Delegation of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA

Speech of Ambassador Mariani at the Signature Ceremony of the Financing Agreement on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Prevention and Support Programme

Lusaka, 19/02/2018 - 14:26, UNIQUE ID: 180219_6
Speeches of the Ambassador

Signing Ceremony of the SGBV programme

9th February 2018


Speaking points


Honourable Victoria Kalima, Minister of Gender of the Republic of Zambia

Mr. Fredson Yamba, Secretary to the Treasury and National Authorising Officer for the European Development Fund 

Honourable Members of Parliament

Permanent Secretaries and Senior Government Officials

Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Representatives of EU Member States

Members of Civil Society

Representatives of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Dear Friends




  • Today we are together for the signature of the financing agreement for a new programme on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Zambia. The European Union will contribute 25 Million Euro, which is more than 300 Million Zambian Kwacha.


  • This programme is the result of the fruitful political dialogue between Zambia and the European Union, where the importance of joint actions against GBV was mutually agreed and where the idea of this programme was born thus demonstrating with a concrete example how useful is the political dialogue co-chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU.

  • We are most grateful for the collaboration with Government; in this specific case in particular with the Ministry of Gender, which had the most important role in the programme's design and formulation. Wide and in-depth consultations have taken place with different ministries, EU Member States, UN-agencies, bilateral development partners, the World Bank, a good number of NGOs, and survivors of violence.


Why do we need such a programme?


  • Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is indeed a societal problem in Zambia. The data from the 2013/2014 Zambian Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) and the 2015 Zambia Health and Wellbeing Survey speak by themselves. For example:

    • 43% of Zambian women (age 15 -49) have ever experienced physical violence since age 15, with husbands or partners as the main perpetrators of physical, emotional and sexual violence;

    • 50% of young people age 18-24 have witnessed physical violence at home prior to the age of 18 – signalling that the exposure to violence happens at a young age in the households, leading to a sort of acceptability when one becomes an adult;

    • More than 30% of women (age 20 – 24) were first married by the age of 18

  • The high level of SGBV occurrence appears to be aggravated by an apparent "acceptance of violence", with 47% of women and 33% of men agreeing for instance that a husband is justified in beating his wife. This definitely requires social norm and mind set change.

  • Data also demonstrate low percentages of help seeking behaviour – linked to high levels of shame and stigma that surrounds SGBV, and little access to informal and formal support services for SGBV survivors. For example:

    • Approx. 20% of young women age 18-24 had experienced sexual abuse prior to age 18 – none of these young women received support;

    • From all women who had experienced any type of physical or sexual violence only 43% of women sought help to stop the violence, 9% never sought help but told someone; and 42% did not seek help and never told anyone;

    • Approx. 40% of young men age 18-21 had experienced physical violence prior to age 18, but only approx. 4.0% received support;

    • The first three quarters of 2017 saw 16,090 reported GBV cases, which compares to 13,092 over the same period in 2016, thus representing an 18.6% increase which is also due to improved awareness among victims.

    • Approx. 24% (5,000) of the total inmate population in Zambia's correctional facilities is incarcerated due to GBV-related incidents.


  • It is therefore clear that there is a need to focus on mind-set change and on increasing access to support services for survivors.


What will the programme concretely do?

  • The programme will be implemented between this year and 2024 in Luapula and Northern Province, whilst also providing support to national government to strengthen its institutional capacity and multi-sectoral coordination of the SGBV response.

  • Luapula and Northern Province were selected as unfortunately they score worse on some of the SGBV indicators, and also because these two provinces did not receive substantial support from other development partners.

  • The programme aims to (i) prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) by challenging and changing beliefs, attitudes and practices, and to (ii) increase SGBV survivors' access and use of comprehensive support services.

  • This may include:

    • Awareness raising amongst children and young peoplewith special attention for boys and young men, including age-appropriate Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE);

    • Partnering with traditional, religious and political leaders;

    • Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) through interpersonal communication, advocacy and awareness-raising, and community radio.

    • Support to informal social support groups and life-skills development and economic empowerment

    • Refurbishment of 20 Coordinated Response Centres (CRCs or One-Stop Centres) and/or 2 shelters, and provision of medical and office equipment and supplies, and vehicles for outreach and referral;

    • Sensitisation, training and mentorship of providers of SGBV support services;

    • Provision of psycho-social support related to SGBV;

    • Improving redress and prosecution of perpetrators of SGBV, whilst strengthening the link between traditional and local courts.


  • This programme will use a province-wide approach, including all 20 districts whilst reaching as many people as possible with programme interventions.


What are the guiding principles of implementation?

  • Country ownership and government leadership are essential for the European Union and they are a key principle of this programme. As such, the programme will be implemented under the leadership of the Ministry of Gender, in close collaboration with key ministries involved in the SGBV response as well as the provincial and district government. It will aim to use and strengthen existing structures during programme implementation. Implementing partners will not work in isolation, but will work in partnership with government.

  • Further, the programme will use a flexible, multi-sectoral, comprehensive, evidence driven, inclusive and right-based approach, responding to specific needs of the population in the target areas as well as responding to concrete demands from government in the prevention and response to SGBV.

  • Sustainability will be addressed from the start. The focus will be on practical, simple and cost-effective solutions, systems strengthening, standardization and roll-out of existing tools and materials.


When can you see the start of implementation?

  • In the coming months the European Union and the government will launch a Call for Proposals and an international tender. As procurement processes take time to secure competition and best value for money in the interest of the people of Zambia, we expect that implementation will start early 2019.

  • That said, some important activities can start in the next few months as the European Union will sign a contract with Lifeline/ Child Line Zambia concerning the provision of psycho-social counselling by phone. In this context, please note that this service is already existing, operating 24/7 and free of charge. I would like to encourage everybody who is concerned to make use of this service. You can call anytime either 933 (Gender Based Violence Helpline) or 116 (Child Helpline).

  • A contract also will be signed with BBC Media Action concerning mass communication on SGBV through community radios combined with community dialogue and engagement. This will be implemented in Northern Province and Luapula Province in the second half of 2018.



  • We are extremely pleased with today’s signature of the Financing Agreement of the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) programme.

  • We are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, and the other key ministries involved in prevention of SGBV and the delivery of services to SGBV survivors.


Thank you.


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