Zambia is a landlocked country located in the South-central Africa. It has experienced rapid economic growth over the last decade as it is Africa's second largest copper producer. Despite the existence of a progressive legal and policy framework, Zambia has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world with 43 per cent of girls married by the age of 18.

Early child marriage has, for the past years, become a critical topic of dialogue within the country amongst several stakeholders. Since 2011, the country has also reportedly seen drastic shifts regarding citizens’ human rights and freedoms, including those of association, assembly and expression. Further to that, in 2018, there were worrying reports of increased cases of attacks on journalists.

Civil society organisations in Zambia continue to experience some regulatory restrictions, with different laws and ministries regulating the operating environment of CSOs.  These are some of the challenges that IM together with partners’ programming are working to tackle.

As a result of IMs work in Zambia the last couple of years, more local leaders and stakeholders have denounced child marriages. By getting the local leaders engaged in the interventions, sustainable community efforts have ensured an inclusive and bottom up model of ending child marriages. Efforts to provide high quality and sustainable, youth–focused sexual and reproductive health information and services have seen more youths accessing services.

As civil society has become stronger, it has held policy makers and duty bearers to account in the implementation of national development plans. This has resulted in Government’s recognition and embracing of the role of CSOs in monitoring implementation of key national development plans.

IM has been working with partners in Zambia since 2016.

Joy got out of child marriage

Joyce Lengwe was only 14 years old when she was married of. With support from IM’s partner NGOCC she was able to leave the marriage. Today she is 20 years old and goes to school.

IM's operations in Zambia

Zambia is a relatively new country for IM, we started collaborations with partner organizations there in 2016. By working in the three neighboring countries Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, our work in the region becomes more efficient. The problems are similar and regional influence strengthens both us and our partners.