The future is empowerment, the future is people

AS THE world prepares for an epochal transition, hopes will shift to our leaders and authority figures to help navigate into a less divided and more empowered future.
Pivotal to an empowered future is the role of Women in creation of sustainable economies.
The Sustainable Development Goals being blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, it is envisioned that they address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty and inequality.
The Zambian government, in its future facing approach to be a prosperous middle income nation by 2030, is already poised to lead this change.
Now is the best time to highlight the behind the scenes work of its Girls’ Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods (GEWEL) project by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and the Ministry of General Education in collaboration with the World Bank.
The GEWEL Project for Zambia supports Government to increase access to livelihood support for women and access to secondary education for disadvantaged adolescent girls in extremely poor households in selected districts.
The main beneficiaries of the project are women aged 19 to 64 who are fit for work and adolescent girls aged 14 to 18 living in extremely poor households in rural areas.
The project consists of three components: component 1, supporting women’s livelihoods; component 2, keeping girls in school; and component 3, institutional strengthening and systems building.
The project not only improves livelihoods and expands access to education through Components 1 and 2 but also aims to improve targeting by building and strengthening systems for implementation.
The creation of these systems under this project is expected to further increase the interest of Government (and external financiers) in investing in livelihood interventions and in covering secondary school fees by channelling funds through the systems that have been set up through this project.
GEWEL has enabled over 38,000 women in 51 districts across Zambia and looks to reach 100,000 women in 2020.
The project has been tremendously successful and has re-energized government approaches to strengthening Zambia’s social capital by supporting its women.
“The programme has been quite successful in surpassing the number of women we initially intended to reach. However, we want to make sure it is accessible across the country,” Cosmas Lukupulo, director, Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.
“Our next step is taking this from a project to a permanent government offering that we can sustain with our own funds and still be able to offer to every Zambian woman” Pamela Chibonga Kabamba, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development and Social Services
In its effort to bolster its future facing approach and make the project a permanent national offering, GEWEL has collaborated with the world’s leading design institute, the Royal College of Art and one of its MA students, Amogh Lux who has developed a future vision of  empowerment for GEWEL.
His project titled “#HerZambia Scheme”, is a national service vision focused on capacity building of rural Zambian women at the risk of poverty.
The scheme envisions empowering it’s beneficiaries to be catalysts for establishing regional food systems through inclusive smallholder farming activities and a cooperative business model.
Following the success of the GEWEL pilots and its impact, the scheme looks to further localize the efforts to improve gender empowerment and explore new styles of government intervention that are citizen led.
“The focus of this project with GEWEL was working closely with the vision of the team and the beneficiaries of the program to build a future together for a prosperous Zambia that is for everyone.
We speculate that in 10 years a scheme like this could help establish regional food systems that provide enough food, local economic opportunities and options for growth championed by communities in rural Zambia” Amogh Lux, MA Service Design graduate at the Royal College of Art in London.

The author is MA Design graduate from the Royal College of Arts in London with over five years’ experience in business design, social impact and digital adoption.

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