Last week, I had the rare treat of talking to an Episcopal Relief & Development program partner in person. Although our program officers often meet face-to-face with our local church partners in the field, once in a while, events also bring partners here to New York. It’s wonderful when they can take time out of their schedule to visit us!
Grace Phiri Mazala is the National Program Director of the Zambia Anglican Council (ZAC), the coordinating office for relief and development work in the Anglican Church in Zambia. ZAC works closely with the Zambian government to implement social and health programs in rural and peri-urban areas around the country.
Recently, ZAC and Episcopal Relief & Development were awarded a $350,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to integrate early childhood development activities into their existing HIV/AIDS programs. In addition to HIV/AIDS, ZAC is preventing malaria through the NetsforLife® program partnership, and supporting personal development while creating economic opportunities through adult literacy programs, micro finance and small business training.
Gender awareness and women’s empowerment are woven throughout ZAC’s development work. While we were talking, Grace told me about the profound impact that empowering women through literacy training has on families in the villages where ZAC is active. When a woman learns to read, she has access to information that she might not have had before, and gains confidence in her ability to make decisions that can help her family or even save her child’s life.
It was so encouraging to hear from Grace firsthand about how women are transforming their lives. Watch a video from the interview here: