Driving social change through Radio
The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection JCTR Social and Economic Development (SED) programme, works to ensure the improved lives of people and one way we do so is promotion of accountability and transparency with public financing. We also ensure policies favor the needs of the people and their economic development.
Participating in a live radio debate, is a way that we engage the citizens nationwide and encourage citizen participation, as well as provide information on the current economy, challenges, causes and possible recommendations to government.
The debate discussion, organized by BBC Media Action dubbed #Zambia Debates, was also informed by JCTRs work, particularly the basic needs basket data. The debate was focused on how the current economy is affecting Zambians, the current cost of living which stands at 5,519.47 Kwacha, and a comparison with last year’s cost of living within the same period. Looking at the difference, we then spoke to the issues that have caused the change in costs and economic environment, from policy implementations to market fluctuations.There has been a noticeable trend of rising costs of living in Zambia; lifting of maize ban led to a rise in the staple mealie meal. Another factor has been the re-introduction of load shedding, affecting the productivity of businesses, particularly those in the informal and small scale business community. Issues that before implementation JCTR had forewarned government against and had predicted the ripple effects; decline in production, loss of income and unaffordable cost of living for the majority of the Zambian poor.
The Panelists discussed the need for diversification, in the mining, agricultural and energy sectors, the sectors that impact the economy hardest. ‘There is need to shift from our nations heavy reliance on copper mining and maize production in agriculture’. A notion that both JCTR and the Economic Association of Zambia EAZ agree on, as voiced by the EAZ vice Present Dr. Austin Mwange. Also on the Panel was Evangelist Elizabeth Chama from the Small Scale Business Womens Group.
Mining should not be our economies biggest revenue source, and Climate change and changing weather patterns need to now inform our agriculture and encourage sustainable agricultural practices. And in regards to energy, our reliance on hydro energy is not sustainable, also owing to climate changes. “There’s need for investment in alternative energy sources like solar energy” Mr. Chongo advised.
Citizens make the future of the country, and can do something useful for the country. And we believe it is our duty to do everything we can to ensure all live in better conditions through sensitization and advocacy.
Article by Alice