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Zambia Trends and Analysis 

September 26, 2023
September 27, 2023

*This report was written jointly by the Zambian Governance Foundation and Loop. It reflects information from January 2023 to July 2023.

We have received 158 bits of feedback with only 33 replies, as well as 42 sensitive reports into Loop from Zambia during this reporting period of January to July 2023. 

Languages used:

People use a wide range of channels in Zambia, more than in other countries. There are 5 languages available, including: English, Nyanja, Bemba, Tonga and Lozi. 

While Loop is available in Tonga and Lozi these languages are so far infrequently used.  This could be because the geographical locations where Loop has been more strongly promoted, tend to be for Nyanja and Bemba speakers, for example in Lusaka, Eastern, Luapula and Central provinces.

Input Channels used:

We see people using SMS, primarily only in local languages. 

People who use WhatsApp or the web often give feedback using English. 

We have opened up the use of IVRR (Voice) during this reporting period and we see the majority of this feedback coming in using Nyanja and Bemba. 

All of this together shows us how different populations have different preferences and access to different channels for feeding back. 

Types of Feedback 

In Zambia we see a lot of people prefer to remain anonymous, sharing no name, contact details, and not giving permission for anyone to contact them back. Even people submitting open stories with questions sometimes do not agree to be contacted back with replies. 

We need to better understand if this is due to a lack of trust: culturally, in Loop, or a lack of clarity about what happens with their details.  When asking communities they said that ‘investigations often ended badly’. We also see some comments as being very vague and unactionable. Potentially feeling less risky for them than sharing too much information. This suggests that awareness raising, addressing fears and building confidence in the tool is required, as is providing evidence of potential impact, while remaining safe as a result of reporting and providing feedback.

Feedback in Zambia covers a very wide range of topics. Including a broad range of unsolicited requests for bursaries or support for Civil Society programme funding. We also see reports of ecological or animal concerns, the most recent one being about an overpopulation of crocodiles in the river causing safety concerns for communities! 

Some organisations ask their partners for feedback on specific training, events or projects and try to encourage authors to share their views on a few key conversation starters.  When this happens we can often see long thoughtful and very useful feedback. This can be submitted across all mediums, including WhatsApp such as the long example here

This wide range of responses is reflective of the development context and wide range of experiences, needs and priorities of the population. This reinforces the need for an open system, to learn and listen about priorities from different types of communities over time.

Organisations signed on:

33 organisations have registered and receive automatic notifications on Loop in Zambia, including for example:

  • NGOCC - Non Government Gender Organisations Coordinating Council 
  • Transparency International
  • Standing up for Youth and Women
  • Alliance for Accountability Advocates Zambia AAAZ
  • YWCA
  • Zambia Red Cross
  • Ikhala Trust
  • Anti Corruption Commission Zambia
  • The Zambian Governance Foundation
  • Sistah Sistah Foundation

As can be seen in the graph, it continues to be difficult to get organisations to reply using Loop directly to authors. 

We will be following up to try to understand barriers to integrating Loop as part of an organisations engagement and M&E  process. 

Sensitive Reports

Loop receives the largest number of sensitive reports from Zambia compared to any other partnership country. During the reporting period, approximately 32% of sensitive cases related to fraud and corruption and 68% related to protection issues, such as gender-based violence or child protection. 

In Zambia, the sensitive feedback we receive often results in actionable outcomes. The majority of cases received related to protection issues have been referred on to capable local service providers who were able to provide assistance to the authors. In some cases Loop is asked to maintain the anonymity of the authors and share anonymised reports to relevant actors. 

Safeguarding in Schools pilot

During this reporting period, Loop did a pilot project with the Ministry of Education in Lusaka, Zambia, where we did workshops in schools, reaching over 1,200 students between the ages of 12 and 19. 

Loop staff conducted highly interactive sessions where students were engaged and teachers were warm and welcoming. Students asked questions such as:

  1. How do we report abuse from guardians?
  2. Can children report abuse?
  3. Is corporal punishment allowed
  4. What if my friend has mental health issues how can I support her
  5. I see people using drugs. Can they use Loop?
  6. I didn't know where to report safely before.  Now I do.

We found that younger students asked questions more about incidents with guardians and inappropriate actions from family or community members. While older students asked more about teachers abusing them, abusive partners, sexual consent etc.

After engaging discussions the students learnt how to report safely using Loop. Brochures and fliers were left behind for further sharing of information.

As a result of the workshops we saw a number of reports on Loop from students in the areas where the workshops had been delivered.  Some students mentioned concerns about alcoholism in their communities. They were referred to youth groups in their communities to support them. 

Two Gender Based Violence reports were received as well as at least 3 requests for mental health support from school students in the three weeks following the workshop. Some additional safeguarding queries came in with students looking for where to get more information. We saw some serious reports being used by some students months after the workshop, resulting in direct support for the young person. 

One of the issues experienced from reporting from students was a difficulty in getting back in touch with some of them after they made a report or after having made initial contact with them. Students in Zambia tend to have a SIM card but not necessarily their own phone device due to costs. They will use other people's phones, put their SIM card in it to make the calls or submit the feedback onto Loop. No data is needed to report using Loop.

Students were also made aware of Childline/ Helpline as another option for reporting.  Some stated that they feel safer sending a message because they can control when to input information, when to get responses and they felt ‘less stigmatised or judged’. Some reported being too scared to go to the local police station.

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