Mobile Phone Projects in Zambia Creates Wealth for Women
The Chipata District Women’s Association is a community group set up by women to help them improve their livelihood.
The association provides support to women in learning new skills, improving their capacity to earn more income and live healthier lives. The Chipata DWDA is part of the network of DWDA’s in Eastern province. It is made up of 12 area associations located in remote areas namely: Jerusalem, Feni, Kataba, Chitandika, Rukuzye, Chipangali, Madzimoyo, Chiparamba, Kapara, Kwenje, Mwangazi and Mboza
The project seeks to improve the lives and livelihood opportunities of women in Chipata DWDA through access to information using Mobile phones and using the same tools to advocate for policies that will improve their societies.
OneWorld Africa and the Chipata District Women Development Association are committed to the vision that access to and the use of ICTs assists people and communities to have greater choice in determining and improving their lives and their standard of living- whether it be engaging governments around ICT policy or Poverty Reduction Support Programmes; advocating how ICTs support sector development in health, education, environment and food security delivery; raising awareness of how ICTs can promote debate and activism around culture, human rights, gender equality, HIV/AIDS and media; or networking with civil society and other development actors around the promotion of cheaper alternative technologies.
In 2006, OneWorld Africa conducted a capacity building workshop with selected women from the twelve areas associations. The training programme gave the participants an understanding on the Mobile phone project in relation to development issues. They also underwent sessions on SMS Text Messaging and Basic reporting skills.
Area associations are utilizing the phones to contact the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) on the produce sold to the organisation in the 2006-2007 farming season. The mobile phones assisted three area associations sell their produce at a good market price. This has made the three area associations rise money for their groups. This has in turn improved their livelihoods seen through the collections made after selling their produce. As at 18th February 2008, Mboza had collected K9, 000,000, Kwenje 7,000,000 and Jerusalem K6, 700,000 from FRA
Three area associations namely Kataba, Jerusalem and Feni have teamed up and formed a cooperative and thus were able to accesse inputs for the 2007-2008 farming season. They are using the phones to contact relevant officials in Chipata to effectively carry out plans and farming activities.
As a result of using the mobile phones in the area associations, the women have brought to the fore three issues for attention. The first being gender violence that has been witnessed in Feni area, whist 3 cases of child defilement were reported in Kataba and 6 land disputes were registered in the association.