UNDP Applauds Traditional Leadership and Commitment to End Gender-Based Violence by Establishing Anti-GBV Village-Led One Stop Centres

Launch of VLOSCs in Rural Zambia to Prevent GBV

November 18, 2023
launch of maguya VLOSC

Deputy Permanent Secretary, Eastern Province; Beauty Undi-Phiri with His Royal Highness Chief Maguya (in Black Suit), Deputy Resident Representative (left of Chief), Chipata District Commissioner Elida Mwanza Banda with Zikhalo Phiri Executive Director of Young Happy Healthy & Safe (YHHS) (far left)

UNDP Zambia

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Zambia has commended traditional leaders in Chief Chanje and Maguya in Chipangali and Chipata districts respectively, for their willingness to host and support the recently launched two Anti-GBV and Community Development Village-Led One Stop Centres (VLOSC) in the two districts.

The VLOSCs, which have been made possible by the Governments of Ireland and Sweden will provide GBV survivors and persons at risk (including children and adolescents) to have increased access to and utilize quality GBV prevention and response services. 

Speaking during the launch of Maguya Anti-GBV VLOSC, which have been supported by the GRZ-UN Joint Programme Against GBV Phase II, Ethel Bangwayo, Acting Deputy Resident Representative noted that “traditional leaders are a cornerstone in modeling our traditions and culture and reaching out to most of our people in the chiefdoms. The role that their Royal Highnesses play in fostering women and girls’ empowerment, development, peace, unity, and stability is highly commendable.”

The launch, which took place on 15th and 16th November 2023 in Chief Chanje and Chief Maguya respectively, brought together local stakeholders including chiefdom subjects and Government officials. The Young Happy Healthy and Safe (YHHS) was also present to provide technical support as an implementing partner to UNDP. 

The gravity of GBV in Eastern Province is evidenced by statistics from Zambia Police Service, which reveal a startling trend that needs to be curbed. In the third quarter of 2023, over 10,000 GBV cases were recorded nationally of which 2,550 were child victims.  The statistics further reveal that women have continued to suffer the brunt of GBV; 7,943 were females whilst 2,491 were males. Eastern Province alone recorded 682 of the total national GBV cases. 

DPS Beauty Undi Phiri

During the launch of the two VLOSCs in Eastern province, Deputy Permanent Secretary Beauty Undi-Phiri heralded the role of traditional leaders in the fight against GBV and early marriages.

UNDP Zambia
“Zambia is currently witnessing a heightened progressive approach to anti-GBV programmes by traditional leaders across the country. This new trend has set a tone of zero tolerance for GBV and early marriages I most chiefdoms as well as giving assurance of the traditional leaderships’ commitment towards embracing a progressive future”
— Beauty Undi Phiri, Deputy Permanent Secretary

The launch of both centres has turned Chief Maguya’s lamentation into joy because past experiences in his community showed that low levels of awareness of survivors’ rights and a lack of access to health, legal and psychological services. Further to this, most cases were not reported. However, with the VLOSCs now right in the heart of each Chiefdom, case reporting and handling will be quick and smooth.

With the Chiefs as GBV Champions, addressing the social and cultural norms that exacerbate GBV will be facilitated through community engagement and community dialogue. The centres are now more than for reporting cases as it was in 2015 in Nyamphande. They will offer space for women’s economic empowerment. The centres will offer basic services to GBV survivors including health care, psychosocial support, legal information and support and referrals to other specialised service providers such as health centres, police and the courts, all under one roof. These VLOSC will serve time and money for survivors because access to these services will now be availed in the village at no cost.

To ensure sustainability of the VLOSC both Chief Chanje and Chief Maguya have observed the need for their own initiatives to generate income for the purpose of maintenance of the Centres. These will include minimal community costs on a monthly land allocation to the VLOSCs for agriculture activities to sustain the interventions at the centre beyond the life cycle of the GBVII Joint Programme.

The joint programme on GBV phase II is a multi-partner programme designed to reduce the prevalence of GBV cases in Zambia. It is envisioned that by improving prevention and response strategies that focus on strengthening existing institutional structures, comprehensive and multi-sectoral services will be provided.  The overall phase II GRZ_UN Joint Programme focuses on prevention and response at sub-national and national level. The response component includes four key elements, namely, Anti-GBV fast track courts (FTCs), one stop centres (OSCs), shelters, and village led and community development one stop centres (VLOSC) as avenues for strengthening service provision.

UNDP works along side other UN agencies (UNICEF, UNFPA, IOM and ILO) to fulfill provision of a comprehensive anti-GBV package.