Dr. Agnes Ngoma Leslie a Senior Lecturer and Outreach Director at the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida, spoke to us about the importance of women getting involved in politics. She says having more politically involved women will increase women's voice in parliament and lead to better laws for women being passed in parliament. Dr. Leslie received her B.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Zambia and her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Florida. She teaches courses in African politics, Women and Politics and Human Rights in Africa. Her research focuses on social movements, citizenship, human rights, policy and development, and regional integration in Southern Africa. Her book: Social Movements and Democracy in Africa: The Impact of Women’s Rights in Botswana was published by Routledge in New York and London in 2006. She is a senior editor of Encyclopedia of African History and Culture: A Learning Source Book.
We sat down with Kathryn Koonce from the PEPFAR Zambia team to talk about the DREAMS writing challenge. DREAMS is an initiative to reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries including Zambia. The goal of DREAMS is to help girls develop into Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women.
2. What is your dream for young women in Zambia and how can you (as an individual) help make this dream a reality?
DREAMS is addressing the factors that directly and indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and a lack of education. It will be working in Lusaka, Ndola and Chingola.
It’s supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Girl Effect. In Zambia we are working closely with the National AIDS Council, UNAIDS and many other partners.
As we are leading to the launch of dreams at the end of January, we’re asking for young people in Zambia (from 15 to 24) to submit 600-word essays answering one of these two questions:
1. What is your dream for young women in Zambia and how can others (your family, community, school, government, etc.) help you, as an individual, achieve this dream?
Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Janet Deutsch and Cultural Affairs Specialist Austin Ngoma promoted U.S. exchange programs during a live, prime-time interview on University of Zambia (UNZA) radio, which broadcasts throughout the capital city. The PAO also shared how university students and faculty can benefit from Fulbright and Study of U.S. Institutes programs to advance their educational and professional skills. She also shared information about the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA), Pan-African Youth Leadership Program, and the Community Solutions Program.
We caught up with Aaron Mwewa, to talk about his experience in the Public Management track of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Aaron Mwewa is an award-winning media practitioner who has worked for over 10 years at national and international levels. As an assistant editor for Parliamentary publications in Zambia, he has the responsibility of expeditiously producing well-edited transcripts of the parliamentary debates, which are published as official records. He is skilled in community and resource mobilization, as well as providing media-related training and developing content for various media outlets. Aaron holds a degree majoring in Mass Communication and minoring in Development Studies from the University of Zambia. For now, his main driver is to help bridge the gap between Parliament and the people.
Office Deputy Director Jessica Healey and USAID DREAMS/Public Private
Partnership Advisor Lizzy Chanda explained to us the importance of
commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child, established on December 19, 2011, when the United Nations General Assembly
adopted Resolution 66/170. The purpose of the International Day of the
Girl Child is to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face
around the world. This year, the theme is "The Power of the Adolescent
Girl: the Vision for 2030" and USAID highlights some of its activities to
keep Zambian adolescents in school and support them to be empowered, AIDS-free,
mentored and safe.
We sat down with Mercedes Stickler and Stephen Brooks to discuss USAID’s Land Tenure program. The program leads efforts to incorporate effective and sustainable land and resource governance solutions into U.S. Government development strategies and U.S. private sector foreign investments that protect the livelihoods of the most vulnerable and support economic growth.
Strengthening land rights is central to ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient societies in the developing world, where over 70% of land is unregistered. Lack of secure property rights is a major constraint to economic growth, food security, good governance, conflict reduction and climate change resilience. USAID works to improve land and resource governance and strengthen property rights for all members of society, especially women.
Currently, USAID has land tenure programs in 24 countries, with a total investment value of over $300 million. This programming complies with international and demonstrated best practices that clarify the rights to use, control, transfer and allocate, land and resources while promoting sustainable land use practices.
The U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self Help Program & U.S.
African Development Foundation Small Grants share the same goals of providing
small-scale assistance directly to Zambian community based organizations as
part of an ongoing commitment by the U.S. government to support Zambian-driven
development activities on a local level. Due to their shared missions, the two
programs (SSH/ADF) are combined into one application and granting process which
is conducted on an annual basis.