In Zambia the problems of citizens are often underplayed in the media. Especially young people and women in particular are not or almost never in the picture. The authorities often take decisions without the involvement of these groups. The project Speak Up Zambia supports citizen journalists and local media that tell the story of the ordinary man and woman.

Zambia faces many economic and social problems. There is a lot of inequality between rich and poor in the country and poverty is widespread. Particularly among young people, who form almost 70% of the population. Women are especially vulnerable. In addition to poverty and a low participation in society, they face discrimination, early marriage and teenage pregnancy.

Citizens engage in journalism

Speak Up Zambia, a 3-year project financed by the EU and executed in cooperation with the House of Consciousness and Alliance for Community Action, wants to change this. Citizens and journalists receive training in monitoring public spending. That learn how to check the claims made by the government over the results of public spending. In this way, they can hold local politics accountable. In addition, citizens learn how to practice journalism using their mobile telephones and so record their own story.

Follow-up to a success story

The pilot project of Speak Up Zambia was Mama Sosa in 2015. Women in the Kanyama township - the biggest slum in Zambia's capital city, Lukasa - were trained to be journalists. So far, Mama Sosa has been very successful: 30 women have followed the journalist training course and 28 have already graduated. After an initial resistance, these women received a great deal of respect and recognition from their people. The concept of Mama Sosa is being carried forward as a part of the Speak Up Zambia project. Through this programme, not only women in Kanyama will be trained, but also female journalists in other parts of the country.

Leading up to Speak Up Zambia was the pilot project Mama Sosa in 2015. Women in the Kanyama township, the largest slum in the Zambian capital of Lukasa, followed a training in journalism. Mama Sosa has been very successful: 30 women have received training in journalism, of whom 28 have completed the programme. After initial resistance, these women received respect and recognition from the population. The concept of Mama Sosa is being continued as part of the Speak Up Zambia project. In the programme, not only women in Kanyama will be trained, but also female journalists in other parts of the country.