Empowering Zambians to Fight for their Rights

The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) in Lusaka, Zambia works with communities in to empower them to fight for their economic, social and cultural rights.

Many communities throughout Zambia have limited access to healthcare and education, as well as water and sanitation services. The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) in Lusaka, Zambia promotes access to to marginalised communities in Ndeke, Kitwe and Simoonga by providing training to local people.

In Simoonga, which has a population of more than 6,000 people, the lack of maternity services forced expectant mothers to deliver babies using traditional methods in their homes. After intervention from JCTR through lobbying a maternity ward has been constructed, which has reduced mortality rates and the health risks to mothers and babies.

The JCTR team also worked with community members in Simoonga to educate them about their economic, social and cultural rights. Since then local people have successfully lobbied for an improved water supply.

“After the training by JCTR which taught us our rights and how to advocate and lobby for social services, as a Ward Development Committee, we engaged the River Club director and lobbied for the installation of a water tank, to benefit the community. Within a month a tank was put up and now we have access to safe and clean water.” Caroline Semu

In Kitwe, following JCTR’s training for community members and other stakeholders in social accountability, the community in Wusakile felt the need to re-construct a vandalised clinic that had been vacant for some time. A community action group undertook a social audit on the clinic and the report was presented to a stakeholder meeting. As a result, the Ministry of Finance released funding through its Community Development Funds to refurbish the clinic. The community, which has more than 25,000 people has since been able to easily access medical care and health services in their area.

A social audit on the local clinic in Ndeke, by the community action group after engaging in training about human rights and social accountability, mobilised resources from community development funds which were used to upgrade a local clinic to a mini hospital, benefitting a population of more than fifty thousand people.

With thanks to the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection