Giving children the power to raise the alarm on sexual abuse

UNLESS children are given the will power to raise the alarm against sexual abuse the number of child defilement cases may never reach a zero rate in Zambia, Africa.

Latest Zambia’s child sexual abuse for the period January to September 2017 stands at 1,466, according to a police report.

Despite that these figures are lower by 168 cases over the same period last year; the fight to end this vice has been intensified by Norway’s


Arja Beruang during a sexual abuse lecture to Grade 5 children of Holy Cross Primary School in Livingstone

Support Centre for Survivors of Incest and Sexual Abuse (SMISO in collaboration with Response Network.

SMSO representatives Ms. Preciosa Lurås and Ms. Arja Beruang working are conducting educational lectures for school going children in Livingstone and other neighbouring districts to bring an end to this vice.

At one lecture session Ms. Beruang told Grade 5 school boys and girls of Holy Cross Primary School in Livingstone that they were the masters of their bodies and that they should report any cases of defilement or improper touching of their bodies to the police.

Lecturing the averagely 11 year-olds in the presence of their class teacher Mary Mwaanga and a visiting Norway/Fredskorpset (FK) representative Ms. Nina Zimmer, Beruang said one out of four children are defiled in Zambia.

And Lurås told the children those that are defiled take about 17 years before they report of their ordeals.

And the Zambia Police in its third quarterly news update revealed that Lusaka province leads in defilement cases with 136 acts reported as the end of September followed by Central and Eastern Provinces.

The report made available by police spokesperson Mrs. Easther Mwata Katongo shows that a total of 416 child defilement cases were reported countrywide representing 8.2 per cent of the reported cases, victims all being girls.

“Lusaka Province recorded the highest number of defilement cases with 136 cases translating to 32.7 per cent of the reported defilement cases, Central recorded 50 cases, Eastern recorded 44 cases, Copperbelt 42 cases, Southern Province 39 cases, North-Western had 27 cases, while Muchinga and Luapula had 26 cases each. Northern Province had 11 cases while Western with nine (09) cases.”

The report added that the 2017 defilement cases reduction from the 2016’S 1,634 recorded in 2016 translating in to a reduction 10.3per cent.

“The country also recorded 9 cases of Defilement of imbeciles or persons with mental illness.  80 cases of Rape, 12 attempted rape and 22 indecent assault cases were also recorded during the period under review. 20 cases of incest were reported out of which 14 were females and 6 girl victims. Also recorded were 5 cases of unnatural offences out of which 3 were female victims, one 1 male adult and one male juvenile,” the report revealed.

NB: This story has since been used in Zambia’s independent Newspaper-The Mast of Thursday, November 16th.

Academic work and Norwegian Church Aid visit Response Network

Response Network team in Zambia is gearing up for Academic Work visit next week, November 15.

According to Academic Work assistant sponsorship officer Elizabeth Banda the Swedish delegation will first meet pay a courtesy call on Response Network members of staff in Livingstone before heading to Zimba where they will pass through the District Educational Board Secretary’s office for a brief briefing.

“We expect the delegation here on November 15, and then head out to Zimba, en-route to Nampongo village and later to Chilaba village where there shall be a night stop,” Banda said.

She also said the delegation will also have a meeting with the Kubala Girls.

Academic Work has been collaborating with Response Network to ensure that vulnerable girls access education.

Many girls have since accomplished record breaking high school results such as 20-year-old Ndano Lubasi who last year got Zambia’s highest results and earned a place to study medicine at the Copperbelt University.

Many others have ended up becoming teachers and nurses while a big number of girls continue being assisted in attaining education from Grades 1 to 12.

And the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) has also visited Response Networks projects in Nalombe after having a courtesy call at the Response Network office on Tuesday November 7.

Response Network director Håkon Spigseth briefed the NCA delegation of the organisations operations and activities being undertaken in Zimba, Kalomo and Kazungula districts.


Response Network director Spigseth briefing the NCA delegation at the Livingstone office on November 7


Tore Schulze lives on

FRIDAY November 3, 2017 was a memorable day for Response Network as Tore Schulze’s memories were rekindled through the hand-over of a school built using his life savings.

The school has also empowered surrounding communities with clean and safe drinking water from a borehole.

Before this, residents near the school used to share water with domesticated animals such as cows, goats and dogs from a nearby dam.

Schulze who succumbed to cancer at the age of 60 on May 5, 2015 in Kragerø, Norway, worked at Response Network, which is under the directorship of Håkon Spigseth.

The school was handed over to the Zambian Government by Spigseth through Ministry of General Education’s Permanent Secretary Henry Tukombe.

Spigseth told Mr. Tukombe that Response Network was founded under the ideals of self-help programmes.

Response Network (RN) which operates in Zimba, Kalomo and Kazungula Districts of Southern Zambia under the patronage of Zambia’s Justice Minister Given Lubinda specialises in educating rural communities in Skills Training Clubs, Community Governance Clubs, and Community Women’s Rights Clubs aimed at mitigating Gender Based Violence, Community Mental Health Clubs, Disability Clubs and also Organic Farming Clubs among others.

Mr. Tukombe said Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu was committed to ensuring that all children regardless of their social status have equal access to quality education.

He added that Government will endeavour to work very closely with Response Network to ensure that more educational programmes are implemented and that the rural communities are taken out of dependency.


Tore Schulze at the Victoria Falls in Zambia before his death


Norwegian Professor encourages sudents visits between Zambia and Norway

PROFESSOR Nina Emaus of the Actic University of Norway in the department of health and care sciences says students visits between Zambia and her country are a long log term investment on building competence.

In an interview after visiting Nampongo village North-West of Livingstone City South of Zambia, Prof Emaus said she would like to see more Norwegian students visit Zambia.

“Students visits between Zambia and Norway must continue because it is a long term investment on building competence,” Prof Emaus said.

She added that she was happy to learn how Zambians live in rural areas.

Prof Emaus further added that she wanted to get an impression of how Response Network works with rural communities.

“I am happy to see the school (Nampongo Community School which  is receiving aid from Response Network) and the challenges that people
face, I now know what our students are doing and for me to be a partner in this and to discuss what we can do on the steps ahead,” she

“We put emphasis on cross professional training and learning and this can be expanded here,” Prof Emaus said.

And Helen Egestad who is the head of the Radiography Programme at the Actic University of Norway also visited the Livingstone Central


Meanwhile, Marianne Olsen who is the International coordinator for Occupational Therapy at the Actic University of Norway said the students’ visits help in enhancing Zambia’s development.


Professor Nina Emaus in Nampongo village, Southern Zambia

And Regina Swana who is the host mother for Norwegian students who visit Nampongo village said the students in Occupational Therapy have assisted a six year-old to walk and at a time their families had given up.

Swana added that another woman who was using walking sticks due persistent back-ache was now walking upright and says the pain had
gone after the Norwegian students commenced therapy.

Sarah aims high against all odds



Sarah with Response Network Frayor Chabauni sponsorship programme manager

By Edwin Mbulo

GROWING up without knowing her father, losing a mother at the age of 6 and not having any siblings didn’t dissuade Livingstone’s Sarah Mainza to put education first ahead of persuasions that lure youths in Zambia.

In an interview an upbeat, Sarah aged 19 based in Livingstone said she used the influence of her family life situation to draw the passion to work hard in her academic work so that she could better her life.

“I got a distinction in Mathematics and English, while i managed to get credits in History, Religious Education, Biology and Science. In Agricultural Science and Civic Education I managed to get credits. I got the zeal to work hard in my studies after taking an audit of my situation, i realised that being an orphan being kept by grandparents it was incumbent on me to work hard and better my future and the only way to do this was through studying hard,” Sarah said.

She added that she would have loved to do far much better that what she got in her final secondary school examination results.

Sarah who has been accepted by the University of Zambia (UNZA) to study a Degree Course in Adult Education also added that she has always been interested in a career that has to do with calculations hence her distinction in mathematics.

“I have never seen my father and my last name Mainza is my mothers, she was born Queen Mainza and died when i was 6 years-old, thereafter i was taken up by my grandparent, my grandmother is a retired nurse and currently my grandfather is a businessman at Maramba Market engaged in tyre mending,” she said.

Sarah who attended her junior education at Shungu Primary school and later did her senior education at St Marys in Livingstone further added that she initially wanted to study law but eventually lost interest.

She said her acceptance to the University of Zambia is just a stepping stone for her to pull off her dreams of being an accountant.

“I have always wanted to be an accountant from as early as Grade 7, so this is a stepping stone to my dreams,” Sarah said.

She further praised Response Network for having offered her financial and material assistance through Sweden’s Academic for her to complete her Primary and Secondary School education.

“Response Network assisted me from Grade 6 to pay for my education and i am very grateful to them and Academic Work. It is my dream that they can continue to assist me even as i go to UNZA,” Sarah said.

Asked what her advise would be to Zambia’s girls with regards education Sarah urged her peers especially those in wretchedness a to put God first in all they do and work hard in academic work.

“I would advise girls especially those in a situation as mine, to work very hard if they are to attain their dreams. Those in my shoes of uncertainty, misery and a solitude to turn to education in order to secure their future,” she said.

Asked what her hobbies were, Sarah said she love singing and read.

She added that at Response Network a non-governmental organisation which operates in Zimba, Kalomo and Kazungula on various human development projects targeting the girl child, people living with disabilities, children living with HIV and also encourages the construction of community schools on self-projects she was involved in a programme known as Kicking Out AIDS.

Zambia’s Minister for General Education,  Dennis Wanchinga who is also the chairperson of the National UNESCO Commission in his foreword to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO’s)  2016 Zambia annual report published in May 2017 said: “Education can only be deemed to have achieved its purpose if it equips learners with the necessary skills they will need for both personal and national development.”

According to the demographic and health survey (2013-2014) 29 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19 in Zambia are either mothers already or pregnant with their first child.

“Teenage pregnancy is much higher in rural areas (36%) than in urban areas (20%). Zambia’s North-Western Province has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy (41%), followed by Western Province (40.4%). Its lowest rates are in the more industrialized Copper Belt, where teen pregnancy stands at 16%,” the survey revealed.



Targeting resilience among families with children who are HIV+ in Zambia

By Edwin Mbulo

RESPONSE Network has embarked on a programme to increase resilience among households that have children living with HIV in Zambia.

Response Network’s programme manager says Julius Simfukwe says sensitisation of villagers in Kazungula, Zimba and Kalomo’s rural areas on child sexual abuse and gender based violence has been scaled up.

“With the support of the Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) through USAID we at Response Network have a programme which seeks to increase resilience among households that have children living with HIV,” Simfukwe said.

He said 719 villagers have so been reached in the first six months of the year out of which 363 were men and 356 females through goal oriented project planning workshops and meetings.

Simfukwe said of the 719 villagers 10 persons living with disabilities have been involved with the funding by the Norwegian Association of the Disabled (NAD) and Academic Work of Sweden under Response Networks village Self-Help Programme.

He said Response Network’s advisory board members Dorothy Velemu, Andrew Lwenje led by board chairperson Peter Matubulani were recently briefed of the networks programmes.

“We informed the board that from USAID through Development Aid from People to People’s Zamfam Project we want to increase resilience among households with children living with HIV. So far 828 beneficiaries comprising of 263 males 565 females including 17 persons living with disabilities have been reached against a target of 7,028,” Simfukwe said.

He said the project is aimed at achieving alleviated poverty through rights based self-help approach among the marginalised in Zimba, Kazungula and Kalomo districts.

Simfukwe said under the HOPE programme two young women are working SMISO and Response Network on the child sexual abuse of children.

He said under the Community Schools building project aims at supplementing communities that have started self-help community schools with building materials with funding from Academic Works of Sweden and the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) through the Joint
Country Programme (JCP).

Simfukwe further added that through Academic Work, Tore Shulze Memorial and the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympics Committee and Confederation of Sport (NIF) staff, adding that the programme has over 700 girls being supported with school fees at both primary and secondary.

“We have 20 young girls in tertiary learning institutions and 80 are undergoing skills training in catering, auto mechanics, electrical and tailoring, while 15 community members from various Response Network self-help facilitated clubs are undergoing skills training in agriculture and carpentry,” he said.

170 L/stone youths undergo judo training

Zambia’s private Newspaper “The Mast” today (September 14, 2017) carried the Response Network story as copied  below:

170 L/stone youths undergo judo training

By Prince Lubanga on September 14, 2017

ONE hundred and seventy Livingstone youths are being trained in judo with the assistance of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympics Committee and Confederation of Sport.

In a statement, Response Network programmes manager Julius Simfukwe said the youths are being trained under a ‘Judo for Fred’ programme.

“We are training 170 children in Livingstone with funding from the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympics Committee and Confederation of Sport. This project is being implemented by Judo for Fred in conjunction with the Judo Association of Zambia. ‘Fred’ is Norwegian meaning peace,” Simfukwe said.

He added that Response Network is also training and sensitizing villagers in sports in its areas of operations in Kazungula, Zimba and Kalomo.

“Village sports self-help sensitisations and trainings are ongoing and so far a total of 2,476 people have taken part. These included 1,607 and 869 males and females respectively, including 45 people living with disabilities,” said Simfukwe.



People living with disabilities can help develope sports-Response Network

By Edwin Mbulo

PEOPLE living with disabilities can help to contribute to sports development, says Annet Sonko

In an interview Sonko who is Response Network (RN) assistant sports facilitator urged people living with disabilities to engage in sports activities.

“Through our community interventions we managed to get people living with disabilities especially women to engage in sports activities and our inaugural sports tournament in Zimba’s Nyawa village attracted 13 teams. We firmly believe that people living with disabilities can help contribute to sports development through their participation in tournaments,” Sonko said.

She added that RN encourages communities to engage in self-help projects as opposed to dependency but however, appealed for assistance from any organisation so as to be able to sustain the tournament planned to an annual event.

“Women in Nyawa mobilized themselves and organised an inclusive women tournament and each team had two men, the qualification for each team was that it should have two people living with disabilities,” she said.

Sonko said the tournament which started on August 14 was held on August 30 and Younger Stars Football Club won the tournament.

“The tournament motivated and encouraged the women to take up leadership roles,” she said.

And Young Star FC captain Veronica Sikayasa said the tournament was the clubs first active football participation.

“This has been our first time to play football and little did we know that we have the skill…the RN facilitator really motivational and inspired us,” Sikayasa said.

She further added that her team was now williwould also participate in other tournaments anywhere in Zambia.

Response Network has made my future bright-Lweendo

By Edwin Mbulo

A 30 YEAR-OLD Zambian mother has praised Response Network for making her future ‘bright.’
In an interview Lweendo Hantumbu said she faced hurdles in paying for her school fees and taking care of her son who is now 10 years-old.

“I want to thank Response Network who through Sweden’s Academic Work aid managed to assist me pay for my school fees both in secondary and at university. They have made my life easy and my future is now bright. Without Response Network assisted by Academic Work, i would be nothing, and i


Lweendo Hantumbu (l) with Response Network sponsorship manager Flayor Chabayuni

don’t know what my son Cornelius could have done,” Hantumbu said.

She said sponsorship from Academic Works through Response Network commenced in 2012 when she was in Grade 10.

“I got pregnant and only recommenced my education after giving birth to a baby boy, and to help pay for my education i started working as a maid but after my qualification to Grade 10 i heard of Response Network sponsorship programme and i applied after i was informed that i needed to provide my acceptance letter from Linda Secondary School.”

“After i completed i started to look for a placement into collage and i was accepted by Paglory University in Kabwe were i am pursuing teaching studies, it is a three year programme and i am in my second year. All my school fees at Linda Secondary School were paid by Response Network and now they are also paying for my tuition boarding and transport allowances to the university,” Hantumbu said.

She said her son’s father Kelvin Muleya died in 2010.

Asked about her advice to other Zambians especially women on the need to place education as a priority, Hantumbu said being a trainee teacher who is also studying psychosocial counselling she always
advises women and youths to use every opportunity that they have to further their education.

“I always say that others are blessed but others are not and whenever an opportunity arises it is better to grasp it with both hands and ensure that one succeeds, i always remind young men and women to work hard in academics,” Hantumbu said.

She said after completion she would like to work for Response Network if there would such an opportunity but added that she would like to settle in Choma north of Livingstone.

Hantumbu of Livingstone Dambwa’s Zambezi Sawmills said she was the last born in the family of three.

“Response Network has done a great job for me,” she added.

And Frayor Chabauni who is the sponsorship programme manager said Response Network was not mandated to assist Hantumbu because she already had a child when she sought for sponsorship from funds made available by Academic Works.

She however, added that Response Network after carefully analyzing her results and seeing her zeal to education despite her ordeal decided to assist her with sponsorship.

“We were happy with her performance in school and help personal initiative to find work as a maid so as to pay for her school fees,” Chabauni said.

She said Response Network has since not regretted assisting Hantumbu with school sponsorship going by her continued good results at university.

“We know that our assistance has not been in vain because she has kept on recording good results at Paglory,” Chabauni said.

Kristina and Benedikte depart for Zambia’s Nyawa village

By Edwin Mbulo

KRISTINA Antal 25 and Benedikte Ridderholt 24 who are in Zambia for a sports development programme on a Youth Sports Exchange Programme (YSEP) with Response Network have finally departed for Nyawa village.

Antal and Ridderholt who are students at the Norwegians Sport School of Sports Sciences (NSSS) in Oslo, departed  for Nyawa village over 80 kilometres northwest of Livingstone city are have been escorted by Response Network’s facilitators Amon Kasweka and Annet Sonko, and also Caleb Chabauni who is the organisations buildings officer.

The two students will be in Zambia until June next year.

Antal who will be based in Nyawa’s Mabwa village says “I chose to be taken to a rural part of Zambia and I want to learn a lot, see new places, know different cultures and get to meet new people. I also want to show my competence in my work on how sports can be used for development, especially at grassroots levels.”

Ridderholt on the other hand says she wants to grow her understanding of Zambia.

“During my stay here in Zambia I want to grow as a human being,” she said.

“Before coming to Africa I only had the perception of the continent as given by the European media, who only showed the worst part of the continent, the media has a lot of apathy on Africa, so I want to make my own opinion and not trust media gossip.”

Response Network runs several programs such as village self help programmes with the aid of the Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD), Academic Works of Sweden and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).

The organisation however is still seeking more funding from local and foreign organisations to be able to sustain its programmes being implemented in Zimba, Kazungula and Kalomo districts.

Antal Ridderholt

Norwegian students depart Zambia's tourist capital for rural Nyawa