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Africa and the Middle East


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Since 1965, the United Church has worked in solidarity with partners in Zambia who focus on issues including gender justice, theological education, and HIV/AIDS response.

United Church partners in Zambia are

For more information on Zambia, see:

Council of Churches in Zambia

"Resource mobilization, capacity building, coordination, advocating and spreading the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ"

Founded in 1945, the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) represents 22 Protestant churches and 19 church-related organizations. In strengthening the unity of the churches, the CCZ is striving to be a prophetic voice for the transformation of church and society.

The context is a challenging one. At independence in 1964, Zambia, with its vast mineral wealth, had the potential to become one of Africa's richest countries. However, now 15 percent of its people have HIV/AIDS and more than 80 percent are living on less than two dollars a day—a result of colonialism, the 1975 collapse of copper prices, and structural adjustment imposed by international agencies.

In seeking to foster social justice, peace, and development, the CCZ works to

  • reduce poverty by diversifying agricultural production, fighting HIV/AIDS, initiating community lending programs, increasing literacy, and advocating for fair resource distribution
  • reverse the spread of HIV through prevention and education
  • reduce gender-based violence through clergy education, supporting legislative action and encouraging the entrepreneurship of women

Through this partnership, The United Church of Canada is able to strengthen diverse organizations working for long-term change in Zambia.

People's Action Forum

"A peaceful Zambian society in which all communities, rural and urban, attain justice for sustainable development."

Photo of our partners at work.

People's Action Forum (PAF) is a school without walls. Under the shade of trees with makeshift blackboards, grassroots facilitators are using non-formal education to teach adult literacy to some of Zambia's poorest people. The goal of this work is political and economic empowerment of rural communities, and the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

PAF is an indigenous, non-denominational, non-discriminatory NGO with more than 2,000 members reaching thousands of villagers. Their popular education methodology creates democratic learning circles where participants name and analyze their world through maps, calendars, diagrams, songs, and drama. Each participant ends up writing their own book, and the whole group develops a local action plan that addresses an issue it has identified, such as family violence, poor harvests, safe water, or HIV/AIDS.

In addition, PAF works with partner agencies to bring solar power and clean water to the communities it is working with.

The United Church of Canada first partnered with PAF in 1998. Through this partnership, the United Church is able to participate in social transformation for long-term sustainable development in Zambia. Additional financial support is provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

PAF has initiated an Extra Measures project relating to water.

United Church of Zambia

"Seeking a church transformed"

Seeking life in abundance for all Zambians, the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) challenges the systems that make people poor while responding to the immediate needs of the millions who live on less than a dollar a day.

UCZ works closely with other Zambian churches in monitoring social policy and advocating for reform. It organizes education on HIV/AIDS, sustainable development, economic policy, and environmental stewardship. Programs include agricultural training, health care, secondary schools, and a teachers' college.

UCZ is responding to the HIV/AIDS pandemic through education, testing, and treatment, supporting households where people are sick or parents have died. Most of this is accomplished through the women's movement: women are the anchor of the work, the spirituality, the care, the fundraising, and the church's vibrant congregational life.

The United Church of Canada has been partnered with UCZ since it first began in 1965. Over the years, UCZ has hosted many of United Church overseas personnel who have served as teachers and ministers. Emmanuel United Church in Ottawa has an ongoing partnership with UCZ, with an emphasis on learning about health, education, and agriculture issues.

Peggy Mulambya-Kabonde, General Secretary of UCZ, is part of the United Church’s Partner Council.

United Church of Zambia Theological College

Theological education and formation has been a priority to the life and work of the United Church of Zambia, and the Theological College (UCZTC) plays a critical role as it trains pastors and lay leaders for ministry. In collaboration with the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, UCZTC offers a Bachelor of Theology degree, a Diploma in Theology, and a Certificate in Diaconal Ministry and Programs. It is a full member of the Association of Theological Colleges in Eastern Africa, based in Nairobi.

UCZTC has incorporated in its curriculum training on HIV/AIDS as a contextual issue for many people in the church. Students engage in theological reflection on health and healing, and stigma; provide care for those who have tested positive or become sick; raise awareness on HIV/AIDS; do research with at-risk individuals; and provide clothing and food to orphans and vulnerable children. Through this partnership, The United Church of Canada has shared in ministry personnel for theological education and theological internships.

Women for Change

"Never accept poverty. Unite and fight it."

Photo of our partners at work.

Women for Change (WFC) is an NGO that works in rural communities, focusing on social and economic changes that empower women and children. Established in 1992, WFC has grown into one of the most influential indigenous NGOs in Zambia.

A partner of The United Church of Canada since 1992, WFC trains and sends out field animators who form local groups of 35 to 40 villagers. Field animators stay in the rural communities for three weeks every month. They listen to the communities, understand their problems, and assist them to find solutions. Local groups then form larger organizations to work together.

Through these grassroots networks, WFC

  • produces and distributes education materials on human rights, HIV/AIDS, and gender awareness
  • trains workshop facilitators
  • conducts community workshops on gender issues, HIV/AIDS, human rights, and entrepreneurship
  • facilitates income-generating activities such as beekeeping, gardening, and animal husbandry
  • trains traditional leaders on issues related to rights and HIV/AIDS programs
  • helps organize financial cooperatives

Through this partnership, The United Church of Canada benefits from WFC’s on-the-ground research on the struggles against poverty in Zambia, grassroots campaigns, and advocacy for poverty eradication and gender justice. WFC has initiated an Extra Measures project relating to Empowering Women.

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