AS Zambia joins the rest of the World in commemorating International Womens Day, today, 8th March, 2024, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) continues to promote gender equality and empowerment of women, who are often primary caregivers.

In commemorating the Day under the theme “Invest in Women and Girls: Accelerate Progress”, MLGRD Permanent Secretary in charge of Technical Services, Mr. Nicholas Phiri said the Ministry is elated that since the expansion of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in both scope and amount in 2022, with 20% of the Fund allocated to women youth and community empowerment, over 14,340 women groups have directly benefitted from women empowerment programmes under the CDF.

Mr Phiri stated that, under the CDF loan component, over 418 women groups have accessed low-interest loans to start or boost their businesses.

He stated that, in 2023, under the CDF skills bursary, a total of 18, 026 females acquired skills in various fields, while 11, 421 girls were funded under the secondary boarding school bursaries.

Mr Phiri said that all CDF empowerments are aligned with the Ministrys goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women through local developmental projects in all 156 Constituencies.

In response to its mandate, he said the Ministry has been promoting gender equality by developing over 7,622 CDF projects such as schools, boreholes, and hospitals, rehabilitation of feeder roads, and maternity annexes across the Country in the last two years.

“This is closely linked to womens empowerment as it alleviates their everyday challenges, such as walking long distances to access health facilities or water. This helps women engage in more productive roles and improve their livelihood,” Mr Phiri stated.

The Permanent Secretary stated that all registered business enterprises led by women are prioritised when selecting loan and grant beneficiaries of CDF.

He said the Government increased the CDF allocation in this years National Budget to K4,773,600,000.62, which translates to K30.6 million per Constituency. Of the K30.6 million, K1,530,000.00 has been reserved for women and youth empowerment in each Constituency as part of the Ministrys strategy to deliberately empower women.

Mr Phiri implored women to take advantage of the ongoing elections for the Ward Development Committees as well as Constituency Development Committees Countrywide to actively participate in the decision-making process on matters that affect their livelihoods.

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