EMPOWER Project Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony

Remarks by Political and Economic Affairs Officer David Reynolds
EMPOWER Project Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony
Ministry of Labor and Social Security, Lusaka, Zambia
October 4, 2018

Mr. Barnaby Mulenga, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Labor and Social Security
Mr. Beyant Kabwe, EMPOWER Project Director
Ms. Malika Magagula, Representative for Winrock International
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

Good morning.  On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I am delighted to participate in this signing ceremony between the Government of the Republic of Zambia and Winrock International, an implementing partner of a U.S. Department of Labor funded project entitled, EMPOWER: Increasing Economic and Social Empowerment for Adolescent Girls and Vulnerable Women in Zambia.

The EMPOWER project contributes to the U.S. government’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative.  The $5 million project aims to address, through education, issues of child labor and to increase women’s and girls’ access to meaningful employment.  Simply put, EMPOWER aims to do exactly what it says—to empower young women to build their communities and realize their full potential through entrepreneurship.

This project supports the Zambian government and private sector efforts in the fight against child labor by keeping children out of unacceptable work.  The MOU signed today will strengthen and facilitate our collaboration with the Zambian government through the Ministry of Labor and Social Security to reduce the prevalence of child labor.

While the EMPOWER project focuses on Eastern Province, it can serve as a model for the rest of the country.  We hope that the lessons learned from the cooperation between Winrock and the Ministry of Labor will apply to new government programs to reduce child labor across the country.

Through our annual report on child labor, the U.S. government remains a supportive partner of the Zambian government, particularly the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, to monitor the prevalence of child labor in Zambia.  The report serves as a valuable resource for research, advocacy, government action, and corporate responsibility on this important issue.  It covers countries all around the world and is available to the public on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

On behalf of the U.S. government, I wish to thank the Ministry of Labor and Social Security for its continued collaboration and support.  We look forward to strengthening this important partnership and further engagement on labor matters to the benefit of the Zambian people.

Thank you.