The Zambian government sets aside increasingly larger amounts of money for water access and sanitation each year, but less than half of that money winds up being spent in that sector. Meanwhile, cholera, an illness often caused by dirty water, remains a daunting problem.
It’s a crime in Zambia to be gay, so intersex people who are sometimes assumed to be gay say they face discrimination and potential arrest. Some of those people, as well as some transgender Zambians, say they administer their own hormone treatments without a doctor’s supervision.
Zambia’s government and its banks insist the country’s new taxpayer identification numbers aren’t used to collect additional taxes. But the public’s suspicions about this ID requirement have driven many locals to favor digital transactions, now a booming business.
A new initiative in Zambia aims to connect the police with the public by providing direct phone lines to local police stations. But the phone numbers do little good when callers from unplanned settlements report crimes in progress – and police can’t find their homes.
Zambian banks demand substantial collateral and charge high interest rates for loans, so local women are increasingly turning to informal lending cooperatives, called village banking, for loans large and small. The groups operate on trust, but the high volume of money outside the formal banking sector comes with risks.