Tag Archives: Zambia

Zambia celebrates the United Nations International Peace Keepers’ Day “Together for Peace”

Every year on May 29 member states of the United Nations gather to pay tribute to heroes and heroines who have served and continue to serve in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations for their level of professionalism, dedication and courage as they put the lives of others before theirs. It is also a time to remember and reflect on those who have lost their in the course of peace.

Showcasing Zambia's participation in peacekeeping operations.

Showcasing Zambia’s participation in peacekeeping operations. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

The UN International Day of Peace Keepers was celebrated in Lusaka at The Cathedral of the Holy Cross where the United Nations in Zambia, Defense Forces namely The Zambia Army, Zambia Air force, Zambia Police Service and The Zambia National Service personnel held a joint church service under the theme “Together for Peace”

The Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Mr. Davis Mwango who was also the Guest of Honour in his speech urged all the defense personnel to remain focused and committed in maintaining the country’s peace. He emphasized that peace is valuable and can only be achieved at a cost which unfortunately includes human life. He reiterated that Zambia is a member of the international community and will remain committed to peacekeeping operations.

Representing the UN was Ms. Raki Sahi, the UN Zambia Security Advisor read the UN Secretary Generals Speech on his behalf and was quoted as follows “This year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers falls during the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, offering a chance to honor the invaluable contribution of the Blue Helmets to the proud history of the Organization. United Nations peacekeeping has given life to the UN Charter’s aim “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security”. Through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands”.

Furthermore she stated that Zambia has played an exemplary role in promoting and protecting peace. Zambia has accepted many thousands of men, women and children fleeing their own countries in fear of their lives. Thus, giving them a safe haven and protection within the country. Zambians have also generously gone far beyond its own borders in the service of peace Zambian military, police and civilian experts have served, and are serving this very day, in many peacekeeping missions around the world.

Showcasing Zambia's participation in peacekeeping operations.

Part of the Defense Forces who attended the Church Service. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

She also reminded the gathering that The United Nations in June 2014 honoured two fallen Zambian peacekeepers with the Dag Hammarskjöld medal for their gallantly. Major Alfred Richard Banda and Chief Inspector Ebert Sianyona died last year while serving with the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Furthermore, in July 2014 another Zambian working under the International Organization for Migration Mr. Felix Ngoma, was abducted by suspected Janjaweed militia in Sudan and was later released after 21 days in detention describing it as the most horrible time of his life.

In the sermon given by the Army Chaplain, Lt. Col. Reverend H.B. Moma on the theme for 2015, said peacemakers must rekindle their zeal for peaceful societies through creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. Praying for the country’s leadership because their decisions have great impact on citizens as well as setting an example as a community for peace.

After the service the invited guests were taken on a tour showcasing the different places were Zambia has served and is still serving in Peacekeeping Operations.

World Press Freedom Day 2015: Celebrated in Zambia

Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Press Freedom Day that falls on the 3rd May each year. This important day gives the media and various stakeholders time to reflect on what the men and women who give us information go through in order to get information to our” table”. This is the time when we look at the contribution that information plays in the development of the nation and the world at large.

World Press Freedom Day Parade.

World Press Freedom Day Parade.

The global theme was “Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, and Media Safety in the Digital Age and the Media in Zambia adopted “Women in the Media Digital Age”, the theme challenges the Media and Government to reflect on the use of new media and the responsibilities it comes with as well as the role women in the media are playing. It is important that as the media becomes involved in transforming societies through the new found media freedom, they should also be very responsible in the information that they put across.

The United Nations recognizes that information is the most powerful tool that can transform the nation, hence the need as to recognize that in order for a developing country like Zambia to move forward, it needs to work hand in hand with the media.

A number of activities were planned to mark the occasion as follows; a social media training for community radio stations and some main stream media houses was facilitated by BBC Media Action on April 28, 2015. The was a digital media exhibition held at Arcades Shopping mall in Lusaka were organizations such as UNESCO, Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS), Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM), Media Institute Southern Africa, Zambia Chapter (MISA-Zambia), Q FM Radio and others showcased various products in line with the theme for 2015, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Service Mr. Malama toured the exhibition and encouraged the media in Zambia to embrace good media ethics and technology in the execution of their duties.

Over the weekend on April 30, the scribes took time out from their notepads and pencils and engaged in social sports at Zamsure Sports Complex with games such as tug-of-war, football and netball that saw them battle it out in mixed teams for honors and later on had a social braai.

On May 4th, print and electronic media houses gathered for the official commemoration at the Freedom statue, beforehand, held a match past through the city centre after being flagged off by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Hon. Chishimba Kambwili MP. Speaking at the venue were Mr. Enoch Ngoma the chairperson of the 2015 organizing committee, the UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan and the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services. The chairperson of the organizing committee urged government to support the media, by enacting the access to information bill (ATI) and guaranteeing the safety of journalists from being harassed by political cadres. This sentiment was also affirmed by the Minister who said government will not protect anyone who harasses media personnel in the discharge of their duties.

The UN Resident Coordinator in her speech stated it is about living the aspirations of the young generation, providing them access to information and preparing them to make the right choices in life.  It is also about building new partnerships and working better together with media professionals for sustainable development across societies and countries. And, it is about unleashing our true commitment to leave no one behind and to create a more equal world. Quoting the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, “women remain underrepresented throughout the media, at decision-making level but also in the coverage of issues. We cannot let this stand. Men and women must participate equally in making and sharing the news.”

She said the stereotyped portrayal of women and girls in the media is not only unfair but it also harms them.  It contributes to harmful traditional practices, including child marriage.  It can encourage violence against women and girls and violation of their rights. In Zambia, hardly a day goes by without reading or hearing of a case of a woman beaten or raped; or a girl child who has been defiled.  I say to journalists: it is not enough to report these cases.  It is necessary to look beyond the incidents and plain numbers and investigate and report on the root causes of discrimination and violence against women and girls in this country. For the media have the power not only to influence government decisions and the direction of national policy, but also to raise a voice against discrimination, oppression and violence in society itself. Harnessing this unique power is key to promoting human rights and achieving equality.

At the event, MacPherson Mukuka, a journalist and a community radio station called Chikuni

Part of the participants who took part in the mentorship program at UNIC Lusaka.

Part of the participants who took part in the mentorship program at UNIC Lusaka.

radio received recognition awards, a Climate Change and UNESCO award sponsored by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, under the Climate Change Secretariat and UNESCO respectively. Both awards were presented by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Mr. Chishimba Kambwili.

May 5th was the climax of the press freedom day activities as veteran scribes got to mentor their juniors, the mentorship program was primarily focused on women in the media. The mentorship was held at the UN Information Centre and facilitated by Ms. Felistus Chipako, Chairperson of the Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA). Other notable speakers included Mr. Victor Mbumwae from the Ministry of Gender and Mr. Enock Ngoma a veteran journalist.

World Toilet Day November 19 End Open Defecation (EOD) a call to action

Chipata Compound, November 19, Lusaka-Every year on World Toilet Day and beyond, countries worldwide participate in the EOD and bring attention to other sanitary issues in places where there are no toilets or sanitary infrastructure  to use and people end up using the surrounding environment as an alternative. All these can be prevented if the practice of open defecation is stopped through the availability of toilets and other sanitary amenities.

Therefore this observance is a call to action for each and every one of us to break the silence

World Toilet Day November 19 End Open Defecation (EOD) a call to action

Some children reading on the mural signed by others.

with the target of ending the practice by 2025. Zambia is one of many countries in the developing world still grappling with the practice of open defecation in both rural and in high density areas in the cities. Preventable diseases like cholera among others have become perennial due to unhealthy sanitary practices.

However, hope is not lost as the practice of open defecation in communities is slowly being conquered through the support of UNICEF in collaboration with various water utility companies, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing in building toilets in various communities meant to improve the quality of life and reversing the mentioned impacts of open defecation. Some areas that have moved in a positive direction to end open defecation include Choma, Mkushi, Namwala, Monze and other areas in the country.

In Lusaka in some high density areas, the water utility company Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company is rehabilitating the water reticulation system and UNICEF is supporting the building of toilets and water collection points in the community.

On November 19 in Chipata Compound an awareness campaign took place. Drama was the mode of outreach used, the community was taught on the importance and benefits of having a toilet as opposed to using the surroundings sending a clear message that open defecation was a detrimental practice to the general well-being of the people and community.

In random interviews conducted in the community, the people stated that a toilet was a must in any household and brought dignity to its users and encouraged healthy life styles. It also ensured that the environment was kept clean. One area of Chipata compound was a beneficiary to the sanitary facilities built for them and have confirmed that even outbreaks of  water borne  diseases has drastically reduced.

UN in Zambia celebrates 69 years and 50 years of Zambia’s Independence Theme “50 years of Zambia in the United Nations”

The United Nations in Zambia used this year’s UN Day to mark Zambia’s 50 years in the United Nations.  UN Day is normally on 24 October but since it coincided with the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the country; it was agreed with the Secretariat for the 50th Anniversary to celebrate Saturday 11 October as UN Day, specifically designated in the official 50th Anniversary Celebration calendar for the country since it is a special year to celebrate Zambia’s relations with the UN. The day was marked with a series of events from 11th October to 23rd October 2014, which included a TV talk programme on ‘Zambia’s 50 Years in the United Nations’, a mini concert and a series of outreach programs in various localities.

UN Day celebrations- Dr. Charlotte Scot, Acting President Dr. Guy Scot and UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan

Right to Left- Dr. Charlotte Scott, Acting President Dr. Guy Scott and UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan during the UN Day reception at Taj Pamodzi Lusaka. October 11, 2014.

Prior to the evening Cocktail at the Taj Pamodzi, there was a mini concert at the Levy Junction Mall in Lusaka it was a concert full of entertainment by some of Zambia’s top musicians while members of staff interacted with the public and answered questions about the work of the United Nations, there was a cocktail with the partners of the UN in Zambia held at Taj Pamodzi Hotel, representing government, Civil Society Groups, media houses and various educational institutions. The Guest of Honor was the Republican Vice President Dr. Guy Scott, speaking at the reception the Resident Coordinator said the UN Day was an opportunity to acknowledge the role and support of member states, as it was them who develop, agree upon and implement the frameworks of international law and human rights that make the world safer and fairer. The role of the UN system is to support the member states in their endeavors.

She further thanked Zambia’s continued support in peacekeeping missions around the world and its continued humanitarian assistance in providing refuge to those running away from conflicts in the region. The Republican Vice-president also thanked the United Nations with its continued support of various developmental programs aimed at bettering the lives of the Zambian people.

Field Outreach was also conducted in Siavonga and in Solwezi between October 20 and 23, 2014. In Siavonga there was a meeting of Librarians and information managers from different schools, quasi-government and private institution where there was a discussion on the work of the UN, the Post 2015 agenda/Sustainable development Goals and its significance to the development agenda in Zambia and what role that Libraries, Archives and other information repositories can play in capacity building in the nation the Duty Minister of Education Professor Neverlyn Wilombe was guest of honor. UNHCR coordinated the UN day celebrations at the Maheba Refugee camp in Solwezi.

On October 19, 2014 there was a live TV discussion program on National television called National Watch which was also utilized as a mode of outreach, The Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan with Eminent politicians Dr. Vernon Mwaanga, who is also a former diplomat to the UN, Gen Malimba Masheke former Prime Minister in the first republic and Dr. Inonge Lewanika a former diplomat discussed the 50 years of Zambia a member state of the UN and the contributions it made has made towards world peace and security. They also called on the youth in the country to learn from the older generation as they are the future leaders of the country.

World Environment Day 2014: Tree Planting at National Heros Staduim

On 5th June Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the world environment day whose theme is “Raise your Voice not Greenhouse Gases and Protect Environment”. A number of activities were planned and the main event was a tree planting exercise in various locations which saw the participation of various government ministries, including senior government officers such as the Secretary to Cabinet Dr. Roland Msiska at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital which marked the official event World Environment Day and launch of Zambia’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations. The United Nations in Zambia, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and the United Nations Youth Association of Zambia (YUNA-Zambia) joined the Ministry Transport Works and Supply and Communications, at the newly built National Heroes Stadium.

Blessings Sinkala who is the YUNA Child Ambassador in her remarks, she stated the presence of Ministry and all the stakeholders bears a testimony to the importance of good relations between the Zambian Government, the youths and the stakeholders such as the United Nations and Standard Chartered Bank to share the responsibility to unite and Combat Climate Change.

She further raised a concern on the increment of Electricity Tariffs by the national utility company ZESCO at 24% for households, stating that it would cause the increase of charcoal production that will lead to massive deforestation in the country, furthermore, she encouraged everyone to stay focused in line with our visions such as vision 2030 which aims Zambia to become a middle income country and by attaining the MDGs by 2015.

Mr. Excellent Hachileka who was representing the United Nations, highlighted issues on the climate change policy, he said Zambia is losing its forest due to human activities such as unsustainable agricultural practices and deforestation, he said currently the country is losing 250 000 to 300 000 hectares’ of forest per year which will result in others parts of Zambia turning into deserts.

Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Director Mrs. Musonda reiterated that as a private entity was committed to issues of the environment hence its participation and partnership in noble causes like that of planting trees with the United Nations and Government. She further said that they would continue to support national tree planting exercises when called upon.

The Hon. Minister Mr. Yamfwa Mukanga MP in his remarks gave a brief background on the world environment day from its beginning, he shared with the gathering that the tree planting was also the part of Golden Jubilee as Zambia celebrates its 50 years of independence. The Minister agreed that the Ministry under his charge Transport, Works and Supply Communications has contributed to deforestation in the country as the government is pushing infrastructure development through activities such as new roads and new buildings across the country, he said despite this the ministry is very committed to replanting trees that are cut down during the development activities.

The Minister urged every Zambian to involve themselves in tree planting exercises, and he thanked the United Nations, Standard Chartered Bank Zambia, YUNA-Zambia and schools that participated in the exercise, about 100 plus trees were planted.

The United Nations in Zambia receive a new UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Janet Rogan

UN Resident Coordinator submitting credentials to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Ms Janet Rogan, yesterday presented her credentials to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon Mr Harry Kalaba MP.

During a brief ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Rogan commended Zambia for its exemplary role in the family of nations, fully in the spirit of the words of the UN Charter, promoting unity among all Zambians and living in peace over the fifty years since the country joined the United Nations as an independent state. “You (Zambia) have long been, and continue to be, a generous haven for those fleeing violent conflict.  You are now taking an innovative and people-centred approach to the sustainable integration of former refugees in Zambia, which may serve as a shining example to others,” said Ms Rogan.

Ms. Rogan congratulated Zambia on assuming Chairmanship of the United Nations Land Locked Developing Countries group.  She applauded the key role Zambia has played to date in the Post-2015 Dialogue, leading debate on the future direction of Sustainable Development and pressing globally for a bold and inspiring Post-2015 Development Agenda aimed at achieving fair socio-economic development, promoting democracy and protecting and preserving the rights of all people.  She reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to support Zambia’s own sustainable development priorities, including reducing poverty, equitable access to health and other services, and respect for the rule of law and human rights according to the Universal Declaration.  She expressed her personal commitment to supporting Zambia’s aims for women and youth, particularly the girl child and adolescents.

 

UN ZAMBIA JOINT STATEMENT INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, 2014

This year’s United Nations theme for International Women’s Day stresses that “Equality for women is progress for all.” Achieving equality for women and girls is important not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.

An investment in the improved health and education of women, leads directly to a healthier and

International Women's Day march past

Women in uniform marching

more prosperous household, village and larger community. Giving women the power to make choices over their lives is one of the first steps towards a world with zero hunger. In every country where UN works, including in Zambia, women are front and centre in programmes to tackle many development challenges, including food insecurity and nutrition.

“It is evident that equality for women and girls means progress for all. This simple fact must be central as we work to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 deadline, and design an ambitious agenda for the Post-2015,” said Martin Clemensson, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i in Zambia. “We are seeing some progress on gender equality indicators in the area of health and education; continued commitment and intentional policies and programmes however, are essential to accelerating the progress made so far.”

Over 50 per cent of Zambia’s population is female. The chance to go up the education chain, without having to drop out, be beaten or become a child labourer, and having the same access to skills and resources required to participate fully in the country’s economic development will more than double Zambia’s GDP, and halve the levels of child malnutrition and ill-health.

The UN in Zambia commends the efforts that have been taken by government to address Gender Based Violence in Zambia, through the enactment of the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act. The UN acknowledges the political commitment attached to this issue, and takes special note of the fact that work to establish ‘fast track courts” is being undertaken. The UN System is actively collaborating with Government, the Police and the Judiciary on these initiatives. “I have a message for every girl born today, and to every woman and girl on the planet: Realizing human rights and equality is not a dream, it is a duty of governments, the United Nations and every human being,” said the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon in his message on International Women’s Day.

The Secretary General also appealed men and boys to play their part. “All of us benefit when women and girls – your mothers, sisters, friends and colleagues — can reach their full potential.

Together, let us work for women’s rights, empowerment and gender equality as we strive to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable development. Equality for women is progress for all.”

INTERNATINAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, 27 JANUARY 2014 AT UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA CHRISTIAN CHAPEL

UNIC Lusaka, January 25, 2013- Zambia joined the rest of the international community in commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an important reminder of the universal lessons of the Holocaust, a unique evil which cannot simply be consigned to the past and forgotten especially at a time when in some parts of the world similar atrocities are being committed of indiscriminate killings of defenseless people mostly women and children.

“The Path to Nazi Genocide” was the focus of the theme for 2014 and looked at how the Nazi

H.E. Mr. Saul Radunsky, Australian Consular in Zambia making his remarks.

H.E. Mr. Saul Radunsky, Australian Consular in Zambia making his remarks.

rose to power and used its position to systematically target the Jews and others who they termed as racially inferior. 250 people were in attendance and included The Honorary Australian Consular, H.E. Saul Radunski, who is also Jewish and his family was directly affected by what happened during the war, Reverend Faerber, from Universal Peace Federation, Representatives from the Messianic Association of Zambia, the Jewish Community in Zambia, Jerusalem House of Prayer, Orthodox Jewish Community, Universal Peace Federation Zambia Chapter, High Schools Matero Girls, Rhodes Park, Thornpark and Jacaranda.

The primary focus of the commemoration was video presentation and discussion based on it entitled “The Path to Nazi Genocide” a synopsis of the movie was given to the audience prior to seeing the movie so that they had an understanding of what they were about to watch. This included an explanation of the theme, the message and the setting so that the audience better understood what they were watching and later be in a position to ask questions.

Charles Nonde, Team Assistant at UN Information Centre Lusaka told the audience that in addition to what they had read; the remembrance of the holocaust provides a way into discussing difficult issues such as racism, xenophobia, discrimination and bigotry among different faiths and diverse communities.

In his remarks H.E. Mr. Radunski, stressed the importance of never being used by the political mechanisms to mistreat others and use it as an excuse to kill others, he further said that children need to be inculcated with good values that teach tolerance and fairness for others this way society is groomed to live in peace and harmony, thereby averting any potential threats such as deliberate targeting of others with crimes of hate. Mr. George Okech, FAO Resident Representative read the UN Secretary Generals Message.

The keynote presentation was given by Reverend Faerber from the Universal Peace Federation, entitled “choosing the transformation to a culture of peace”, in it he emphasized the need to be conscious of the fact that people are different but they all have equal rights and opportunities. He also stated that political ideologies, cultural differences should not be used against each other. The youth present were urged not to be used by those pursuing selfish desires and suppressing the rights of others.

Rabbi Yalenga, lead the gathering into the Kaddish prayer and Ha-Tikva, thereafter a candle lighting ceremony in honor of those killed during the Holocaust.

Besides the presentation at the Christian Centre, the documentary was also shown on two TV stations namely Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and Prime TV with a total viewership of  8 million, social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter were used and bulk sms reached out a further 13 000 people and the following messages where sent out;

  1. Information on the Holocaust at www.yadvashem.org/holocaust, https://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/
  2. Intl Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust – watch 1 survivor’s story http://un4.me/7bo-en @7_billionothersMonday: Intl Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust. @UNHOP Education material, videos & more: http://j.mp/1fPKoWL

Questions arising from the screening of “The Path to Nazi Genocide”

  1. What was the holocaust?
  2. Why were the Jews killed?
  3. Why the Jewish people are hated so much around the world?
  4. Where did the Jews come from and why did they go to Germany?
  5. What does the symbol swastika mean?
  6. From the film, we have seen how innocent people suffered from the brutality, by the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. This has continued to happen in many parts of the world e.g. Syria, Afghanistan. What is the UN doing about these ongoing wars to make sure the lives of the people are protected?
  7. After the Jews were rescued from the concentration camps, where did they settle? And if they did settle in Germany were they given back their assets as well as their rights as citizens
  8. What was the purpose of the war in 1914? In addition, why did German people hate the Jews? What was the purpose of the Nazi genocide?
  9. What is Anti-Semitism?
  10. What is an ideological battle?
  11. How can the lesson gained from the factors that led to the beginning of the holocaust (e.g. Teacher’s neglect of bullying in schools) help us to deal with problems of gender equality between boys and girls in schools today?
  12. What do the letters NAZI mean?
  13. Did Hitler want his past doings be known in the future? If not, why would he allow media people to video tape and capture it?
  14. What happened to Hitler when he was younger? What made him attack the Jews?
  15. What happened to the people involved in the Nazi genocide?
  16. Is it true that Hitler was not a German? If so how did he infiltrate from where he belonged, Austria to Germany?
  17. Adolf Hitler was a determined person to bring about change, but why didn’t he bring about equality to all races?
  18. What benefit did Hitler find in killing the Jews?
  19. Why was Germanys’ military force reduced to 13% at the Versailles treaty after World War 1?
  20. As we remember the holocaust victims in Zambia, how does the UN in Zambia localizing the events so that young people and the society are being sensitized, beyond the gathering present?
  21. Apart from taking part in commemorating the holocaust, what can the Zambian youth especially students do to help the Jewish people and stop such atrocities from happening again?
  22. How can modern technology not be used to perpetuate crimes against humanity?
  23. What specific international laws have been put in place that prohibits the mass killings such as genocides and holocausts which are potential threats to the eruption of the third world war? How effective and serious are they if implemented?
  24. Are there still any survivors of the holocaust?
  25. Using the UN platform; are similar approaches (videos, narrations, dialogue) employed to assist war torn countries like Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, etc.?

Human Rights Day 2013

On December 10, 2013 The UN in Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the
Human Rights Day under the Theme “20 years working for your rights”. The UN Information Centre organized an edutainment outreach in the community of Chipata Compound, Lusaka through Taipa Community Theatre which focused the on the 20 achievements accomplished by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Taipa Community theatre members emphasing one of the twenty achievements of OCHCR

Taipa Community theatre members emphasing one of the twenty achievements of OCHCR

Other activities was the distribution of information flyers and sending of bulk sms messages in a “did you know format” focusing on the 20 achievements of OHCHR and where people could find information on human rights via the web or physical locations.

In related events, the UNDP Country Representative in the interim Ms. Viola Morgan at another function reiterated that the UN in Zambia will continue to foster and defend human rights and support the government of the day in its quest for a society that respects and up holds and recognizes that its people are equal and their rights are respected and defended.

UN ZAMBIA Joint Statement on World Population Day

World Population Day, commemorated each year on July 11 July, brings to the fore the demographic trends, dividends and challWorld Population Day 2013enges that impact societies the world over. The theme for this year is ‘adolescent pregnancy’. This is a topic that affects us all as policy makers, parents, teachers, students and friends.

Globally, too many of the estimated 16 million teenage girls who give birth each year never had the opportunity to plan their pregnancy.

In Zambia, over 30% of 15-19 year old girls have already been pregnant or have had a child. This is an alarming rate of pregnancy among adolescents. Zambia’s 2013 MDG Report indicates early marriage and adolescent pregnancy as two main triggers for the high maternal mortality rate in the country. 42% of Zambian women are married before the age of 18. Thirty eight mothers die each month due to complications relating to pregnancy and child birth. And many of these mothers are teenagers. Unsafe abortions, obstetric fistula, hemorrhage and malnutrition often result in young mothers facing a heightened risk of maternal complications, death and disability. Their children, even when surviving birth, face higher risks as well.

“Adolescent pregnancy is an abrupt disruption to education, and an end to childhood.

Keeping girls safe and in secondary school, enforcing laws that deter early marriage and harshly punish rape, and the active promotion and access to birth control and reproductive health education – this is what will break this cycle” said Kanni Wignaraja, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative.

Education and staying in school plays a major role in changing this situation. It creates awareness, it delays marriage and childbearing, and it reduces the otherwise high fertility rate. A Zambian woman with no formal education has a fertility rate of 8; with one year of secondary this halves to 4; and then it halves again to 2.4 with one year of tertiary education. This pattern also correlates with infant and child health. The better the education of the mother, the healthier the child. Good quality reproductive health services that cover family planning and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, must be readily available in order for adolescent boys and girls to make informed and healthy choices about the onset of sexual relations, pregnancy and child spacing.

On this World Population Day, the UN in Zambia calls on the government and all stakeholders to help make the right public policy choices and to invest resources in the education, health and wellbeing of adolescent girls. Every young girl, regardless of where she lives, her economic or social circumstances, has the right to enjoy and fulfill her potential. Today, too many girls in Zambia and across the world are denied that right. We can change that.