Organization at the time you received Katie Fleming Award from Coady: Women for Change
Emily Sikazwe served as the executive director of Women for Change for 21 years. In her role, she was involved with a large number of development initiatives directed toward the empowerment of rural communities through the eradication of all types of poverty and gender discrimination.
Women for Change works to achieve a vision of a gender sensitive society that is socially, politically, and economically empowered. The organization works directly with traditional community leaders to break down the obstacles that inhibit the participation of both men and women in certain parts of society. They focus particularly on gender discrimination with regard to women’s access to land and other resources, as well as on HIV/AIDS, which is an issue directly related to gender inequality. Women of Change also does advocacy work with families, communities, and government to encourage people at all levels to stand up for themselves and take action on the problems that stand in the way of their economic or societal growth. They provide education for children and youth on the principles of gender and human rights. Women for Change also implements practical skill-training programs to build the capacities of rural communities for sustainable development, such as village banking, fish farming, cattle rearing, and crop-raising – helping communities set up village cooperatives so they can plan marketing strategies and negotiate fair prices for their products.
“This is not a job; I would do this from the grave if I could.”
– Emily Sikazwe
Emily became an associate at Coady Institute in 2005, facilitating on topics such as gender analysis for policy and planning, advocacy and citizen engagement, and community development leadership by women.
My journey in social justice has not been an easy route. My journey in the fight against poverty has been one of trials and tribulations. However, these violations have not changed my philosophy, that injustice to one is injustice to all. This is the same philosophy that Katie adopted when she made that decision to fight poverty in Africa.