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Gender

Issues mentioned include women’s role and position, vulnerability of widows, lack of economic opportunities, and the impact of HIV and AIDS. Women seem to be the more enthusiastic members of savings clubs and craft groups.

Sara was an orphan, has been widowed twice, and both her children have died. Her story reveals how precarious the position of a lone woman is, but also how the community helps women like her.

Grace is less vulnerable but her husband’s absence and attitude – he will only contribute to their son’s upbringing, and ignores their daughter’s needs – puts great economic pressure on her.

Anna is explicit about the need to be financially independent of men.

Ruth
describes some community activities and discussions but says “men dominate high positions”.

Mirriam’s story reveals how her father’s death brought poverty to his widow and children because his relatives took all the cattle and property, a practice she says no longer exists.

Some of the men also speak about gender issues. Dominic confesses they “suppress women a bit”, while Warren appreciates how hard they work: “Women are a better tool in this community.”

Project

Gender is a key theme of the Living with poverty: Zambia oral testimony project.

Testimonies

Anna: strong and hardworking

Benson: people need jobs

Dominic: valuing tradition

Edward: anxiety of poverty

Gilbert: cattle is wealth

Grandwell: sustained support

Mirriam: dedicated to others

Ruth: a mother’s struggle

Sara: coping without family

Utrina: working the land

Warren: the HIV burden

Grace: an open approach

Key themes

Introduction to the project

HIV and AIDS

Food security

Agriculture

Water and drought

Development

Survival strategies

Self-help and community support

Gender

Loans and debt

Political representation

The cycle of poverty

Education