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Mar8MonFemale empowerment and gender equity are top priority in the Zambia Territory. March 8, 2021 by Colonel Wendy Swan
For almost a century, The Salvation Army has been at work in the African country of Zambia. Identified by the World Bank as the 11th poorest nation in the world, 54 percent of Zambia’s 17 million people live on less than US$1.90 per day, with young women aged 15-35 making up more than 50 percent of the population. It has been said that women are the backbone of the Christian church throughout Africa, and the Army is no exception. More than 80 percent of the approximately 42,000 Salvationists in Zambia are female.
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Zambian Salvationist women are committed to equipping and empowering women and girls, both within the Army and beyond. Believing in a mighty God, they are tenacious in supporting each other and passionate about building up individuals, families and communities to overcome challenges.
Bolstered by Zambia’s Gender Equity and Equality Act, 2015, the Zambia Territory is taking a multi-faceted approach to ensure gender equity within the Army, empower women in the name of Jesus and actively search for new opportunities to improve.
In keeping with International Women’s Day, held each year on March 8 to celebrate the achievements of women and mark a call to action for accelerating women’s equality, below are some of the exciting things happening in the Zambia Territory.
Equipping the Saints—Gender Equity
- Launch of the “Women for Christ Zambia!” vision and communication strategy.
- Introduction of a gender equity track within the territorial strategic plan and human resource practices.
- Development of territorial gender equity, respectful workplace and fair treatment policies, the first in the Africa Zone.
- Completion of personnel records for all officers and employees.
- All officer women now hold their own bank accounts for receiving monthly allowances.
- Territorial boards, councils and boards of trustees have 40-50 percent female and generational representation.
- Establishment of a territorial moral and social issues council with female university student participation.
- Appointment of the territory’s first social justice co-ordinator who will focus on modern slavery and human trafficking (MSHT), protection of the vulnerable, and gender equity.
- First-time appraisals, spiritual gift assessments, professional development plans and future tracking of appointments for women leaders.
- Launch of community care ministries and production of a training manual, the first in the Africa Zone.
Empowering the Vulnerable
- Launch of a child protection policy, making The Salvation Army the first church in Zambia to do so.
- Education on social issues to help break the link between MSHT, poverty, early childhood marriages and illiteracy among girls in rural divisions.
- Community partnerships to bring awareness of gender-based violence using International Headquarters’ Let’s Talk about Partner Abuse resource and faith-based facilitation.
- Education of women and girls about critical health issues, such as hygiene, sexual awareness, cervical and breast cancer.
- Provision of micro-credit financing to women that enables them to provide for their families and plan for the future.
Exploring New Opportunities
- First intergenerational mother/ daughter weekends to be held this month under the theme “Brave, Beautiful, Blessed—That’s Me!” The two four-day events will bring more than 6,000 people together to explore God’s Word, celebrate each other and learn about social issues, such as MSHT and gender-based violence.
- Development of a women’s ministries social media platform to connect and encourage women.
- Plans to reconnect with the Army’s “missing generation,” young professional Salvationists who are not associated with a faith community.
Colonel Wendy Swan is the territorial president of women’s ministries in the Zambia Territory. Also contributing to this article were Lt-Colonel Beauty Kazimpangani, Major Mary Mizinga, Major Otilia Malunga and Captain Evelyn Chiloola.