Evidence brief: Addressing Gender-based Violence through Safe Motherhood Action Groups in Zambia

The term gender-based violence (GBV) includes any form of violence against women. Despite a favourable policy environment with the introduction of the anti-GBV law, GBV statistics in Zambia remain high. Of women aged 15-49 years, 43% have experienced physical violence at some point in their lives, 37% in the previous 12 months. Moreover, 17% of women and girls have experienced sexual violence, and 10% have experienced violence while pregnant (2014 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey).

Continuing the work of a predecessor programme, MAMaZ (2010-2013), which was funded by UK aid from the UK government, the Comic Relief-funded MORE MAMaZ programme (2014-2016) took steps to integrate a focus on GBV into the training of Safe Motherhood Action Group (SMAG) volunteers.

The MORE MAMaZ GBV interventions resulted in transformative change for women. Intervention communities reported a very significant reduction in GBV. Some communities perceived that GBV had been eliminated, with these changes attributed to the work of the SMAG volunteers.

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