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Irene has been a member of the Kabwadu Women’s Farming Group for six years. In that time, she has gone from working as a labourer on the local commercial farm, to being a co-producer at an award-winning Oxfam-supported banana farm. (Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Oxfam)

  • Population: 15 million (July 2015 est.)
  • Human Development Index: 139 (among 188 countries)
  • GDP per capita: US $4,100 (2014 est.)
  • Population below poverty line: 60.5% (2010 est.)

Source: CIA – The World Factbook (as of 30 December, 2015), Human Development Report 2015

 

Oxfam in Zambia

Oxfam has been working in Zambia since the early 1980s. Working with partners and stakeholders, our programmes include developing sustainable livelihoods within the context of HIV and AIDS, health and education, water and sanitation, and strengthening community capacity to cope with disasters. In 2013-14, 60,000 people in Zambia benefited from Oxfam's work.

 

Focus of our work:

Economic justice – Increase income levels for vulnerable households by developing active citizenship in policymaking on economic development. We also work to improve the governance of foreign direct investment and develop the capacity of smallholder farmers so that they are engaged in markets.

Education and health – Ensure access to quality education by implementing the community school guidelines. We also campaign to increase the budget allocated to health services so as to reduce maternal mortality rates, and improve HIV and AIDS service delivery.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) – Promote the basic rights of marginalised people, especially women, to access adequate, inclusive and sustainable WASH services in rural and urban areas.
Humanitarian response – Promote sustainable livelihoods for poor people by enhancing their resilience and capacity to mitigate and recover from disasters.
Gender justice – Promote gender equality by improving the policy environment, and challenging attitudes and social or cultural norms in society, especially those related to gender-based violence.

 

Impact of our work:

'I feel it’s changing in my life because I am attached to this project, but I am mindful of others who don’t have what they need.'

Irene belongs to a group of 20 women farmers who have invested their skills, time, and energy in one high-value crop, and are achieving extraordinary results. Not only have the farmers established a profitable banana farm - they earn 2,000 kwacha per tonne (2.00 kwacha/kg), the same income per tonne as the biggest commercial farmer in the country - but the bananas they supply to supermarkets in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, are now award-winning. The project is now implemented directly by Oxfam.

Since joining the project six years ago, Irene’s life and the lives of her fellow farmers have changed for the better. Irene can now feed her family without worrying about how the climate will affect her crops, without risking her life to collect water, and without having to explain to her children why they can only have one meal each day and have to go to sleep hungry. She can pay for her son to train to become a driver and for her children to go to secondary school. She can cook food in sturdy saucepans and can start saving to build and own a house.