In support of the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, representatives from Delegation of the European Union to Zambia as well as EU Member States joined a community conversation on the 29th November, discussing gender based violence (GBV) in the peri urban community of Bauleni compound, Lusaka. The Ambassador of the European Union was joined by Ambassadors/High Commissioners of France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and Great Britain as well as representatives from the Embassy of Sweden, Ireland, and Finland to show support in the fight against GBV in Zambia. The event was organised by the Non-Government Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) and its member organisations, including the Young Women's Christian Association, who brought GBV survivors and perpetrators, as well as members of the community together for a lively discussion of their experiences and how communities themselves believe we can work together to tackle GBV in Zambia, particularly violence against women and girls.
In Zambia, 43% of women (age 15-49) have experienced physical violence since age 15, with current or former husbands/ partners as the main perpetrators of physical, emotional and sexual violence. Many of the survivors present at the conversation emphasized the importance of providing support that people are able to access, particularly those that live in under privileged communities. Perpetrators of GBV as well as survivors discussed how important community sensitization is to overcome harmful practices and beliefs that perpetuate this form of violence. It was highlighted that it will take the coming together of all relevant institutions- including the justice sector and police, social welfare, the church and traditional leadership- to overcome this problem in Zambia. The Ambassador of the European Union, Alessandro Mariani, emphasized how important it is that we start the fight against GBV right now. In his speech, H.E Mariani stated that "we stand with the people and government of Zambia who are condemning all forms of violence, recognizing the overwhelming burden of violence against women and girls, and reaffirming our commitment to ending GBV". He detailed current and future programmes the EU has in place to support Zambia in combatting GBV, in line with European Union's Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategy for Zambia, jointly agreed by all EU Member States, that includes the fight against gender-based violence and the advancement of women's and girls' rights.
See below the link to the Speech of Ambassador Mariani