With 65% of Zambia’s population of 19 million comprising youth and an unemployment rate of 8%, there is a significant opportunity to harness this untapped resource to foster a culture of integrity and active participation in social and economic matters.

Corruption, defined as the misuse of public power for private gain, has cast a dismal shadow over both urban and rural areas. Marginalized groups, including youth, women, and persons with disabilities, are severely impacted by corruption and the misuse of public power.

To address this challenge, the Diaspora organization, Zambians Promoting Leadership in America (ZLA), in collaboration with Young Women in Action (YWA), launched a transformative initiative targeting youths to shift mindsets and position Zambia as a leader in the fight against corruption in Africa. The initiative started in Mongu, is youth-led and focused on empowering marginalized communities in the Mongu district of Western Province. Titled “Advancing the Role of Inclusive Participation in Countering Corruption to Dismantle Kleptocracy” (ARIPICK), the project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy and recognizes the urgent need to tackle the devastating effects of corruption to build a more just and equitable Zambia. Ultimately, this initiative aims to promote a zero-tolerance stance towards corruption in Zambia.

The ARIPICK project is distinguished by the strong backing of esteemed leaders, integrating the project deeply into the community fabric. The endorsement from the Barotseland Royal Establishment (BRE) serves as a powerful validation, aligning the project with Mongu’s rich cultural values. By endorsing the project, the BRE emphasizes that the fight against corruption aligns with Mongu’s core beliefs. This endorsement resonates deeply with the community and strengthens the project’s legitimacy.

Additionally, His Worship, the Mayor of Mongu, and the District Commissioners are vocal advocates, incorporating corruption awareness into their public addresses. Other engaged parties, including the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, and Education, Ward Councilors, law enforcement agencies, Transparency International – Zambia, the church, civil society organizations, the media, and schools, are also actively denouncing corruption. This unified commitment from stakeholders creates a compelling effort to achieve the shared goal of raising awareness about corruption and its reporting mechanisms.

The project team is implementing various interventions, including hosting capacity-building workshops, installing posters in public areas, suggestion boxes, and a billboard featuring an image of His Majesty the Litunga and the Mayor of Mongu. These measures aim to raise awareness about corruption, encourage community participation in reporting corrupt practices, and visibly demonstrate the unified commitment of local leaders and the community to combat corruption. A collaborative approach, supported by traditional and local leaders, is key to achieving sustainable change. This will be further amplified by the unveiling of the billboard, which will be erected alongside the road leading into Mongu. By empowering citizens and fostering collaboration, ZLA is committed to building a more transparent, accountable, and corruption-free Mongu district.

The project directly benefits 60 youth, 60 women, and 30 persons with disabilities, demonstrating the program’s value and coaching them to become change agents to sustain the project’s results. The goal is for these direct beneficiaries to become ambassadors of the program, subsequently sharing their experiences and knowledge with others. The interventions that have been completed to date in the three wards selected: Katongo, Mulambwa and Kambule have already increased their awareness of corruption and reporting mechanisms and have already shown a change in beliefs, attitudes and behaviours.

About ZLA:
Zambians Promoting Leadership in America (ZLA) serves as a bridge, fostering cohesiveness, and responsibility. The foundation’s strategic approach involves diaspora and youth engagement. As a visionary non-profit organisation based in Atlanta, ZLA commits to “shifting mindsets” to create lasting impact, fostering a generation of ethical leaders while addressing challenges that hinder the sector’s transparency and consistency.

About YWA:
Young Women in Action (YWA) is a membership, youth-led, youth-focused organisation that works to empower in and out-of-school girls and young women from the age of 15 to 35 years old in Zambia. The organisation was founded in June 2002 and has empowered over 5,000 girls and young women through its programming. This is done through capacity building, awareness raising, network-building, advocacy and lobbying. Currently, YWA is secretariat for a  network called MenEngage Zambia whose goal is to promote the involvement of men and boys in the fight against gender -based violence; promotion of gender equality; promotion and protection of children’s rights; and enhanced access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).

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