Building local democracy to empower the poor
“During last years fight for the NGO bill, civil society was caught unaware and it was difficult for us to come together and present a common stand. But now the civil sociey has created a joined forum, ready to act together and gain more influence.”
Rev. Malawo Matyola, Executive Secretary of Zambia Council for Social Development
Zambia's first president, Kenneth Kaunda, led the country as a one-party state from the independence until 1991, when a multi-party democracy system was introduced. But in reality, Zambia's democracy is still not working very well. Decisions are primarily made by the ruling party elite, while parliament and district authorities have very little say on matters of planning and budgeting.
Most poor people do not have any influence on the laws which decide how the resources are spent. They don't get regular information of what is going on, have limited access to participating in the public debate and hardly any influence on the decisions for development that are meant to improve their conditions. Very few belong to organised networks and associations who can speak on their behalf. This is why MS supports the strengthening of local democracy – to ensure that poor people's voices are heard to influence decisions.
How we work
In Zambia, MS ActionAid Denmark supports:
- Grassroot organisations which help local people organize themselves so that their rights and needs can be included in the policies which affect them. Networks also help people to share common experiences - for instance on better farming methods.
- Civil society organizations which analyse government policy and work to include pro-poor rights legislation and to coordinate civil society efforts.
- Women and youth organisations which enable these groups to participate in decision making and advocate gender equality.
- Advocating for the government's implementation of a decentralization policy to give people influence on plans, budgets and priorities in their locality.
We also support
In Zambia, many poor people are chased off their land because their land rights are not included in the legislation, because the management system is outdated and because of corruption and speculation in land. It is a disaster for many poor families who are totally dependent on the food they can grow on their plot. This is why MS supports Zambia Land Alliance and other partner organisations promoting a more equitable and transparent land policy.
Learn moreRead more about our work in ZambiaDocuments
21 November 2011 Many families in Rafael in eastern Zambia only had enough food to eat one meal a day three years ago. Today they have converted to conservation farming which has improved their livelihood hugely.
25 January 2011 Meet Lucas in Gaza, Suma in Nairobi, Kenya and Adam in the Kibera slums. Explore how they work - all examples of ActionAid Denmark's new personnel program in developing countries.
02 December 2010 SABMiller is evading tax in developing countries like Zambia, an ActionAid report has stated. But Zambian Breweries, a subsidiary of SABMiller strongly rejected the allegations made through a widely publicised report released on Monday saying it lacks accuracy and merit.
01 December 2010 ActionAid Zambia calls for accountability in the fight against HIV/AIDS and for the protection of Human rights
21 July 2010 Women from more than 50 villages in Zambia’s Central Province gathered together last week to give a piece of their minds to their chiefs. Nervous but certain the women asked for better rights and access to land. For most of them it was the first time to kneel down before their chief and express their concerns.
20 May 2010 Mary Banda has fought and won over a Zambian tradition that gives women less rights to land than men.
20 May 2010 Not all is well in the Zambian justice systems. The soon to be published findings of the Access to Justice project highlight some shortcomings in the way the justice system functions, starting from the Police, Legal Aid Board, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, all the way to the Courts (both local and traditional) and prisons around the country.
The Zambian Constitution is under review and the first draft constitution has been published. Some of the proposed changes have aroused public debate.
Corruption in Zambia
Every year billions of Kwacha that could have improved the lives of the poor people of Zambia ends up in brown envelopes for the benefit of very few people.
MS Zambia - ActionAid Zambia from July 1st
5011 Los Angeles Boulevard
P.O. Box 35788
Phone: +260 (0) 211 252605
Fax: +260 (0) 211 255593
Pres: Norma J. Martinez
Communications Advisor Zambia
Phone: +260 (0) 211 252605
Mobile: +260 (0) 974 122308