Lusaka. July 26, 2014.
MUMBWA — The United States and Zambian governments joined together with His Royal Highness Senior Chief Shakumbila to launch a strategic plan that defines the Chiefdom’s development aspirations and delivers the first-ever roadmap to achieve those goals. The launch took place on July 26, 2014, in Zambia’s Mumbwa District during the Sala Ikubi Lya Loongo traditional ceremony.
The Shakumbila Chiefdom collaborated with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and four Zambian ministries – Agriculture and Livestock; Chiefs and Traditional Affairs; Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education; and Health – to develop the Shakumbila Chiefdom Development Strategic Plan for 2014 to 2018. With funding from USAID under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), John Snow Inc. has led this initiative through the Support to the HIV/AIDS Response in Zambia II (SHARe II) project.
Poverty, compounded by an 18 percent HIV/AIDS rate in Central Province, is increasing vulnerability to HIV infection, reducing household resilience, and increasing illness and death in the Shakumbila Chiefdom. The SHARe II program addresses this poverty-HIV linkage by helping chiefdoms plan their development and improve their capacity to mitigate HIV/AIDS. One way the Shakumbila Plan will relieve poverty for vulnerable households is by harnessing appropriate technologies such as irrigation and conservation farming to increase agricultural yields and household incomes.
“The strategic development plan is the product of the chiefdom’s people themselves – senior headpersons, headpersons, women, youth, and non-governmental organizations, all led by their Chief and supported by the local district government and several ministries,” noted Dr. Susan K. Brems, USAID/Zambia Mission Director. “This plan is an excellent example of how chiefdoms can exercise leadership on HIV/AIDS issues through a people-driven, democratic process.”
SHARe II is engaging 35 Zambian chiefdoms to develop and implement development strategic plans to alleviate poverty and strengthen local HIV/AIDS responses. Further, as community leaders and members plan together, democracy and good governance are both enhanced. The process presents chiefdoms’ leadership and decision-makers with an opportunity to integrate their community aspirations with the Revised Sixth National Development Plan to form a framework for development at the local level.
During the activity’s five-year period, with funding from PEPFAR, USAID/Zambia will invest a total of $30 million through SHARe II to promote sustainable HIV activities by integrating them into local development goals and broader strategic plans.