Abuse can have severe and long-lasting consequences says Namugala

First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, Honourable Catherine Namugala says, any form of abuse can have severe and long-lasting consequences on a person’s physical, mental and emotional health, and thereby impede a person’s contribution to the development process. She said this on Tuesday 5th November, 2019 at the Media and Visitors’ centre, at parliament Buildings during official opening of the safeguarding awareness training for Members of Parliament organised by Oxfam-Zambia.

Honourable Namugala said, she was confident that the topics of the training workshop which included among others, safeguarding in context; recognising safeguarding concerns; differences between safeguarding and protection; power, vulnerability and abuse; and sexual exploitation, abuse and its impact on the community and survivors would spur fruitful deliberations that will enhance as well as strengthen the role of parliamentarians in addressing safeguarding issues. She added that, the workshop would not only provide an opportunity for Members of Parliament to learn and share information on safeguarding, but also offer a platform for Honourable Members to appreciate and take a leading role in shaping the necessary policy and legislative framework against sexual violence and other forms of exploitation in Zambia.

Honourable Namugala thanked Oxfam-Zambia for partnering with the National Assembly of Zambia and providing technical and financial resources to ensure that the training workshop is successfully held.

Meanwhile, Clerk of the National Assembly of Zambia, Mrs Cecilia Mbewe in the speech read on her behalf by the Deputy Clerk (Procedure) Ms Cecilia Sikatele said, the training would serve to break the silence and persistent taboos often encountered when issues such as sexual harassment and Gender Based Violence (GBV) are tabled for discussion. She said the training will uncover the veil on some of the indicators of sexual harassment and exploitation and how someone can be safeguarded from insidious practices. She was happy to note that Parliamentarians would be provided with an opportunity to discuss corrective measures to ensure that everyone at Parliament operates in a respectful, safe and protective working environment.

Furthermore, Oxfam in Zambia Acting Country Director, Yvonne Chibiya said Safeguarding has become a big global issue and concern, and many institutions are aligning to safeguarding principles and creating safe and user friendly environments. Ms Chibiya said it is imperative that at societal and institutional levels, all pay particular attention to social norms and institute mechanisms that will advance, and at the same time, create safe spaces for individuals. She was hopeful that the two days safeguarding training and conversations thereof, would be of great value to the National Assembly.