Judith takes the lead

Judith Tembo Zulu (right) credits Lutheran World Federation training in leadership and gender equality for helping her become an area councillor in her ward. (with Jennifer Clark, Community Relations Assistant for Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR).)

You may remember Judith Tembo Zulu from CLWR’s 2009-2010 Annual Report. I was happy to meet her in person on a recent visit to her village in Zambia.

Judith is from Malata village, and is married with eight children. She dropped out of school at Grade 9 and was pushed into early marriage by her parents. When Lutheran World Federation (LWF) came to Malata, Judith received training in leadership, gender equality, and literacy. She became an adult literacy instructor for her community and was elected to lead the Malata Strategic Action Group, a grassroots committee responsible for managing development initiatives in the village. In August 2009, she successfully ran for public office and now serves as an area councillor for the Mkaika Ward in Katete District.

Now Judith is serving her second term as a councillor for Mkaika Ward, and she continues to thank LWF and CLWR for the guidance and training in leadership and gender equality that have helped her achieve her current role.

“In the past, women didn’t take up leadership roles,” says Judith. “But what is the difference between women and men? We have the same brains as men, so it means we are also fit to lead.”

Training in gender equality also helped her in her relationship with her husband. LWF staff and partners work with community members to discuss the roles of men and women and how they can work together. In the past, when Judith attended committee meetings, their children would be hungry because she was not home to cook for them and her husband would not help with household chores. Now, Judith says, her husband helps cook, and she also has a say in matters such as livestock.

As a councillor she represents 62 villages, and she credits her leadership training from LWF for her ability to present her ward’s needs to the local government. For example, she was able to get boreholes dug in Malata and in another village. She says that male councillors rarely serve for more than two terms, but she thinks that she can exceed that and continue for another term.

LWF will be moving out of Malata village in the spring of 2013, but Judith is confident that progress will continue, and that they can help other villages achieve their development goals.

“You have left us as children who are mature.”

-Jennifer Clark, Program Assistant-Community Relations, CLWR

Enock Oduro, CLWR Program Manager for Africa, and Jennifer Clark, CLWR Program Assistant – Community Relations visited Zambia’s Katete District from October 13-20, 2012. CLWR supports LWF-Zambia’s Rural Community Development and Empowerment (RCDE) project in Zambia’s Eastern Province, which works to improve health, education, human rights, food security, and the environment in partnership with community members. We were happy to visit their work in person and to meet some of the people Lutherans help from Canada with their prayers and donations.

Thank you to the LWF Katete staff for hosting us and for sharing their work with us! 

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