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Women’s Rights in Zambia – Uncovering what is meant to be hidden

Reproduced with kind permission from Artwork by Zambian artist Mwamba Mulangala

Reproduced with kind permission of Zambian artist Mwamba Mulangala.

Zambia is a republic of 13.3 million people, governed by a president and a unicameral national assembly. The nation has strong and stable economy, it has experienced increasing growth over the past 5 years. However it remains a long way away from achieving gender equality.

In 2007, a Demographic Health Survey was carried out to evaluate Human Right’s conditions throughout Zambia. The results of the survey were staggering. Results of the survey showed that almost half of all women had experienced physical violence since they were 15. Of which, about 77% reported that the accused was their current or former husband/partner. Researchers concluded that a factor that contributes to the prevalence and tolerance of domestic violence is the acceptance of violence in general community. Shockingly, the survey found that a large number of both women (62%) and men (48%) hold the belief that the husband is justified in hitting or even beating his wife under certain circumstances.

quote2There is no specific law against domestic violence or spousal abuse. Recently however, women have been playing larger roles in actively contributing to the household income and food. Zambian families living in rural areas often experience food shortages due to extreme weather conditions during certain times of the year. Many women have taken it upon themselves to embrace farming and be as productive as possible by diversifying both crops and livestock. UNDP undertook an initiative to train staff at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, who will in turn train smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, in sustainable farming techniques. As a result of this initiative, many of the women have become beekeepers and are using more productive and environmentally friendly methods to produce a variety of crops.

Penalties for assault can range from a mere fine to 25 years in prison. This is dependent on the severity of injury and whether a weapon was used during the assault. The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo, reported that “the general population seems to condone violence as a way to solve conflicts, particularly within the domestic sphere”.

Police are often reluctant to take up cases of domestic violence, thus the Victim Support Unit (VSU) in Zambia was responsible for handling reports of domestic assault and wife beating. The VSU handles most gender-based violence cases as they are reported to them. Despite the fact that the law prohibits rape, the 2007 study showed that rape and other forms of sexual assault were common. According to a Country Report on Human Rights in Zambia (undertaken by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor), there were few rape convictions as a result of ineffective law enforcement.

In 2009, the VSU recorded 244 cases of rape, 60 cases of attempted rape, and 188 cases of indecent assault. Of these cases, 111 defendants were convicted, 22 were acquitted, and 25 cases were withdrawn. However, the law does not specifically prohibit spousal rape, and the penal codes that criminalize rape cannot be used in sexual assault cases to prosecute cases of spousal rape. This lack of government regulation on spousal assault is especially detrimental to Zambian women and the efforts many have been making to improve gender-equality. Women will continue to find their rights violated and subject to social pressure of accepting this kind of violent behavior, contributing to the vicious cycle of violence and abuse.

Four Seasons by Zambian artist Mwamba Mulangala

Four Seasons by Zambian
artist Mwamba Mulangala

The government and NGOs present in Zambia have expressed much concern about violence against women. Women often experience fear of retribution as well as cultural considerations which deters them from reporting cases of domestic violence. Therefore, the real extent of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) remains unclear. Fortunately, however, there has recently been an increase in public awareness of domestic violence which resulted in more reporting of these incidents to authorities. Increased effort from the government includes the operation of SGBV shelters, a toll-free hotline, and eight one-stop centers to provide assistance to victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

In 2009, Zambian authorities provided SGBV training to more than 300 police officers. Scarcity of information related to family planning for women and families in general has led to discrimination against women in their right to reproductive autonomy. Financial as well as cultural limitations restrict women’s’ access to contraception and experienced medical assistance during childbirth, including prenatal, obstetric, and postpartum care. UNICEF estimated that the maternal mortality rate was 590 per 100,000 live births between the years 2003 and 2008. However, these rates have improved recently.

 

quote 1 srhIn 2013, the mortality rate decreased to 280 per 100,000 live births. Additionally, women have increasingly been seeking and successfully receiving HIV testing and treatment. According to the 2007 Demographics and Health survey published by the Central Statistical Office, 46% of Zambian women aged 20-40 were married by time they were 18. 11.6% of these women were married by 15. Child marriage is far more common in rural areas as well as under customary law. Under formal law, the minimum age to marry is 16 years old. Child marriage is an issue particularly because young girls are more vulnerable to cases of abuse and violence. Ironically, the law equates men and women. In reality, Zambian women often experience discrimination in employment, education, and land and property ownership. Employed women often experience unequal conditions of work, including a pay inequity.

Gender based violence is intricately hidden in Zambian society where family planning is still mainly decided by the male.

Gender based violence is intricately hidden in Zambian society where family planning is still mainly decided by the male.

Despite efforts made by the Ministry of Lands to fix the imbalance in property ownership between men and women, women generally lack access to credit because women mostly depend on their husbands or the dominant male family members to cosign for loans as a traditional practice. Thus, few women own their own homes, land, or businesses. The government has been making some effort in improving the status of women through establishing ministries like The Ministry of Women, Gender, and Development and the Gender in Development Division. These agencies are mainly responsible for promoting the status of women. The MOWGD coordinates gender policy while the GIDD plans, coordinates, and implements gender programs and policies across ministries.

With regards to local customary law, it generally discriminates against women. Despite constitutional and legal protections, customary law undermines women with respect to property ownership, inheritance, and marriage. Polygamy is legal under customary law. For example, “sexual cleansing” is a cultural ritual in which a widow is forced to have sexual relations with her late husband’s relatives as part of a cleansing ritual. However, many local leaders have banned this practice and according to this article which was published in 2014 on Anadolu Agency (a Turkish press agency), the Zambian government planned to ban this ritual in order “to curb the rampant spread of HIV”. However, there is little evidence that the government officially banned this practice.

Furthermore, customary law states that the right to inherit land rests with the deceased man’s family. This often results in “property-grabbing”, in which the husband’s family illegally take the land from the widow. Rashida Majoo has expressed further concern that the use of customary law contributes to unequal treatment of women in society, and has led to inconsistent application of justice in cases regarding women’s rights.

Elizabeth exercises her rights by being the main bread winner in her household with 7 adopted children and 5 of her own grandchildren.

Elizabeth exercises her rights by being the main bread winner in her household with 7 adopted children and 5 of her own grandchildren.

As efforts continue to increase to improve the status of women in the society, there definitely remains much room for improvement. This can happen with the combined efforts of the government, NGO’s based in Zambia, and most importantly, the population of Zambia. The first step towards positive change from women in Zambia is people recognizing the need for change with respect to Women’s rights. With this, people will make more of an effort to learn more and spread awareness about unequal treatment of women and the importance of allowing women to be properly represented in politics, the economy, and society in general. It is especially important for men in Zambian communities to partake in spreading awareness and learning about the importance of female empowerment. This, in turn, will create opportunities for women to become strong and powerful female role models for the youth of the nation, particularly young girls. Hopefully, this will promote equal treatment and increased respect for women’s rights in work, family, and politics.

Sources: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154376.htm http://www.genderindex.org/country/zambia

http://www.ipas.org/en/News/2013/April/Zambia-s-Chanda-Katongo-helps-lead-a-youthmovement-for-gender-equity-including-sexual-and.aspx

Zambia to ban ‘sexual cleansing’ rituals

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not necessarily that of Humanity Africa. Humanity Africa has no political nor religious affiliations.

*Zeina Haidar is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is working as a volunteer at Humanity Africa as part of her study abroad program in London. Zeina is a Lebanese-American student, who grew up in the United Arab Emirates. She is studying Molecular Biology at UCLA and is passionate about medical innovation. She is also interested in writing, history, Game of Thrones, and trying to get a grip on adulthood.


The Forgotten Children of HIV and AIDS

estherChildren, naturally, are dependent on their parents, particularly in their early development. Parents are integral factors in the growth and support of their children. They teach them important life skills, push them to learn, and provide them with morals and values. Millions of children lack this support due to parental absence, perhaps caused by death or sometimes abandonment. Children in these situations often feel lost, confused, and vulnerable. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to the world’s largest orphan population. Zambia, specifically, a developing country in south-central Africa, has been struggling to deal with the growing population of orphans, especially children who have been orphaned by AIDS.

Following Uganda, Zambia has the highest proportion of children orphaned by AIDS. By the end of 1997, 9% of children under the age of 15 were orphaned by AIDS. Today, about 75,000 children are living on the streets of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka. Half of these children are orphans. 1 in every 4 households is headed by a child, acting as the primary caregiver to their siblings or fellow orphans. This makes is difficult for children to commit to their education; they become less motivated to attend school and look for alternative ways to survive. A Zambian study showed that 32% of orphans in urban areas were not enrolled in school, contrasting with 25% of non-orphaned children. In rural areas, these figures jumped to 68% of orphans not enrolled in school, and 48% of non-orphans.

beauty mwambeChildren orphaned by AIDS may not receive the healthcare they need because they endure social exclusion; this is a common consequence of parental death by AIDS. Orphaned kids are at a greater risk than their peers of being infected with HIV because they are often emotionally vulnerable and financially needy, so they are more likely to be abused and harassed, and forced into exploitative situations as a means of survival. There are a lot of efforts being made to prevent orphans from sleeping on the streets or resorting to exploitative ways to support themselves. Unfortunately, the government has no national orphan policy. NGO’s and various religious institutions have tried to fill the gap of governmental responsibility. This effort has grown tremendously in recent years. Many organizations focus on strengthening families in order to ensure support for children who may be affected by a parent’s death by AIDS. Additionally, one of the most effective ways to help orphaned children is to train them with essential life skills. Despite the progress that communities and organizations have been making, it remains limited because of the lack of government involvement. Organizations need funding to address these issues at a national scale. If this issue is not tackled at a larger scale with the help of the government, progress will remain slow and this issue will remain prevalent. Humanity Africa is working with AIDS orphans in rural Zambia to support them to have a second chance at life through education and improved health provisions.

Sources:

https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/pub_aids_en.pdf

This article was written by Zeina Haidar – an undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is working as a volunteer at Humanity Africa as part of her study abroad program in London. Zeina is a Lebanese-American student, who grew up in the United Arab Emirates. She is studying Molecular Biology at UCLA and is passionate about medical innovation. She is also interested in writing, history, Game of Thrones,and trying to get a grip on adulthood.

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Microfinance in Zambia

Microfinance has not yet taken off in Zambia, but it has transformed impoverished communities all over the developing world. Grameen bank is perhaps the most famous microfinance bank for its work in extending credit to the rural poor in Bangladesh. Kiva is also well-known for its international reach, servicing low-income people in countries all over the world.

Microfinance is the extension of financial services, often to the extremely poor who would normally not have access to such services. Microcredit is a subset of microfinance and refers to very small loans given to those people who have little or no collateral with which to finance a loan. As the microfinance movement spreads across the globe and practices improve, different forms of microfinance, such as group lending through cooperatives, have gained popularity.

One obstacle to social enterprise for rural farmers in Zambia is a lack of adequate money to fund initiatives. Through microcredit, farmers will be able to take out small loans to purchase new seeds, tools, and technology. When accompanied with proper training and awareness, such a change could break the vicious cycle of poverty and allow farmers to take their livelihood into their own hands.

Economic empowerment of the rural poor, and especially of women, is increasingly seen as the way to create a real lasting change in developing countries. Gender roles in rural Zambia are still split, with women tending to be limited to child care, household work, and subsistence farming. Increasing the access women have to other income-generating activities will lead to greater gender equity as well as the betterment of children and the entire community.

One type of microfinance is collective borrowing through the use of cooperatives; an example of this is a group of 30 women creating a cooperative in which they will pool their funds which they can use to take out larger loans. This method has been used in rural communities to purchase water tanks for all of the women in a village. Others have used cooperatives to purchase livestock or supplies.

In rural Zambia, microcredit loans can be used to create fish farms, improve current agricultural practices, purchase seeds for a diversified crop portfolio, reinforce and build wells, and start fish and poultry farms. Microfinance is for rural Zambia unforeseen and untapped potential and access to opportunities that were at one time not available.


The Absence of Corporate Social Responsibility in Zambia

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has gained great traction as a movement encouraging companies and corporations to take responsibility for the impacts the organization has on the greater society, beyond their pursuit of profit. Organisations can choose to focus on the social, economic, and environmental aspects in their own community and the communities they operate with.

Though CSR has taken off in many areas, including the developing world, the story is very different in Zambia. Although Zambia is a middle income country, the impressive GDP growth has been fueled by a small workforce living on marginal incomes, and growth has concentrated around the copper belt, where mining copper has brought prosperity to mine owners. Beyond the copper belt there has been very little rural development and the macro-level prosperity has benefitted only those on top, leading to gross inequality between rural farmers and the owners of businesses operating in Zambia.

Mkushi is outside the copper belt, which has a reputation for exploiting local labor and resources. However, in the green belt area where Mkushi is located, CSR is basically nonexistent. Rural labor and resources in Mkushi are being exploited by large, powerful companies from outside of the country, particularly by East and South Asian companies, many of which have a large presence in Zambia and other African countries and have become prosperous following economic interventions in natural resources and infrastructural development. .

In spite of some of these companies being responsible for allocating 2% of their resources on CSR, only a small percentage of companies actually meet this mark. Disappointingly the concept of CSR in developing communities that are affected is lost at times – an example that is obvious in Mkushi – which is inundated with commercial farmers from various parts of the globe. Many of these companies have directed their CSR activities in other parts of the world defeating the purpose of implementing CSR.

Chinese companies are similarly involved in Zambia. The Yani Mining Development Limited announced plans last year to revamp operations on a mine in Mkushi. It is a bit unexpected that a foreign mining company would have a presence in an agricultural district, but this shows the extent of the involvement of Chinese and foreign companies in Zambia. More than 30 Chinese companies announced towards the end of 2015 that they would be building an industrial park outside Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, pouring US$300 million into the project. However, compared to the huge amount of investment going into resource-extraction and the mass profits coming out of Zambia, these companies seem to show no initiative towards CSR in Zambia. In Mkushi alone, there is almost no presence of CSR with local communities reporting the absence of basic necessities such as healthcare and education provisions. Although huge, companies could easily play a crucial role to plugging this massive gap.

CSR activities in Mkushi claimed by corporates are shady and show no formal reporting structures that are available for scrutiny. Additionally there seems to be very little reporting on the impact of these CSR activities increasing the likelihood of eyewashing.  

CSR needs to become the niche and cornerstone of commercial enterprises that benefit from huge profit margins that are reaped from communities. Although marginal, it can have extremely large impact on communities that see basic necessities such as healthcare and education as luxuries. By working with committed and impactful organisations in Mkushi and other parts of Zambia corporates can easily contribute to developing community trust and respect as means of extending the commercial and personal relationship with the country and its people.

Sources:

http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=corporate-social-responsibility–(CSR)

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/03/is-corporate-social-responsibility-chinas-secret-weapon/

http://www.reuters.com/article/zambia-china-investment-idUSL8N13412C20151109

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/company/corporate-trends/mahindra-mahindra-tops-csr-list-in-india-even-as-companies-scale-up-operations/articleshow/49330470.cms


Solar energy in rural Zambia

Energy is a vital ingredient to the development of rural communities and for poverty eradication. Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all is a fundamental development goal that can be implemented regions such as rural Zambia.  According to the United Nations over 4.3 million people die due to indoor pollution resulting from cooking and heating with unsustainable fuels. Renewable and alternative energy resources could create the fastest and most efficient solutions to these types of issues.

DSC_0207 (3)

There is a variety of  renewable energy sources such as wind and hydropower, but solar energy would be the best to implement in rural Zambia because of the geographic characteristics of Zambia. Solar power has immense potential in Zambia where days are and the shortest day in the year having approximately 11 hours of sunlight. In association to this solar power is both economically sustainable and is environmentally friendly. Solar panel manufacturers offer the 25 year standard solar panel warranty, meaning that power output should not be less than 80% of rated power after 25 years, making solar power extremely sustainable.

Solar power is captured when energy from the sun is converted into electricity or used to heat air, water, or other fluids. This solar power could be implemented into the homes of Zambians through a system that carries solar panels on the rooftops of homes and/or schools and hospitals. Likewise, street lamps and house lamps can be, too, solar powered.

Because the people of rural Zambia lack the resource
s and the economic sustainability to afford electricity and powered stoves, lamps, heat, etc the use of solar power in these communities can be life changing to the most vulnerable people. Solar energy could potentially improve the livelihoods of students, mothers, professors, farmers, and families in general.

Solar powered lamps can improve educational practices for both professors and students. This resource would allow them to study or prepare for class at any time and even during the hours of darkness. More importantly, students would have the opportunity to use lamps to study at home without using homemade kerosene lamps that emit toxic smoke. Mothers could also use the solar energy by powering stoves and ovens to be able to cook without the possibility of intoxicating themselves or their families. Solar lights also neutralise the fire risk posed by candles and kerosene lamps and are also also free of toxic emissions. In hospitals and schools, having solar powered heaters and the opportunity to boil water would improve the health of the community overall by preventing possible diseases.

The implementation of renewable energy has the potential to develop the livelihoods of entire communities. Solar power reduces the risk of intoxication for many families, not to mention the economic sustainability that it offers. Although there is a cost during the initial development of the project, the long term sustainability of solar power makes
it a cost effective initiative.


WASH – the Crisis Relevant to Eight SDGs

As climate change disrupts the global ecosystem and brings up questions about the sustainability of natural resources, people in developing countries are confronted with a crisis in their daily livelihoods and health. Under half of rural Zambians have access to safe water and just over a quarter of households have access to adequate sanitation. Many of the most vulnerable groups such as women and children are affected more severely by the water crisis. Sanitation and hygiene are among the most off-track Sustainable Development Goals, making the water crisis an issue that Humanity Africa has highlighted as a target for long-term, sustainable development.

Clean water and sanitation is number 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but the issue of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is strongly correlated with at least eight of the SDGs. For example, water might not be the immediate solution to the SDG of “zero hunger,” but improved irrigation will increase water supply for farmers, directly improving food security in the region and decreasing hunger. In this report, we will break down and highlight the importance of WASH in a range of issues across the SDGs.

Water and Disease Prevention

Unsafe water sources can lead to disease and infection and are often the root cause of many deaths, especially in rural areas where sanitation issues are worse. Young children are especially susceptible to water-related diseases which often end in death. Over 1,000 children under the age of five die yearly as a result of diarrhoea caused by unsafe drinking water and a lack of hygienic practices. Malaria, which is spread by mosquitos which breed in water, caused up to 3,000 deaths in 2014 and over 4,000 hospital admissions. Of those deaths, 50% were children under the age of five.

In order to combat the spread of disease holistically, facilities must be created, resources made available, and people educated so that awareness about sanitation and hygiene create behavioural changes. The creation of sanitary facilities won’t make a difference unless people are made aware of the importance of washing hands and hygienic practices in preventing the spread of disease.

Increasing Awareness, Creating New Practices

Basic sanitary processes such as boiling water in order to clean their water and the development of saline solutions to treat diarrhoeal disease are fundamental to the health of the communities. Rehydrating a person who is dehydrated is aided by saline solution, which can be created at saline facilities or even by hand at home. However, saline solution made with unsafe drinking water can worsen a person’s condition and even lead to death. We want to ensure that people understand the importance of purifying water in every circumstance.

Communities also need to be aware of homemade saline solutions that can reduce child mortality as a result of diarrhoea. The lack of safe drinking water can be addressed by providing water purifying tablets at a low price. However, even more effective and far-reaching than this is teaching people the concept of boiling water to kill bacteria and get rid of impurities. People are often unaware of simple practices such as this; awareness and education are often the most powerful tools in creating lasting change.

An Institutional Issue: Schools and Hospitals

The lack of sanitation facilities at schools disproportionately affects girls, many of whom miss school due to a lack of sanitation facilities in more than 25% of schools. A lack of sanitation facilities and lack of access to cheap sanitary napkins leaves many girls unable to attend school during menstruation due to inconvenience and shame. Oftentimes, the frequent absences lead to girls dropping out of school entirely, creating a gendered education imbalance. Girls can be empowered to attend school during menstruation if they are provided with cheap sanitary napkins and sanitation facilities at school. Since the crisis affects both institutions and households, awareness of the topic is the most important step and the education of the community over the importance of proper hygiene and clean water is vital. The people of Zambia must first value hygiene and sanitary processes to properly implement new projects.

The water crisis does not end at the community but is exacerbated by a lack of sanitation facilities at institutions such as schools and hospitals. According to UNICEF, in some hospitals, babies are not washed when they are born because it is more dangerous to wash them with dirty water which may lead to infections during a very vulnerable period of life.

Infrastructure

With rainfall decreasing in the past three decades, there is greater stress on land-based water sources. Zambia has a good supply of freshwater sources, but rural areas lack irrigation to take advantage of surface water, and fields are often too far away from water sources to allow people to properly irrigate their fields. Women and children must walk several miles a day to retrieve water, often making several trips to unsafe water sources. A closer option is wells, but wells are often hand-dug and left without reinforcement or covering. This leaves the water that is drawn from wells susceptible to contamination and disease.

Fields nearby water sources should be irrigated to take advantage of rivers and springs, allowing farmers to grow more crops more effectively without relying solely on rain. People must be made aware of good washing and disposal practices so that water sources are not polluted by washing or faeces. Wells should be reinforced by concrete and people trained to cover their wells when they are not in use. This will prevent contamination and increase the longevity of a well.

The Connection to the Sustainable Development Goals

Increasing access to clean water and introducing the proper resources to improve hygiene and sanitation facilities and practices will tackle the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. The goal of no poverty will be addressed by improving irrigation and access to water that will increase crop yields and result in the improvement of people’s’ livelihoods. Improved irrigation will increase water supply for farmers, directly improving food security in the region and decreasing hunger. We will work towards good health and well-being by increasing access to clean water to allow people to maintain their health and help prevent potentially deadly diseases. The quality of Zambian students’ education can be improved by introducing proper hygiene and sanitation focusing on girls’ menstruation. Menstruation hinders the quality of education that girls are exposed to and therefore by introducing cheap sanitary napkins the Gender Equality can be reached through education. By also giving access to sanitary facilities and accessible water there can be reduced inequalities. Women can have the same opportunities and resources as men as a result of not having to travel miles by foot to bring water home.

Conclusion

Humanity Africa has honed in on WASH as a crucial factor in improving the livelihoods of rural Zambians and working towards several Sustainable Development Goals simultaneously. Our focus on a solution that is deeply intertwined with multiple issues will ensure that the resulting changes feed back into one another.

Works Cited

“Resources.” UNICEF Zambia. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2016. <http://www.unicef.org/zambia/5109_8460.html>.

“Simple Solution Improves Water and Sanitation in Zambian Health-care Facilities.” WHO. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2016. <http://www.who.int/features/2015/zambia-sanitation/en/>.

“Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.” UNICEF Zambia. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2016. <http://www.unicef.org/zambia/washe.html>.


Microfinance in Zambia

Microfinance has not yet taken off in Zambia, but it has transformed impoverished communities all over the developing world. Grameen bank is perhaps the most famous microfinance bank for its work in extending credit to the rural poor in Bangladesh. Kiva is also well-known for its international reach, servicing low-income people in countries all over the world.

Microfinance is the extension of financial services, often to the extremely poor who would normally not have access to such services. Microcredit is a subset of microfinance and refers to very small loans given to those people who have little or no collateral with which to finance a loan. As the microfinance movement spreads across the globe and practices improve, different forms of microfinance, such as group lending through cooperatives, have gained popularity.

One obstacle to social enterprise for rural farmers in Zambia is a lack of adequate money to fund initiatives. Through microcredit, farmers will be able to take out small loans to purchase new seeds, tools, and technology. When accompanied with proper training and awareness, such a change could break the vicious cycle of poverty and allow farmers to take their livelihood into their own hands.

Economic empowerment of the rural poor, and especially of women, is increasingly seen as the way to create a real lasting change in developing countries. Gender roles in rural Zambia are still split, with women tending to be limited to child care, household work, and subsistence farming. Increasing the access women have to other income-generating activities will lead to greater gender equity as well as the betterment of children and the entire community.

One type of microfinance is collective borrowing through the use of cooperatives; an example of this is a group of 30 women creating a cooperative in which they will pool their funds which they can use to take out larger loans. This method has been used in rural communities to purchase water tanks for all of the women in a village. Others have used cooperatives to purchase livestock or supplies.

In rural Zambia, microcredit loans can be used to create fish farms, improve current agricultural practices, purchase seeds for a diversified crop portfolio, reinforce and build wells, and start fish and poultry farms. Microfinance is for rural Zambia unforeseen and untapped potential and access to opportunities that were at one time not available.

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