Delegation of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA

Improving health care and education services for women prisoners and circumstantial children through human right promotion

06/07/2018 - 11:44
Democracy and Human Rights

In three year time, to improve the living condition in 7 Zambian prisons, especially addressed to mothers and circumstantial children.

In three year time, to improve the living condition in 7 Zambian prisons, especially addressed to mothers and circumstantial children.


Total Cost (EUR): 336 806

EU contracted amount (EUR): 300 000

Duration: December 2015 - December 2018


Funding Instrument: European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)

Benefitting zone: Zambia


STORY: ZImproving health care and education services for women prisoners and circumstantial children

"Before CeLIM came on board, it was smelling badly because the sewer system was overwhelmed and because of the congestion. The prison is supposed to hold 120 inmates, but now it has over 400. We have had a number of programmes where we have cooperated with CeLIM, like the training of inmates in agriculture and a few others. That is a positive indication that we are moving in the right direction."

Mr Arthur Muchimba, Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Officer-In-Charge of the Mazabuka Correctional Centre



Inmates form a largely unseen yet constantly present community; a community with unique and shared realities often unimaginable on the other side of the walls. Confined and separated from loved ones, familiar spaces, activities and routines, inmates experience a disruption that affects their lives even after release. In Zambia, inmates’ experiences are made worse by the poor state of prisons. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, nutrition and healthcare, and lack of education opportunities are just some of the challenges in the system.


  • Overall Objective: Enhancement of the human right of Zambian prisoners within the framework of the Zambian Prisons Act Cap 97;
  • Specific Objective: In three year time, to improve the living conditions of prisoners in 7 Zambian correctional centres, focusing mainly on women, mothers and circumstantial children;


  • Provided quality health assistance to prisoners in targeted prisons;
  • Improved nutritional status for mothers and circumstantial children in targeted prisons;
  • Improved quality education for mothers and circumstantial children in targeted prisons;


Meet Lynn, 33, inmate in Mazabuka Correctionnal Centre

Lynn, 33, charged with possession of a live pangolin, has served four months of her five years sentence. She is a mother of a 10 month old baby who lives in the same cell. She says her experience is different from her idea of prison before. “This is the first time I have been in prison. I was here for about a few weeks when CeLIM came and taught the female section on cooking, health, nutrition, sanitation. It is from there that I got interested. Lynn says attending a week long programme on HIV/AIDS helped her look at it in a different way. “This was different because it empowered us to be encouraging to people that we are living with. "

“CeLIM gave us food and cleaning material. I cook porridge with my friends and we bring it to the males, females and the children.” Lynn, who came in with her child aged 10 months, said that even though she is supported by other inmates, it is quite tough as the baby is still young and hygiene is not good. 

“I have learned that we have to support each other in prison so that we can survive, especially for those who are sick and can’t help themselves. It is sad that it is only coming from one organisation [CeLIM], because they are the only people I have seen coming through, apart from churches that come at weekends. These people have been running this programme like running a home, every day they are checking up on you and finding out how you are doing.”

Lynn says she did not expect the sense of community she experiences. “What I knew of prison was that if you are convicted of a crime, people don’t value your presence. But coming here, my views are different, I know that when I am sick, there is someone will come in the morning to find out how I feel.” She puts in practice what she learned in the health trainings. “In the female section, there is me and another colleague. Every morning when we wake up, we ask our friends who is not feeling well. For basic illnesses like diarrhoea, we provide medicines. You know that you are cared for even when you are in here,” she says. “Everyone here has hope, when the Magistrate court says that you are convicted of a crime, the first thing that comes to your mind is I am dead, my life is finished, and there is nothing else that I can do. It is different to what I thought before I came here.”


  • Duration: December 2015 - December 2018
  • Rehabilitation of 3 kitchen in Mwembeshi Open Air, Mumbwa, and Mazabuka correctional centres
  • Health, Education, Nutrition and Horticulture trainings have been provided to inmates and prison officers in 7 correctional centres
  • Hygiene items, books, school material, food supplement for children, and health equipment have been provided to 7 correctional centres in Zambia
  • Clinics in 4 prisons have been rehabilitated or re-built by the project


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