NGOCC and the women’s movement in Zambia has called on government to harmonize Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) related laws to protect GBV survivors, including providing a uniform definition of a child and age for marriage in line with the Constitution of Zambia.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day NGOCC National Indaba on SGBV, the NGOCC and the women’s network, represented by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) national president Rev Rose Mulumo, called on government to harmonize SGBV-related laws to protect GBV survivors, including providing a uniform definition of a child and age for marriage in line with the Constitution of Zambia.
They also noted that government should increase the budgetary allocation for the implementation of SGBV laws and policies.
“The government should undertake measures to ensure that people are made aware of their rights and responsibilities in ending SGBV, develop a comprehensive national policy to address SGBV in institutions and organizations in both the private and public sector, increase budget allocation for implementation SGBV laws and policies, build capacity of key service providers who include health, Judiciary and law enforcement officers for improved SGBV case management, harmonize SGBV-related laws to protect survivors of SGBV, including providing a uniform definition of a child and age for marriage in line with the Constitution of Zambia,” Rev Mulumo stated.
She noted that the women’s movement bemoaned the non-existence of coordinated and coherent interventions and advocacy mechanisms among the various stakeholders.
“We are, as a movement, affirming government’s provision of a policy and legal framework, including non-discriminatory measures in the Constitution, Gender Equity and Equality Act, the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act, the National Gender Policy and the National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage; acknowledging the various efforts and the huge resources, financial and human, spent by stakeholders and actors to end Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the 10 provinces and in 114 districts of Zambia; appreciating the passion by all the various stakeholders local, national and international to end SGBV, especially against women and girls who are the worst affected by the scourge; noting that the sanctity of the human body and the fact that SGBV is a human rights violation and observing the non-existence of coordinated and coherent interventions and advocacy mechanisms, among the various stakeholders in addressing SGBV, but faced with ever-increased incidences of the vice,” she stated.
Rev Mulumo also outlined some of the interventions that the participants at the indaba agreed to undertake.
“The need to outlaw cultural and traditional practices that perpetuate SGBV in Zambia, the need to enhance practices that promote women’s access to and control over productive resources, including land, the need to re-orient traditional counselors to give age-appropriate information to girls and boys and strengthen engagement of strategic partners, such as cooperating partners and private sector in addressing SGBV. We also feel we should offer broad therapeutic services to both survivors and perpetrators, build capacity of media personnel to uphold media ethics and embrace gender responsive reporting on SGBV and also ensure all interventions are inclusive of all stakeholders, such as the youth, elderly and persons with disability,” stated Rev Mulumo.
“We, the various stakeholders and actors, have been reinvigorated and have been strengthened by each other’s experiences and aspirations to continue to address SGBV with renewed vigour and in a collective manner.”
And the NGOCC national indaba on SGBV facilitated for the formation of the Zambia National Network Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (ZNAS), designed to promote economic empowerment for girls and women to protect them from being vulnerable to SGBV, among others.
The NGOCC National Indaba on SGBV was held at Andrews Motel, Lusaka, September 11-12, 2019, which attracted more than 250 delegates drawn from government, grassroots social movements, academia and various sectors, was held under the theme: “Zambia Unite! End Sexual and Gender Based Violence.”