The community of Mpika district is still trapped in a culture that does not value education, thereby contributing to low literacy levels in the district.
This situation is further compounded by the inability of many parents to pay for school fees and later on support their children in weekly boarding. This situation is worse for girls who cannot cover long distances to schools nor easily attend weekly boarding for fear of pregnancies and the expenses associated with such schooling arrangements. Generally the trend has been that as girl children progresses upward in education, the enrolment progressively reduces.
The issues of women’s rights violations and discrimination in Mpika remain a challenge. The main push factor is the dowry that the man pays when marrying which traditionally gives him unlimited reasons to mistreat and control the woman.
This is the reason behind custody of children by men, polygamous relationships, the culture of silence by women, inheritance of women and property by men. It is also true that women of Mpika generally do more work than men as confirmed through critical analysis of the gender roles with the community
There are a number of gender based violence and rights violations issues for women in Mpika. However, this trend seems to affect women much more than men. Defilement of underage girls is equally on the increase and some cases remain unreported putting the victim of higher risks of disease contraction and trauma.
There are opportunities for the local community to participate in the governance of their communities and the country. The Parent Teachers Association; the Area and Ward Development Committees, the District Women Association and the full council are some of the structures they can participate in. Some of these spaces, though said to be open (such as the full council), are technically closed due to the limitation on the mode of participation. For others, it’s the target population and the associated costs that are the limiting factors.
There are also some closed spaces for the general public such as the District Development Coordinating Committee (DDCC) and the special council. The utilisation of the alluded to spaces however is so limited and in many instances very few community members are aware of their existence. Currently, there is no forum through which political leaders such as the Member of Parliament and councillors can give feedback to the community apart from political rallies, which are usually one-sided.