Lubuto awarded ViiV "Communities for Change" grant
Zambia has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Africa, with 31% of girls under the age of 18 already married and a median first marriage age of 18 for women generally. Early marriage and early pregnancy and childbirth are most common in rural areas and among girls living in poverty. Nabukuyu, where the Mumuni Nabukuyu Library is located, is a village in the rural Monze district in Southern Province where early marriage is common and driven by poverty and limited educational and economic prospects for girls.
Having recognized the serious impact of this issue on the Monze district, Lubuto is working to be part of the solution. We are excited to announce that we have received a “Communities for Change” grant from ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action for Girls and Women Fund that will allow Lubuto’s Mumuni Nabukuyu Library to serve as a platform to combat early marriage in the surrounding communities. One part of our project, called “Public Libraries Ending Early Marriage,” will engage community leaders—including chiefs, headmen, teachers and other local stakeholders—to raise awareness of early marriage and generate community-led solutions. We have already received support from leaders like Chief Cooma, who has long supported ending child marriage, and these partners will be critical guides in bringing about community involvement and ownership of change.
Other aspects of the project will address the driving factors of poverty and limited prospects for girls. Offering comprehensive scholarships will help keep at-risk girls in school, and the library will also establish a makerspace where community members can learn skills like sewing, pottery, carving, technology, and coding—equipping married and unmarried girls with skills that will increase their economic independence as well as offering parents a way to support their daughters. Additionally, this grant will enable Lubuto to collaborate with the women and girls of the Nabukuyu community to create advocacy materials that will be used to spread awareness of both the problem and ways it can be addressed.
Over the next two years, we plan to reach at least 50 traditional leaders, 200 teenaged girls and 200 parents/caregivers with opportunities and resources to prevent early/forced marriage. More broadly, this project will strengthen the relationships between the Mumuni Nabukuyu Library and the communities around it as well as our partnerships with other organizations such as Girls Not Brides, the Zambia NGO Coalition on Ending Child Marriage, and the youth-led Musokotwane Compassion Mission Zambia.