Civil Society MDG Campaign/GCAP Zambia founded in 2004 by anti-poverty activists, intends to advocate for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals at the national and community level. The organization works with Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) and other development partners focusing on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the post-2015 Development agenda throughout Zambia.

Civil Society MDGs Campaign/GCAP Zambia main responsibility is coordinating CSO efforts in advancing the call to achieve the MDGs in Zambia. The mandate of the campaign did not end with the expiry of the MDGs in 2015 but it renewed the campaign’s call and objectives to further ensure that Zambians remain united and committed to fighting poverty and ending inequality in all its forms by building a strong campaign on the new launched SDGs.

This culminated in February 2016 in the birth of the Civil Society (CSO) Platform for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative which was established in Zambia for more coordinated civil society efforts in achieving the SDGs. The Platform was formally launched in February 2018. Civil Society SDGs Campaign/GCAP Zambia is the secretariat for the campaign due to its influence and experience spanning from the MDGs era on the subject matter. The main objective of the platform is to enable; CSO coordination and monitoring the implementation of the SDGs in Zambia.

The Platform counts a of member organisations, including coalitions, associations, unions, community-based organisations, local, national and international non-governmental organisations and religious groups. The members are divided into 17 SDG Platforms, one for each of the 17 goals and one platform on advocacy. Each of the 17 SDG Platforms is headed by a team of one convener and two-five co-conveners. The convening team coordinates activities and joint efforts, and represents the SDG Platform. All conveners are national civil society groups; co-conveners and platform members are a combination of international, national and local actors. All conveners, co-conveners and members are organisations with a proven track record that also implement projects and activities related to the platform’s goal. The governing body of the CSO SDG Campaign/GCAP Zambia is the Advisory Board.The national Coordinator is the Secretary of the Advisory board. The day to day administration of the campaign is lead by the Campaign secretariat under the leadership of the national coordinator. The daily activities of the national platform are coordinated by the secretariat with a Small Coordinating Group (SCG) headed by the Coordinator. The SCG is made up of six organisations. The secretariat provides both the physical and virtual presence of the platform or campaign.

To contributing to Achieving the SDGs in Zambia the coalition works to roll out the campaign Platform in all the 10 provinces and districts of Zambia. This offers a great potential in supporting the achievement of the SDGs by contributing to development planning and policy making on national and local level, data collection and monitoring of progress, and ensuring that the message of the SDGs reach all Zambians throughout the country. Our plans are to integrate the campaigns platform with the already existing platform such as the provincial development committees, the district development committees and the constituency development committees throughout Zambia.

GCAP Zambia works on the inequality campaign by showing inequalities in all its different forms – economic, geographical, access to land, water and resources, gender, discrimination for ethnic reasons, disabilities, age etc., to generate awareness to prepare the ground to elaborate political demands and to do advocacy and mobilisation to influence decision makers and achieve political changes. The goal is to eradicate poverty by reducing inequalities – to make “Leave No One Behind” a reality.
Civil Society SDG Campaign/GCAP Zambia national coalition, members and constituency groups will develop an analysis of inequalities and exclusion and publish ‘The faces of inequality’, multimedia reports that will analyse inequality in Zambia. At the beginning about 20 districts will participate. By 2019 we want to involve at least 50 districts.

The reports will be elaborated via a participatory process and involve those who are directly affected by the inequality in the development of the analysis at the core. Voices, pictures and videos of people affected by inequalities will give inequality a face. Examples and voices of excluded people will be part of the campaign and give inequality a face. In each province the most excluded groups will take part. Women, youth, Children and older people will be included.

“Leave No one Behind” in the context of Zambia means bringing to the centre stage those who have been left behind in the planning and development initiatives by successful governments in Zambia.In Zambia leaving no one behind would also imply tackling structural challenges of national development such as addressing inequalities in national development which has resulted in some regions being much more developed than others as a result of political expediency which has been practiced by successive regimes. Take for instance provinces such as Luapula and Western are ranked to be the poorest in the country and their GDP contribution is low despite being blessed with abundant natural resources. Others include groups such as the people living in rural areas, women, youth, children, girls, people living with disabilities and the elderly.

Women: For women leaving no one behind implies that women in Zambia for a long time haven’t fully participated in key decision making processes such as, their participation in parliament which currently stands at 17% and 9% at local government level which are both below the AU and SADC threshold level of ensuring 50% representation of women in politics and key decision making processes. This is the same for other sectors including the private sector, women participation is low.

Rural population: In Zambia poverty is higher in rural areas compared to urban areas. This means that for a long time now development initiatives have focused development in urban areas especially those places along the line of rail. Ensuring that No One is Left Behind will imply taking deliberate measures to priotize rural development in the next 13 years before the 2030 deadline of the 2030 Agenda. This means improving the agriculture sector especially for peasant farmers which is the mainstay occupation for many people in rural areas. Government together with all stakeholders should ensure that facilities such as opening up rural areas through road construction and connecting the rural areas to the national grid should be enhanced to add value to agricultural activities in rural areas and open up the rural areas for investments and enable farmers to process and sell their products.

Youth: In Zambia, young people make up a significant proportion of the available labor force, yet unemployment rates for 20- to 24-year-olds have been estimated to be as much as five times greater than for older adults. The Youth Map assessment found that while many employers are hiring youth, key constraints prevent young people from finding work. These factors include a misalignment of education and labor market needs, lack of experience, nepotism and corruption in the labor market, and a lack of skills and entrepreneurship training. Gender plays a major role in youth employment: certain sectors are considered to be available only for men or women, and young women are more likely to report lower pay or not being paid at all for their work. There are a number of industries emerging in Zambia which, if properly leveraged, have high potential for increasing youth employment, including telecommunications, tourism, and agriculture. Improved internship opportunities were suggested by both employers and youth as an option to gain the experience both groups identified as lacking. Considering only 14 percent of out-of-school Youth Map participants were in formal employment, the potential and need for young people to start their own businesses is high. In order to successfully transition youth into the world of work, young people need more support (e.g., early career guidance), comprehensive technical and entrepreneurial training.

Children: Children issues and child rights in particular still remain a thorny issue in Zambia with increasing cases of child abuse and in some instances resulting in children losing their lives. From 2017-18 GCAP Zambia national coalition together with our key stakeholders on Child rights and development we want to focus our attention on raising awareness on child Rights as well as documenting and sharing with the nation the many cases of child abuse in Zambia. We will also be engaging government through the ministry responsible for children issues and the ministry of justice to come up with strong punitive measures for those found wanting or abusing children.

Girls: In Zambia especially in rural areas girls are victims of inequalities as compared to boys due to bad cultural and traditional customs that still considers a place of a girl to be in the kitchen. This means that if a family is struggling to send their children to school, preference will be given to a boy because there is that strong belief that a girl will be married off and taken care of by the husband. This custom has resulted in an increase in inequalities between girls and boys and has also increased the cases of early marriages among young girls in Zambia. Between 2017 and 2019 we plan to increase our awareness on the challenges of early marriages by working with the traditional authorities since most of these cases are common in rural areas.

People living with Disabilities: Zambia like many other countries still faces challenges in integrating differently abled people in national development. It is for these reasons that as a coalition and working in collaboration with partners championing the rights of people living with disabilities we want to raise awareness and educate the public on the rights of disabled people. From 2017-2019, one of our strategies will be advocate for policies that include differently abled people in national planning and development. We want to raise awareness at community level to embrace a spirit of acceptance of those who are differently abled as well as advocate for policies that are non-discriminatory in approach to national development.

Old people: When it comes to issues of old people, we want to get back to our national values of taking care of the old in our communities. In the recent past we have witnessed a number of cases where old people are not taken care of either by their extended families or society as whole. GCAP Zambia will be advocating for strong national values that will ensure that we take care of old people in our families and communities as opposed to the strong foreign culture which we are embracing and has no regard for the old.

Social protection: The Government of the Republic of Zambia (GoZ) considers Social Protection as a key strategy to support economic growth, reduce poverty, and promote equity and human rights. Towards these objectives the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH) is implementing important social protection schemes: the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme (PWAS) and the Social Cash Transfer Scheme (SCT), implemented by the Department of Social Welfare, and the Food Security Pack (FSP) and the Women’s Empowerment Fund (WEF) implemented by the Department of Community Development. Some of these programmes have a relatively long tradition, and essentially rely on voluntary community structures to identify beneficiaries. The Government of Zambia is currently scaling up the SCT, which has piloted four different targeting methods over the past decade, with the potential of rolling it out nationally in the near future. The GoZ has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with three donors (UNICEF, DFID and Irish Aid) under which for 10 years donors commit to provide support for the development of SCTs, although the support should gradually reduce over time.
SCT pilot targeting methods are:

  • The 10% Inclusive Model (IM), which targets the poorest 10% among incapacitated and destitute households
  • The Social Pension scheme, which targets all people aged 60 and above
  • The Child Grant scheme (CG), which targets all households with at least one child younger than 5 or disabled person under 14
  • The Multiple Categorical scheme (MC), which targets households satisfying one of the following conditions: households headed by women with at least one orphan, households headed by an elderly person with at least one orphan and households with at least one disabled member.

As the programme expands, the Government of Zambia and other stakeholders believe that the Social Cash Transfer should rely on a harmonised method for selecting beneficiaries. Although the SCT has been scrutinised by several independent impact evaluations which have shown positive results, these targeting methods have not been evaluated in depth yet. The Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH) recognize that, within the types of SCTs, the Social Pension Scheme is no longer a priority and has since been passed to the authority of the Ministry of Labour.

Tax Justice: Tax avoidance is a problem that affects many countries, but creates additional negative effects on efforts to eliminate poverty in developing countries in particular. Many developing countries lose legitimate tax revenue through both illegal tax evasion and aggressive, though legal, tax planning. A large part of tax avoidance is related to the tax planning of international enterprises. Tax avoidance in developing countries leads to a situation where states collect less income which could be used for investments aimed at alleviating poverty. Calculations conducted by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) in Washington show that developing countries lose at least 783 billion USD every year through illicit financial flows, including tax evasion.

This figure represents six times more than that of the world’s collective aid budget to the same countries Zambia is a country that has been hit hard by tax avoidance. According to GFI, the country has lost over 8,8 billion USD over a period of ten years through so-called illicit financial flows. To a large extent, this is due to tax planning conducted by international corporations which, for example, do not declare the full value of their exports of minerals from Zambia. Approximately 60% of Zambia’s population lives beneath the poverty line and despite the fact that the country has experienced large economic growth during 2012 and was upgraded to a lower-middle-income country by the World Bank, it is still considered by the United Nations to be one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the world. The need for tax revenue-financed services remains great.

Democracy and participation of women and marginalized people and participation of women has evolved since the introduction of multi-party democracy in Zambia. We have in the past seen and experienced a lot of interest and zeal from women, youth and the disabled participating in politics. However the levels of participation of women and other marginalized groups such as the youths and disabled people are still low.
Even though progress has been made in Zambia in increasing the participation of women in politics/government at all levels, from the local to the national level the number is still extremely low. The number of women in Parliament in Zambia is one of the lowest in the SADC region. This situation reveals that Zambia is one of the poorest performers on affirmative action in SADC. Currently, out of the 166 members of parliament (MPs) in Zambia, 18.1 percent represents the proportion of women; while 81.9 percent represents the male proportion. Despite effort to improve women participation in politics, there is a serious gender imbalance. Women have continued to be marginalized from the political sphere, often as a result of discriminatory practices, attitudes and gender norms.

Let’s take the case of women for instance, in Zambia despite women’s population being higher than that of men above 51% of the country’s population their participation in politics still low. Currently according to available data, Zambian women representation in parliament is at 17% and 9% at local government level which is far much below both the AU and the SADC threshold of ensuring that 50/50 representation of both men and women in politics and key decision making positions.

The same kind of scenario applies to youth participation in politics and key decision making position. We have lower youth participation in parliament and politics in Zambia. A few of our members of parliament are below the ages of 35. At local government level we have seen a slight improvement in young people taking up positions such as councilors but still there is an imbalance in terms of gender because the majority of them are males.
There is poor representation of people with disabilities in politics and key decision making positions almost at zero in the entire nation.
Some of the hindrances of the full participation of women and other marginalized groups in politics and key decision making in Zambia can be summarized as follows:

Patriarchal culture: Gender relations are products of male dominance over females based on patriarchal culture. It is the ideology of patriarchy which constrains women’s political role. The dominance of males over females in all spheres of life, both private (e.g. family) and public (e.g. politics and workplace) demonstrates the powerlessness and oppression of women. Dominance by males is reinforced by Zambian cultural values and customs which stress the father and husband as “heads” or power holders in the family, with women subservient to them, as well as gender role specialization. Both females and males have been socialized into, and most accept, their assigned roles. Therefore, socialization of women away from politics partly explains their under-representation in decision making.

Lack of Resources: Both Women and other marginalized groups generally lack resources, especially financial and educational, which would enable them to compete with other candidates, primarily male, in the political arena. Such a situation arises from both the predominant position of the male/husband, and the institution of ownership, especially as associated with capitalism. Both male dominance and economic (class) position determine women’s and other marginalized groups such as youths and people with disabilities access to resources and power.

Lack of Women’s Commitment or Lack of Unity Among Women: Divisions symbolized by the existence of numerous organizations advancing specific and divergent, and sometimes similar interests of women; and diversity on membership, with some groups consisting of semi-educated, while others have educated, professional women, have prevented a united stand against the government on the issue of underrepresentation.


Thematic focus

  • Social Protection
  • Tax Justice
  • Democracy and participation of women and marginalized people
  • Climate Change
  • Youth
  • Academia

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