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20 years, 20 voices: LifeLine/ChildLine Zambia

Lifeline-Childline-Zambia
20CHILogo(dates)

2023 marks the 20th Anniversary of Child Helpline International. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we have invited 20 of our members – from all around the world, founding members and members who have recently joined us – to share their stories in a special series that will run between now and World Children’s Day on 20 November 2023.

ZAMBIA: LIFELINE/CHILDLINE ZAMBIA

LifeLine/ChildLine Zambia (LLCZ) is a non-governmental organization that provides counselling, guidance and referral services to women and girls who have faced gender-based violence (GBV) and emotional abuse. We are affiliated to Child Helpline International, a global network of telephone and outreach services for children and young people and Lifeline International which promotes mental health and suicide prevention. 

We have been in existence since 2003 when we started offering telephone counselling in response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Together with partners that also prioritize child protection, we bid for and won a government call to start a toll-free Child Helpline number in 2011.

Lifeline/Childline Zambia is an organization that conducts primarily telephone counselling, guidance and referral services on various social and health problems that affect the Zambian Community through toll free numbers 116 Child Helpline and 933 Gender Based Violence Line. We provide 24/7/365 telephone counselling and outreach services for children and adults that face challenges visa-vis Child Abuse, Stop Child Marriage, Child On-line Protection, Child Labour and Gender-Based Violence, HIV/AIDS counselling.

In addition, we provide; SMS/ONLINE CHAT counselling, Face to Face counselling as well as Schools and communities outreach programme.

We are honoured to be the premier call service for vulnerable women and girls in Zambia, who face physical, sexual and emotional abuse and need a warm and unjudging listening ear. Our multilingual counsellors are trained to respond to the needs of clients who require support following violent acts or situations that put them under duress. We also assist clients by referring them to social services in their area, or to the police or health centre, depending on their situation.

Our Vision

To see every child and adult live in a family and community with security, respect and care: A Zambian society free of violence.

Our Purpose

To protect, empower and support vulnerable groups, especially women and children in our society, to live a life free of all forms of gender-based violence. 

LLCZ first came to know about Child Helpline International in 2013, when we attended the Africa Regional Consultative Meeting in Kenya. From then on we have been active members. What drove us to be members was the first impression where we saw various members connecting and sharing ideas on how to improve the quality of services and increase reach to children and young people. Child Helpline International provides a good nurturing and mentoring platform for helplines so that they support each other technically and personally (morale).

LLCZ has benefited a lot from being a member of Child Helpline International, especially our counsellors who benefited most from the online modules developed by Child Helpline International. One key module that has helped our counsellors to provide quality and appropriate services is one focusing on Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. This was a fairly new topic as such our counsellors did not have the skills to handle such cases. About 25 counsellors did the two modules of the course and significant changes were noted in the way they started handling cases of Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

One special memory about our membership has been the trust and belief in us by our colleagues, which saw my selection as the Africa Region’s Representative in 2018. As I continue to do my duties in that capacity it has also helped in increasing our visibility and influence as LLCZ at National, Regional and Global Platforms. We have also benefited from the mentorship that I have received from Child Helpline International in my capacity as Africa Regional Representative.

Going forward I hope to see this network having members in each and every country, so that we increase our reach to children and young people. This will also enable members to be able to share ideas timeously as well as provide quality services to children and young people.

Florence Chileshe-Nkhuwa
Executive Director of
Lifeline/Childline Zambia

Voices of Children & Young People

“A person I don’t know sent me a friend request … we started chatting, then he started sending nude pictures. When I told him to stop, he didn’t. Then he created a fake account, using my name. That’s when I decided to call LifeLine/ChildLine Zambia.”

A 16 year-old girl from one of the towns outside Lusaka contacted LifeLine/ChildLine Zambia via the 116 number in October 2021 to report a person she had made contact with online. He had started sending her inappropriate pictures, and although she asked him to stop, he created a fake account using her name, and posted messages and pictures there.

The child helpline advised her to alert ZICTA, the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, the regulatory body responsible for regulating the ICT industry in Zambia. They also advised the girl to block the telephone number and page of the perpetrator, to prevent him having any further contact with her.

“After some days, I tried looking for the page again, but I couldn’t find it. So, I think it must have been blocked. I haven’t received any more calls or messages from that person ever since I called LifeLine/ChildLine Zambia.”