TEEZ Develops a COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Programme Brand Called BETTER Church & Society Programme
In its quest to remain relevant to the current trends of implementing TEE programs, Theological Education by Extension in Zambia (TEEZ) introduced a new program brand called BETTER Church and Society.
BETTER's acronym is Building Excellent Transformational Theological Education Resilience in Church and Society.
TEEZ has decided to implement this project to address the challenges of Gender, Empowerment and Livelihood Development. These are a critical component of promoting healthy churches and communities. The BETTER Church and Society project has revealed a glaring picture of what COVID-19 has done to pastors and their congregations.
60% of the population live below the poverty line in Zambia, and 42% are abysmal. Poverty rates are highest among female-headed households, with extreme poverty of more than 60% in rural areas and 15% in urban areas. The effects of poverty can be seen in children development. Around 15% of the children in Zambia are underweight, and 40% are stunted. Poverty is worst in rural Zambia, where 83% live below poverty. Due to high prices of food coupled with extreme poverty and poor wages, families spend 64% of their incomes on basic food needs.
Approximately 14.3% of adults in Zambia have HIV, and 1.5 million children are orphaned due to the disease. All these require the services of the pastors and spouses when occurring at the local congregation level.
Women and girls make up 51% of the national population. The gross inequalities and inhuman conditions that they endure both due to multiple factors such as teenage pregnancies, child marriages, gender-based violence, and other harmful cultural traditional practices continue to suppress their freedoms and economic transformation.
This has resulted in women suffering the worst forms of neglect, abuse and gender inequality at household and community levels.
In some sections of society, girls are regarded as forms of prestige and wealth as they are destined for marriage so that the father benefits from some form of wealth or livestock (cattle) as payment for the girl child’s dowry.
To address this challenge, TEEZ is using the BETTER Church and Society.
Building Excellent Transformational Theological Education Resilience in Church and Society project will take a three-pronged approach, namely:
Mainstreaming adaptation of Christian Education into Community Services and Business Enterprise Development at district, provincial and national level to enhance increased capacity development, community empowerment and economic investment into all TEEZ programs and projects.
Test, implement and evaluate the adapted value of interventions that protect victims of gender-based violence, women economic strengthening, improve household incomes and food security and sustainable Christian education strategies.
Capacity and systems enhancement to anticipated sustainable economic resource management and prepare for minimal program risks at community, district and provincial levels.
This approach is critical to the BETTER Church and Society project because it forms part of an integral Christian mission and will be seen as the driving force for an anticipated new ministry model amid COVID-19 and beyond.
TEEZ is considering this approach because it is innovative and sustainable to bring grassroots’ empowerment and transformation.
It is becoming a common occurrence and everyday thing to experience violence against women and girls. Every day a report of violence against women cases in rural or urban areas is mentioned. According to the Zambia Police, in some regions, an average of 50 people a day experience sexual gender-based violence (SGBV). It is widely believed that many cases go unreported, and the numbers keep going up.
Zambia Police Victim Support Unit in 2016 revealed and recorded 18,540 cases of gender-based violence, more than 18,088 cases reported in 2015.)