The Zambia Accountability Programme (ZAP) is working to increase government accountability in the allocation of public goods and the management of economic growth.
ZAP will deliver, ‘Supporting the Implementation of Zambia’s Elections’ (SIZE), a new 1.5 million euro project funded by the European Union. It aims to strengthen electoral participation and representation, contribute to a positive electoral environment for citizens to exercise their right to vote, and the conduct of free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections in 2016.
In recent history, Zambia has experienced a decline in voter turnout. Only 32.36 per cent of the population voted in the last presidential by-election, which was held in January 2015. In some provinces it was revealed there was little above 20 per cent according to regional variations in voter turnout.
The low rate of women’s representation in Zambian political life is well documented, with only 14.6 per cent voting at national level, and 5.8 per cent at local level. There is an urgent requirement to tackle some of these trends if the elections are to be truly reflective of the majority of Zambians’ interests, as Zambia is currently gearing up for tripartite elections in late 2016.
The SIZE project has four main interventions:
- Increasing and improving issues-based civic education;
- Strengthening and supporting domestic election observation;
- Supporting independent election results verification through a parallel vote tabulation exercise; and
- Increasing women’s representation in elected positions at national and local levels.
In order to maximise donor coordination and to benefit from economies of scale, the SIZE project will provide ‘top up’ funds to deepen, or widen, planned or existing ZAP interventions. It also features a post-elections project that focuses on gender empowerment. This project will support women elected to political office, particularly newly elected representatives, and build the confidence and capacity of further cohorts of women to become politically active, with a longer term objective of increasing women’s representation in Zambia in a sustainable way.