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Young Zambian Women Taking the Lead: Tendai's Story

In Zambia, there are many young women and girls striving to make a difference in various areas of our society, and are working with passion to impact many lives. We need all the support we can get. We need platforms to share our views and ideas. We need mentorship from those who are and have been where we would like to be in future. We need support to help us actualise all that we seek to achieve and contribute to the development of our country - 28 year old Tendai Nyathi

Today, girls and young women are defining leadership for themselves. For many of them, the most important leadership qualities are striving for social and gender justice, and leading in a way that empowers and helps others.

Twenty-eight-year-old Tendai Nyathi is among thousands of young Zambian women who aspire to create more equal societies and end discrimination based on gender. This is her ideal future.

Trained in child and adult HIV psychosocial counselling, Tendai uses her skills to conduct health education, advocacy and awareness in communities across Lusaka. Through ongoing programmes by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and supported by UNFPA Zambia, Tendai often volunteers to work with young women and girls, providing peer counselling on HIV, GBV and mental health.

“My goal during these counselling sessions is to empower young women and girls with knowledge about the importance of caring for their mental wellbeing, and skills to manage stress, anxiety and depression especially at present when COVID-19 has amplified existing inequalities that have disproportionately affected women, such as domestic violence, child marriage and teenage pregnancy”.

Ahead of the 2021 International Women’s Day which falls on 8th March, and as part of a YWCA project called “Musikana Wampavu”  (a strong young woman), Tendai took the lead in facilitating training workshops for female peer educators and participated in local radio programmes to talk about COVID-19, sexual reproductive health and rights and mental health. The project aims at empowering and inspiring adolescents and young women aged 15-35 years to overcome emerging health, social and economic challenges presented by the COVID19 pandemic, which have disproportionately affected women and girls.

Today, on International Women’s Day, Tendai has a message for duty bearers: “In Zambia, there are many young women and girls striving to make a difference in various areas of our society, and are working with passion to impact many lives. We need all the support we can get. We need platforms to share our views and ideas. We need mentorship from those who are and have been where we would like to be in future. We need support to help us actualise all that we seek to achieve and contribute to the development of our country”, says Tendai with a smile as she wishes all women and girls a happy International Womens Day.