detergent, sanitary towels and cooking oil would help the inmates. And we have actually discovered that we can even do more than what we have done now. This visit has been an eye-opener for us and we hope to even do more. These friends of ours in the prisons are our sisters, they are friends, neighbours and relatives. So we can’t neglect them. We are just happy that we found all of them in good spirit and the women are so busy, they are making mats for sale, which is actually motivating. So the next thing we will do is to find business for our ladies here. We have to empower them so that they don’t depend on anyone,” said Robertson.

FZAW donated 40 bags of mealie-meal, sanitary towels, cooking oil, and detergent all valued at K10,000.

And the inmates, who also requested the donors to consider buying them paint for the walls in their rooms, expressed gratitude at the donation.

The FZWA team was led by the associations’ national membership coordinator Hellen Kalumbi who was accompanied by the coordinator for zone one, which covers Eastern, Lusaka and Central Provinces Changwe Mulimbika.

FZWA, a chapter under the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) was adopted by the ZICA council in April 2017 and it’s objective is to provide a platform for its female members to participate in leadership, governance and national development issues.

In addition, the forum enables its female members to participate in the affairs of the institute and accountancy profession and also provides a platform for mentorship and enhancement of creativity and innovation.

FZWA has been undertaking a number of activities since it’s formation, at the moment, the forum is running a number of training sessions for marketeers across the country and is scheduled to have another workshop for marketeers in Choma this month-end.