MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
I spent today in Zambia’s Southern province to see some of the vital work being delivered in education, health care, private sector development, social support, and reducing gender-based violence. I wanted to meet those most directly impacted by these programmes and to hear their stories.
For example, Metiness Chandi, a disabled mother of three in Monze district, who now receives income support through the Government of Zambia’s social protection programme. Metiness has used this income to build hard-roof housing for her family, to buy chickens, and to send her children to school. Her life has changed from desperation to hopefulness.
60% of Zambians live on less than $1 a day. In rural Zambia, 57% live in extreme poverty and are unable to meet basic food needs. Through the social protection programme, 99,000 recipients (84% of them women) will be reached by 2015 – over 60% funded by UK aid.
At ASAZA clinic in Mazabuka, set up to support survivors of gender-based violence, I met several women who had summoned the courage to seek help and confront their husbands’ violent and abusive behaviour. Barbara Mbewe’s husband used to get drunk and beat her regularly. She went to ASAZA who offered refuge in a safe house and counselling. ASAZA also wrote to her husband to challenge his behaviour and offer him support to change. He accepted, and is now a member of the Men’s Network, advocating change in his community. Other men refuse help and about half of cases go to court. This clinic, together with the bravery of women and men in the community, is bringing justice and changing attitudes.