Community Development-Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked questions

This page contains frequently asked questions pertaining to the programmes implemented under the Department of Community Development. The programmes include food security pack, women empowerment, skills training among others. 

Food security Pack

Supporting Women's Livelihoods

Community Self-Help Initiative

The programme targets poor and vulnerable but viable farmer households who possess sufficient arable land for cultivation, own labour and are not in gainful employment. These are then selected using the available identification and selection protocols.

The programme has three components; support under the Rain-fed and wetland cropping programmes is for two consecutive farming seasons while the Alternative Livelihoods Interventions (ALI) provides once off support.

  1. The pack for the Rain-fed cropping programme is composed of D-Compound and Urea fertilisers and cereal and legume seeds.
  2. The pack for the Wetland Cropping programme is composed D-Compound and Urea fertilisers and a cereal or vegetable seed.

The composition of the pack under ALI is according to the non-crop intervention being provide. For example, 5 to 10 middle aged chickens or ducks per household or 3 to 5 middle age goats or sheep per household  

The support under the FSP programme is not intended as a completely free handout, instead, it is supposed to act as a ‘conditional grant’ to stimulate a sense of care for other vulnerable households in communities.

Yes, the GEWEL-SWL program will benefit the entire household and will be given to the eligible female member so that she can use it to invest in livelihoods that benefit the whole household.

The Supporting Women’s Livelihood program is targeting women because women are more likely to be vulnerable, illiterate and poor than men in our country. Therefore, the Government has come up with the Supporting Women’s Livelihood initiative to help women start income-generating activities and have more money to support their families.

Similar to other social protection programmes like Social Cash Transfer (SCT) and Food Security Pack (FSP), GEWEL is funded by the Government of Zambia and implemented by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.

No. SWL is meant to complement the efforts of the Social Cash Transfer scheme and other Social Protection Programmes in alleviating poverty from our communities.

No. GEWEL provides support from the government to help you support your household and invest in your livelihood. Therefore, it is NOT a loan.

The selection of CWACs will be based on the number of SCT beneficiaries who meet a specific threshold and if a district has a lot of CWACs that meet the required threshold of SCT households, then a Public Lottery will be conducted to select the CWACs that will participate in the program. A Lottery gives every CWAC an equal chance of being picked.

Due to limited resources, we can only reach a specific number of women in each CWAC. The lottery is being used to select the number of women that the project can support even when you have met the eligibility criteria.

Everyone who meets the eligibility criteria will have an equal chance of being picked in the lottery. What you can make sure is that you participate in all of the activities for beneficiary selection that include Self-registration of identified households, Eligibility assessment and Community validation.

There are no penalties for your business failing. However, this is a rare opportunity to receive support to build a successful business. You should take advantage of all the support that is being offered to you as part of the SWL package and reach out to your CBVs or District Officers if you need help to understand why your business may not be doing well despite your efforts.

Community Self-Help programme is community and demand driven. It is based on community participation and as such the focus is on communal and mutual benefits. The community members initiate the project after sensitizations and awareness meetings at Community level by the District and Sub-Centre Community Development Officers.

The application procedures and requirements are as follows;

  • Fill in the Community Self-Help application form which should be accompanied by minutes of the meetings (at least two meetings) and the list of project committee members (at least 50% of the committee members should be women).


  • Community contribution of 25% towards the project in form of community labour (Bricks, Sand, manpower, land etc.).


  • Land ownership documentation e.g. signed letter from the chief/Council/Ministry of Lands

Construction, Completion and renovation of small infrastructure that does not require major construction or machinery like Community halls, Markets, schools, libraries, storage sheds, poultry house, recreational facilities,group housing schemes and any other community project.

Women Empowerment

Village Bank (Micro Credit Facility)

No. Women Empowerment Programme offers grants to eligible Women’s Clubs and they are not required to repay the funds. However, the Club is subjected to continuous mentorship to enable their project succeed.

No. The Women Empowerment Funds are offered to women who are part of Women’s Clubs and are female led. However, since men are allowed to be mere members of Women’s Clubs, they are able to benefit from the fund through their support to project activities.

The programme seeks to assist as many clubs as possible. However, those that do not receive financial assistance are provided other assistance such as capacity building, mentorship as well as referral to other service providers.

No. All recipients of the Women Empowerment grants should be registered with the Registrar of Societies, City or Municipal Council in any District. They must also possess a valid bank account and traceable operating

The Village Bank Programme charges simple interest on all loans given out. This is spread over the 25 weeks that the loan runs which allows women more flexible terms of repayment during the tenure of the loan.

No. The Village Bank Micro Credit Facility is only offered to women. This is based on evidence that women have less access to credit facilities and are less likely not to have access to credit from Banks and other Financial Institutions.

The Village Bank Programme offers loans based on the principle of Social Collateral and cohesion. Recruitment is based on a people centred approach which allows beneficiaries to be grouped according to similar social and group dynamics. Therefore, beneficiaries are accountable to one another and are required to assist each other during loan repayment.

Yes. A previous loan applicant is able to apply for another loan for as long as her loan repayment record is favourable with the terms and conditions of the Department. However, the beneficiary cannot apply for two concurrent loans.

Yes. A beneficiary can access other social protection support in line with the guidelines of the Cash Plus

The programme is aimed at supporting women’s efforts in pursuing a meaningful business. The more beneficiaries avoid repaying loans, the less likely other women will benefit from the programme. When one fails to repay a loan due to natural causes like illness, disaster like fire, floods, damage or theft, discretion is offered to the loan applicant provided that evidence is produced and communicated to the office of the District Community Development Office. However, if the applicant defaults willingly, then recoveries are effected on the beneficiary such as forfeiture of individual savings and documented repayment commitment.

Then one requires to communicate their exit plan and repay the loan in full and be cleared by the District Community Development Office before discontinuing the programme.

No. The loan application is based on individual assessment and not household. Therefore, if one is unable to continue on the programme, the family (next of kin) may be required to inform the District Community Development Office and all exit procedures undertaken.