NKOLE MULAMBIA, Ndola
THE Copperbelt has recorded a notable rise in reports of gender-based violence (GBV) with cases almost doubling to 4,246 in 2014, from 2,626 in 2013.
This is according to statistics from the Victim Support Unit (VSU) of the Zambia Police Service.
However, Government has intensified efforts to reduce the vice by partnering with international-based organisations to implement the one-stop centre for GBV victims in various districts.
Organisations such as United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Kingdomâ€™s Department for International Development (DFID) have funded Expanded Church Response, Zambia Centre for Communication Programme (ZCCP) and Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) Zambia to execute the project.
Recently, the facility was launched in Luanshya district on the Copperbelt province with over 171,000 people expected to benefit.
The five-year project is designed under a model aimed at giving services to survivors of GBV.
Copperbelt province permanent secretary Howard Sikwela says bringing stakeholders under one roof will make it easy for victims in the area to access psychological and legal services.
â€œThe survivors will now access services from stakeholders such as medical doctors, Victim Support Unit of the police, and social welfare,â€ Rev Sikwela said.
The programme recognises protection of survivors of GBV at community and institutional level as critical.
He says the programme will reach as many people as possible with information on the negative effects of GBV and how these cases can be mitigated from a social and legal perspective.
The project is currently operating in selected districts across the country namely Chinsali, Chipata, Choma, Kabwe, Kapiri Mposhi, Kafue, Kasama, Katete, Kitwe, Livingstone, Lusaka, Mansa, Mazabuka, Monze, Mongu, Nakonde, Ndola and Chongwe.
The direct-to-Government one stop centres are in Mumbwa, Chibombo, Chingola, Nyimba, Mpika, Monze, Kalomo and now Luanshya.
With the service available in Luanshya, the community is elated with the project especially that such a service lacked in the area for a long time and people had nowhere to go to, according to district medical officer, Peter Mulenga.
Dr Mulenga said the project is essential as it will cater for neighbouring towns such as Mpongwe, Masaiti and Ndola. He appealed to stakeholders to partner with implementing agencies to ensure its success.
Expanded Church Response OFFICIALReverend Troy Lewis said his organisation is keen to help fund technical support to the project to ensure its success as the church appreciates the need to get involved in such activities.
Reverend Roy urged the public particularly those that have been physically abused to utilise the facility for the betterment of their wealth.
At national level, Government has developed the framework that will provide guidance in responding to incidences of GBV using the law.
These include the Anti Gender-Based Violence Act of 2011, National Gender Policy of 2000 currently under review, National Gender Communication Plan 2010 to 2014, the National Guidelines of Multi -disciplinary Management of Gender-Based Violence of 2011.
Through these, Government is committed to addressing the existing gender inequalities and gaps in its pursuit to attaining national development and committing to national and international conventionalÂ protocols.
In this respect, Government wants to ensure that all policies and programmes are gender-mainstreamed, including incorporation of the gender equity perspective in all development policies, legislation, strategies and intervention at all levels of society to affect positively on women and men.
And over the years, communities have come to appreciate the anti-gender based violence campaign and the call for gender equity and equality. What remains is for men to come on board so that they too could become champions of the gender equality crusade.
NKOLE MULAMBIA, Ndola