JIMMY CHIBUYE, Gwembe
MINISTER of Community Development and Social Welfare Emerine Kabanshi is disappointed at the failure by her officers in Gwembe district in Southern Province to recruit 1,100 girls to be placed back into school this year under Government’s Keeping Girls in School programme.
And Government will recruit and equip 1,100 women in Gwembe with various survival and livelihood skills and empower them with K2,000 each as business start-up capital under the women empowerment programme.
Ms Kabanshi said it is disappointing that only 400 girls have been recruited and placed back into school out of the targeted 1,100 under the Keeping the Girls in School programme.
The Keeping Girls in School and Women Empowerment programmes are Government’s brainchild being piloted in Gwembe under the Girls Education and Women Empowerment Livelihood (GEWEL) project with support from the World Bank (WB).
Ms Kabanshi was speaking during the handover ceremony of a house built under the ministry’s self-help initiative and a Toyota Land Cruiser purchased for the Gwembe district community development office here yesterday.
“I expected to find 1,100 girls back in school but what I am seeing is very disappointing. I must say I am disappointed. Let me urge officers to up their game because next time I come here, I want to find all the girls in school,” she said.
Ms Kabanshi said the success of the programme will depend on the positives that will come out of the Gwembe pilot project and urged the officers to work hard to ensure the programme succeeds.
She said it is President Lungu’s desire that girls are educated and not being married off at a tender age.
She said President Lungu wants girls to become better mothers and leaders of the next generation.
On the women empowerment programme, Ms Kabanshi said Government will empower and support 1,100 women in Gwembe with various skills, ranging from fishing, trade, financial management and functional literacy, among other survival and livelihood skills.
She said the Gwembe programme will start with an initial of 600 women this year and 400 will be placed in the 2018 intake.
Mrs Kabanshi said the women empowerment programme has President Lungu’s full blessings and support because he believes that women play a cardinal role in poverty alleviation.
Southern Province permanent secretary Sibanze Simuchoba said the two programmes will help to uplift the livelihood of girls and women in the province.
Beatrice Jiwawa, a resident of Gwembe, said in a vote of thanks that women of Gwembe are indebted to President Lungu for his support towards the betterment of their lives.