Great things often start with a meeting…

Feb 14, 2023

Two months ago, a transformative meeting occurred at the Kaoma Makasa health clinic in rural northern Zambia. It was important because it brought together 24 of the key people who would be involved in making something very important work by transforming the whole community.

The “something very important” is the determination by the Anglican Church in Zambia (through their outreach organisation, ZACOP) to eliminate gender-based violence. In 2022 the church decided to take this work to the community served by the parish of Mwenda in Chipili District, Luapula Province (which is also the name of the Anglican Diocese).

The church aims to contribute to the elimination of gender-based violence (GBV) by:

  • Providing livelihoods education, training in forming savings and loans groups, as well as giving some small loans to survivors of GBV and their families, since poverty is one of the key factors behind gender-based violence in Zambia;
  • Creating Gender Action Groups to raise community awareness of barriers to women’s empowerment, how to report cases of gender-based violence, and other related themes;
  • Aiming to include as many people with disabilities as possible in the project, since women with disabilities in particular are at much greater risk of being victims of gender-based violence.

Although the two target areas of Kaoma Makasa and Bunda Chunsu within Mwenda parish had access to service facilities where local people can report cases of GBV and related problems, most of the cases were not being reported. This lack of reporting was leading to the perpetuation of GBV. The baseline study conducted by ZACOP in 2022 also found that young girls in the communities often become pregnant or are married off by their parents at a tender age because education is not greatly valued. These findings led ZACOP to apply to AID for funds to address the issues.

The meeting was attended by 14 village headmen, two head teachers, two neighbourhood health members, three health staff, and three church representatives, including the Mwenda parish priest, Fr Mwansa Chabala. All these people are key to attitude and behaviour change at the grassroots level. Local ZACOP staff were also in attendance.

ZACOP staff informed the meeting that the project aimed to contribute to increased access to quality gender information and services by reducing the social, cultural, and religious barriers that hinder women, girls and children from accessing their rights.

The Gender Equality and Integration Project will include:

  • Building the capacity of local volunteers (such as Gender Action Groups)
  • Raising awareness of relevant Zambian policies
  • Providing quality services for survivors of GBV and effective referral mechanisms
  • Creating social networks
  • Linking survivors to other service providers
  • Working with traditional leaders and churches as co-implementers of the project
  • Formation of a Gender Committee to supervise the work of the volunteers
  • Regular monitoring to help assess the progress the project is making.


The same project is also being rolled out in Eastern Diocese, in Kalwani Community, part of the Anglican parish of Katete in Sinda District.  ZACOP is hoping to reach a total of 3,422 men, women and children in the two dioceses this year.

With a week following the meeting, both Kaoma Makasa and Bunda Chunsu communities had interviewed and selected people who would form the Gender Action Groups (GAGs) in each community. The GAGs then attended a three-day training workshop to prepare them for the important task ahead.

We ask you to keep all those involved in the Gender Equality Project in your prayers:

  • The communities of Kaoma Makasa and Bunda Chunsu in Luapula, and the Kalwani community in Eastern Zambia, particularly those who experience gender-based violence
  • The Anglican Parish of Mwenda in Luapula Diocese, and its priest Fr Mwansa Chabala
  • The Anglican Parish of Katete in Eastern Zambia, and its priest Fr Samson Mwanza
  • Luapula’s Diocesan Gender Coordinator, Mr Richard Mushimba
  • Eastern’s Diocesan Gender Coordinator, Mrs Esther Mwanza
  • Luapula Diocesan Programmes manager, Ms Dorothy Kambafwile
  • ZACOP’s National Gender Coordinator, Ms Royter Choongo-Phiri
  • The new Country Director of ZACOP, Mrs Ellen Mubanga
  • ZACOP Head of Programmes, Mr Kelvin Munsongo
  • ZACOP Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning team, Victoria Hansingo and Jerry Banda
  • Bishop of Luapula Diocese, The Rt Rev’d Robert Mumbi
  • Bishop of Eastern Diocese, The Rt Rev’d William Mchombo