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Picture of Nthalire women stand up for their rights
Justice and Peace Desk Empowers Women to Defend Their Rights

By Violet Maluwa- Tfm reporter

As one way of taking an active role in defending their rights, women from Nthalire invited traditional and community leaders to an interface meeting to demand their right of access to development assets.

This comes against the background that although government and other stakeholders are committed to empower women in various sectors, oppression of women in developmental activities continues.

During the interface meeting, women presented a petition to leaders outlining their grievances for the traditional and community leaders to address. Some of these problems include limited access to land, negative cultural beliefs which put women secondary to men and being denied freedom to engage in economic activities such as businesses.

Picture of Nthalire women stand up for their rights
Nthalire women stand up for their rights

Speaking in an interview, one of the women who presented the letter, Emily Ng’ambi said some traditional leaders take part in oppressing women in various ways.

“We thought of calling for these discussions because we know that chiefs ought to defend us each time we are subjected to such oppression. Unfortunately they seem not to mind. We are being oppressed every day and traditional leaders do not hear our cry,” lamented Emily Ng’ambi.

She added that with they are optimistic that what they have presented has awakened their traditional leaders from their slumber and that they will act on their concerns.

Meanwhile Senior Group Village Headman Chimatulo has committed himself to ensure that women are given freedom to participate in all spheres of life. He has since urged other traditional leaders to make sure that women are treated with dignity that befits every human being.

Similar meetings targeting various leaders have been held in Chisenga, Wenya, and Thumbo. Justice and Peace Desk through the Community Managed Women’s Rights Advocacy Project is empowering women to demand. The project is supported by Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

Picture of Women captured in a task force meeting
Women Groups Call For Interface Meeting With Chiefs

By Vincent Bwinga (Justice and Peace Field Officer)

In response to the prevailing conditions, compounded by negative socio-cultural beliefs, which prevent women from enjoying their rights, women and girls groups in the areas of traditional authorities Nthalire and Wenya have decided to break the silence and stand up for their rights by taking duty bearers to task.

Women have since summoned chiefs and other prominent members in the area to an interface meeting. In the letter which women have addressed to chiefs in the two traditional authorities, women have cited for example limited access to productive assets like land and limited participation of women in decision making processes.

According to the letter signed by women’s task force members, women have called on chiefs and all men in the area to take action to ensure that women also enjoy their economic and political rights; through permanent land tenure and appointment or election into leadership position.

“We are prepared to face chiefs during this interface meeting. It is high time we [women] voiced out our concern and advocate for our own rights in our community,” said Tereza Mkamanga, Chairperson for Nthalire Women Task Force.

Denzie Kayira from traditional Authority Mwenewenya said that women experience so many challenges in their villages but they fail to speak out due to culture of silence which prevents them from doing so.

He further said that through women group mentoring sessions organized by Justice and Peace Desk, women have realized their rights, hence the urge to demand them from their leaders.

Over 100 women from Thumbo, Chisenga, Nthalire and Wenya have formed task forces in their zones to mobilize fellow women to participate in the interface meetings. This is an initiative under the Catholic Agency for Oversea Development funded women’s rights projects which encourages women to take an active role in defending their rights.