Initially founded in 2003 as a response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic, Lifeline Zambia (933) and Childline Zambia (116) have expanded their focus to work towards a violence-free Zambia.
The organisation has a vision to protect, empower and support vulnerable groups, especially women and children in Zambia, in response to a concerning trend of intimate partner violence and sexual violence against children.
Maxim Murungweni from Lifeline/Childline Zambia said the helplines helped anyone who called, but now specialised in services for women and children.
“Zambia is facing a protection crisis with high levels of gender-based violence, particularly intimate partner violence,” Maxim said.
“Women in rural areas are particularly at risk and services are often far away. Even in urban areas help is hard to come by – that’s why a tollfree number is so useful, all you need is a phone to access support.”
LifeLine International members like Lifeline/Childline Zambia are playing a key role in providing hope for those they connect with through crisis support and the work they do in suicide prevention.
As has been seen across the globe, there has been a dramatic increase in calls since the COVID-19 pandemic started, which is a cause for concern.
Maxim said to meet the increase in demand has been a challenge, and that the organisation is looking at ways to maximise the knowledge and influence of their networks and partners.
“Our staff are highly skilled, yet we need to be able to meet the increasing workload without compromising the quality of our service,” he said.
“This means we are focusing on getting all hands on deck to support the call centre, as well as finding ways to use data to improve the way we manage support.”
To learn more about Lifeline/Childline Zambia, you can visit their website.