THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF ZAMBIA SEXUAL REPRODUCTIVE AND HEALTH RIGHTS (SRHR), HIV AND AIDS AND GOVERNANCE PHASE II PROJECT (2019-2022)

The National Assembly of Zambia (NAZ) has commenced the implementation of phase II of the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), HIV and AIDS and Governance Project. Phase II for the project will run from 2019 to 2022, with support from the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADCPF). This follows the successful implementation of project activities under Phase I of the SRHR, HIV and AIDS and Governance Project from 2014 to 2018. In phase one the project worked closely with a National Working Group (NWG). The NWG played an instrumental role of providing technical support and evidence aimed at enhancing the capacity of Members of Parliament (MPs) to advocate for sexual reproductive and related rights through their parliamentary roles. The NWG under Phase I of the project consisted of selected United Nations Agencies operating in Zambia, Line Ministries, Quasi-Government institutions and Civil Society Organisations working in the area of SRHR, HIV and AIDS.

In the first phase of the project the NAZ made significant strides in its quest to realize the desired objectives and ultimately the vision of the project, which was to achieve universal access to integrated SRHR, HIV and AIDS and related rights, including bringing forward social change.

Following the good experiences of working with a NWG the NAZ convened a meeting on Tuesday, 10th December, 2019, at Parliament Buildings for the purposes of reconstituting the NWG. The meeting was officially opened by Hon Mwimba Malama, MP, Second Deputy Speaker. In his opening remarks, he explained that the implementation of the Project was in line with the National Assembly’s Strategic Plan, particularly, Strategic Objective number 2, on mainstreaming cross-cutting issues which include human rights, HIV and AIDS, gender and disability. This validates the commitment of the NAZ in working in the area of SRHR.  The Hon Second Deputy Speaker, explained that Parliamentarians contribute towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through their oversight functions, which gives them capacity to influence policy and budgetary allocations to the health sector. He further stated that the NWG was cardinal to the success of the project as it provided a platform for Members of Parliament, staff of the NAZ and other key stakeholders to interact and share knowledge on SRHR related issues.

 

The Hon Second Deputy Speaker acknowledged and appreciated the important role played by the Swedish Embassy in providing financial support to the project through its collaboration with the SADC PF. He assured the Swedish Embassy and SADC PF that the project is receiving support from the highest level of the Zambian Parliament. At operational level, he mentioned that the Office of the Clerk of the NAZ had undertaken efforts to ensure that the project is implemented diligently and prudently. To this end, a competent Project Team had been put in place to coordinate the project activities on a day to day basis. In conclusion he thanked all the institutions for responding positively to the NAZ’s request for them to be part of the reconstituted NWG that would give technical support to the Project.

 

The official opening Speech by the Second Deputy Speaker was preceded by a statement from Honourable Professor Nkandu Luo, MP, and Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, in her capacity as Chairperson of the National Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. The Minister emphasised the need to have such projects in the Legislature as it provided a platform to promote the agenda of gender equality and equity. The Deputy Clerk in charge of Administration, Mr Roy Ngulube, also assured stakeholders that the NAZ was committed to implementing the project meticulously.

 

 Elections were conducted to fill the positions of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and a Youth Representative.  The following were elected: Hon Dr Christopher Kalila, MP for Lukulu East Constituency as Chairperson; Ms Patricia Ndlovu, Executive Director for YWCA, as Vice Chairperson; and Mr Eric Kasomo, Programme Officer from Africa Directions as Youth Representative. The meeting went on to select fifteen (15) institutions to form the Technical Working Group (TWG). The TWG would work closely with the NAZ Project team   assigned to implement the SRHR, HIV and AIDS and Governance project on a day to day basis.

The Phase II Project which is implemented under the auspices of SADCPF with Financial support from The Swedish Embassy will focus on the following five (5) SRHR broad thematic areas:

  1. Gender Equality and Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV);
  2. Early and Unintended Pregnancy (EUP) and Safe Abortion;
  3. Commodity Security and Access to SRHR and HIV related services;
  4. Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE); and
  5. Non-Discrimination of key Populations.