The Zambia Accountability Programme (ZAP) works to increase accountability in the delivery of public goods and services. Through technical assistance and grant mechanisms to partners, ZAP aims to ensure that public policy and democratic processes are more credible, inclusive and transparent and, importantly, represent citizens' interests. A particular emphasis is also placed on promoting gender equality and social inclusion.
Most recently, ZAP provided support to the Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) to help implement a project that focused on increasing female representation in elected positions at national and local levels ahead of the country’s recent elections.
To align with the longer-term objective to sustainably increasing women’s representation in Zambia, the project also focused on gender empowerment and building the confidence and capacity of further cohorts of women to become politically active.
The project commissioned a documentary to be made called Mothering Zambia about prominent female leaders in Zambia. The intention was for it to act as a case study for the gender empowerment work that ZAP and the ZNWL are undertaking to address the problem of the lack of female representation in politics.
On 6 March 2017, the ZAP team partnered with the British High Commission in Zambia to launch the film and host a panel discussion in conjunction with International Women’s Day. The theme of the discussion was ‘women in work’ and featured prominent female leaders from Zambia in politics, business, agriculture, and social activism.
At 24 years old, Buumba Malambo, Zambia’s youngest female local councillor, opened the event and shared the story of her path to politics, from social welfare student to councillor:
‘I don’t believe that women do not support fellow women. I received overwhelming support from women in my ward. In fact, the majority of my votes came from women.’
The event was held at the British High Commissioner’s residence and provided a visible platform to encourage dialogue and raise awareness about key topics in which ZAP, the British Council and the Department for International Development (DFID) seek to address in Zambia. Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, the British High Commissioner to Zambia, said:
‘Addressing inequality is essential to both the UK and Zambia. The UK is proud to work with government to champion opportunities for women as gender equality is not just a moral thing to do but makes economic sense.’
The event was broadcast live via Facebook and promoted by Zambian media, bloggers and influencers.
To widen out the conversation and continue it online, an associated social media campaign ran throughout the week. The campaign leveraged the global International Women’s Day theme #beboldforchange and #motheringzambia and engaged over 1,500 direct interactions (such as likes, shares, comments and retweets) on Facebook and Twitter.
The idea behind aligning with International Women’s Day was to generate a local dialogue around women’s representation as well as situate it in the global conversation.
The campaign culminated with the film airing on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation on International Women’s Day, 8 March.