THE current state of civil society and shrinking civic space in the country is worrying, says the Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD).
During a meeting for the introduction of the Zambia HRDA and Civic Space Website, ZCSD executive director Leah Mitaba said the work of civil society world over was in recent years receiving serious crackdowns and reduced vibrancy.
She said ZCSD was interested to see a robust and vibrant civil society sector in Zambia.
“The current state of civil society, especially local CSOs, and shrinking civic space in Zambia is worrying to the least. Based on this, ZCSD is implementing a number of activities with the aim of opening up civic space and one of these initiatives is the introduction of a civic space website that has gone live in the first week of July 2020,” Mitaba said.
She said the initiative was made possible through working with a global coalition, the Vuka, Alliance and Civicus with the support of the Developer Society (DEV).
“DEV is a fully not for profit co-op digital agency working exclusively with NGOs and not for profits to help them make more impact in their work using technology. DEV works with a lot of the biggest UK and global groups. Civicus and DEV have collaborated to develop a website which can be quickly cloned and re-branded for civic space campaigners. The site allows reports of human rights abuses to be submitted and shared with a wider audience,” she explained.
Mitaba said the site allowed people to safely and securely gather reports of civic space violations in their country.
She said it also allowed users to automatically create blog posts from the reports on the site with the regional location of the violation on a country map, among others.
Mitaba said the site, https://www.zambiacivicspace.org, went live in July and could be accessed by anyone in the world.
“ZCSD has done a stakeholder mapping of early adopters of the site and identified individuals and organisations key to implementing the site and making it a resource for reporting civic space violations, gathering data of civic space violations and gathering evidence for research and advocacy,” said Mitaba.
“Linked to human rights defence, the site also offers a platform for quickly picking up on violations in real time and acting on it. The identified organisations/individuals referred to as Early Adopters are identified to help ignite the use of the site. It is the intention of the initiative to be widely publicised and for use by everyone, actors and the public at large.
Users can either share your details, should you require to be contacted or be anonymous.”