Alex and Ethel live in Zambia, where almost 75% of people live below the poverty line. For most people here, life is tough – but it’s even tougher for the country’s women. Around half of women in Zambia have experienced physical or sexual violence. For devoted fathers like Alex, it’s a worrying statistic.
But Alex is working with Oxfam to change the future for his daughter. Alex is part of Oxfam’s I Care About Her project, which works with local communities to end violence against women and girls. The project focuses on challenging and changing traditional – but extremely damaging – attitudes and beliefs that put women at risk and keep them in poverty. For example, where Alex lives, it is widely believed that a man can earn respect by hitting a woman.
Alex says: “It is because of my love for Ethel that I am taking part in this project. I believe that when people see me looking after Ethel, they see me as a good example for the community. I bring my daughter to the discussions as well, I believe it is a good lesson for her.”
Through the I Care About Her programme, Oxfam is helping boys and men like Alex to champion women in their communities – and challenge violence wherever they find it. More generally, we’re working with women, their partners, traditional and faith leaders, and the media so that everyone can help women live without fear. The bottom line is that parents like Alex now have more hope for their children’s future.
We’re not just creating change in Zambia. Right now, we’re working in 40 countries to make violence against women and girls illegal. It’s vital work because, incredibly, one-in-three women suffer violence worldwide. We believe this is totally indefensible and has no place in a fair world. Thanks to our supporters, we’re helping women to demand their rights and use their potential to end poverty for good.