Lusaka. June 21, 2014.
LUFWANYAMA — The United States and Zambian governments joined together with Her Royal Highness Chieftainess Shimukunami VIII of the Lamba people, Shimukunami Chiefdom, to launch a strategic plan that defines the chiefdom’s development aspirations and delivers the first-ever roadmap to achieve those goals. On June 21, the launch took place during the Mutamfya Nsala (One Who Banishes Hunger) traditional ceremony in the Copperbelt Province.
The Support to HIV/AIDS Response in Zambia II (SHARe II) activity, funded by the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Shimukunami Chiefdom, collaborated with John Snow, Inc. and four Zambian ministries—Agriculture and Livestock; Chiefs and Traditional Affairs; Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education; and Health—to develop the Shimukunami Chiefdom Development Strategic Plan for 2014 to 2018.
“Today’s launch demonstrates a motivated community taking control of its development agenda to improve living standards,” noted Dr. Susan Brems, USAID/Zambia Mission Director. “This plan is an excellent example of how chiefdoms can exercise leadership on HIV and AIDS issues through a people-driven, democratic process.”
With an adult HIV prevalence of 17 percent, higher than the national rate, Copperbelt Province faces particular challenges in fighting HIV and AIDS. Compounded with Zambia’s high rate of rural poverty, HIV/AIDS has had a profound, negative impact on the chiefdom through illness and death, reduced household labor, and redirected household incomes towards care and treatment of sick family members.
The Shimukunami chiefdom is an agriculture-based economy, but poor rainfall has eroded this base, leading to a rise in poverty. The strategic plan will help agricultural production by introducing irrigation and modern farming technologies to diversify the local economy, mining sector, and other private ventures. SHARe II addresses the link between poverty and HIV by helping chiefdoms plan their development and improve their capacity to mitigate HIV and AIDS. The program will ultimately work with 35 Zambian chiefdoms to develop and execute strategic plans to address poverty and strengthen the local HIV/AIDS response.
From 2010 to 2015, USAID and PEPFAR will invest $30 million to promote the sustainability of HIV prevention activities, through integrating chiefdoms’ HIV response into their broader development strategies.