Question- You have been a woman activist for several years, how could you describe your daily work?
Answer- I work in the rescue and restoration victims of abuse at different levels: domestic violence, sexual abuse and property, among others. The process is to identify areas in which citizens can’t afford legal aid, something quite general in the African context. The common point is that most of the victims are children or women; this is expected when there is not rule of law. We try to help people who are nobody and who have nobody who can help them.
Q - In legal aid to the marginalized, land issues constitute a major area of action of your Organization
A - Land is everything in Africa. If you have land, you can have a shelter; you can rent one of the room of your house, so that you have a source of income that enables to send your children to school. So it is clear than land is intimately related to human development. Following this argument, we can describe land rights as human rights.
Q - Taking into account the difficulties you are having in your daily activities, from where you get your strength?
A - The best part is getting a solution for the victim, for instance, in a recent case to take the land back to a woman who is standing alone with her three children. Most of the time we find devastated people, with no hope, but it is very motivating to find ways to help them out.
Q - What is the usual profile of victims you are working with?
A - Unfortunately, most of the cases are women but we are experiencing an increase of young children victims. Children that for instance were abandoned by their parents or orphaned children left behind as a consequence of the incidence of HIV/AIDS. Because of these contexts, most of the colleagues in the Organization are women although we recently had two new comers who were men. It is true that male students are becoming more interested and sensitive towards women’s rights.
Q - Society is obviously changing, but what about the institutional context in Zambia regarding your work?
A - Recently we have appreciated certain political will to be more involved in women’s rights. Indeed, the National Police has inaugurated the ‘Victims Support Unit’ that focuses basically on domestic violence. Police has become more family-oriented and they started even to ask our collaboration as advisers. These changes will lead us to open possibilities on promoting good governance in relation to women’s rights at a policy level.
Q - It seems by your explanations that your country is becoming a friendly environment for the promotion of women’s rights
A - Well it is true that there are many things to be done and we have to improve in many approaches, but what I have learnt from my experience is that working in partnership with the political framework is the only possibility to make things change and to advance. As an activist, I was during many years complaining about the absence of concrete policies, but I realized that it is better to collaborate, to make policy makers understand social realities in order to progress.