The Standard Chartered Bank Women’s Build, is an annual event meant to highlight issues around women’s rights, the important role women play in the development of the country, the role shelter plays in the process of increasing equality of opportunity and outcome for women and the need for Zambia’s private sector to help the government reduce the housing deficit particularly among women, the poor and orphaned and vulnerable children.
The 2016 Women’s Build was held on 27th April in Makululu Township, Kabwe under the theme “Gender is my Agenda: Make it Happen”. A house was also dedicated to Kaluba Mukenisha of Makululu Township in Kabwe in reducing poverty housing among women particularly those with Orphaned and Vulnerable Children.
Gracing the event, the First Lady, Madam Esther Lungu emphasized that the Women’s Build is an important annual event meant to bring to the fore the issues around women’s property rights.
In her opening remarks, Madam Esther Lungu stated that this year’s theme is timely saying gender will always be an agenda for as long as women are treated as second-class citizens in the country.
“The president recently announced that the Patriotic Front will try to make a minimum of forty per cent of its parliamentary seats for women and other political parties have followed suit. Standard Chartered Bank has continued to finance the building of women’s houses and advocacy of women’s right and non-governmental organizations such as Habitat for Humanity Zambia lobby for women’s rights”, she said.
She added that gender parity will only arise if both men and women are given equal opportunities to succeed or fail and equal responsibility over their own lives and those of persons under their care.
“This cannot happen unless women have decent houses and that is why I support Habitat for Humanity Zambia in its quest to provide decent shelter. Just being role models in not enough, the Women’s Build event reminds us that we too, in our small way can help other women attain joy, freedom from poverty and provide a conducive environment in which they can thrive”, she stated.
The first Lady implored both men and women to make gender their agenda in order to attain gender parity.
She also awarded Mukenisha, the house beneficiary K5, 000 to be used to buy household assets.
And CEO for Standard Chartered Bank Zambia, Andrew Okai said Standard Chartered Bank Zambia has partnered with Habitat for Humanity globally to build homes for disadvantaged people in the communities.
He reminded that the bank strongly believes in making a positive, lasting impact in the communities where it operates describing the current living conditions of less privileged people in society as indeed a crisis.
“This year Standard Chartered bank celebrates 110 years of operating in Zambia. Through the years, we have partnered with our clients on business, economic development, girls’ education, health, the environment and sport”, he revealed.
And Habitat for Humanity Zambia Board Chair, Douglas Katengo stated that a home gives a sense of belonging, security, pride and hygiene. It provides an environment in which children can study and pursue an education.
In addition, it is also the first step in asset building as a family can own it as an asset that can be leveraged for other investments in the future. Most importantly and intangibly, a home bestows dignity and allows family members to hold their heads high.
“Unfortunately, as we build homes every day, still more people are thrust into homelessness and insecurity. It has been alluded that poverty has a woman’s face because out of the nearly 1.3 billion people living in poverty, 70% are women. Let us refuse poverty being associated with a woman’s face and let us make a contribution to the eradication of poverty by giving opportunity and hope of a different future to women, orphaned and vulnerable children”, he said.
He concluded by congratulations the First Lady for forming the Esther Lungu foundation in transforming many lives across the country.
There are more than 1.6 million OVCs in Zambia and over the past year, HFHZ has secured decent shelter for 1,620 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) in the country through the Pamwesu programme which targets the vulnerable groups of society.
The programme provides fully-subsidized three-roomed houses to vulnerable families who have little-to-no income and have Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) under their care, the aged and impoverished female-headed households.
All the houses Habitat Zambia constructs under this program are 100 per cent funded by foundations, institutions, international organisations and governments, local corporates, agencies, individuals, schools and churches.
Meanwhile, Kaluba Mukenisha the beneficiary of the housing project thanked the First Lady, Standard Chartered bank and HFHZ for empowering her family with a house and money.
She remarked that since 2001, she, her husband and three children have been living in a four roomed mud house roofed with old iron sheets held down by grass and big stones to prevent the roof from being blown away.
Mukenisha added that the house leaked in rainy season and has since developed cracks.
“To earn a living, I sell scones and my husband engages in old jobs like cleaning the lawn making about K100 per month. The money is mainly used to buy food as it is not enough to meet other household needs”, she narrated.