The slogan of Celtel a Mobile Cellular Phone Service Provider in Zambia is ‘Making Life Better’. According to Celtel, the provision of Mobile cellular phone services to all corners of the country is a way of contributing to the betterment of Zambians. However, Celtel is not the only provider of Mobile cellular phone services in this country; there are two others, Zamtel and MTN, Collectively they hold the view that their services are not only the answer to Zambia’s communication needs but also to its Social and Economic ills.
Taking the credit for the presence of these Service Providers however is the Movement for Multiparty Democracy MMD, a party that has been in power since 1991 and introduced the liberalization policies that brought in many changes to the various social and economic sectors of the country. Civil Society Organizations in the country however have constantly argued that the liberalization policies have contributed a great deal to the rise of poverty levels in the country, at the wide end of the poverty threshold are women and children.
This Research Project aims to explore the various factors involved in the dynamics of provision of the communications service, the Research Process involved probing the effects of the service on the communities which had previously not had the technology, observing the cultural, social and economic changes which have been observed and can be related in a way to the provision of the service.
The project also intends to find the place of women in the process by questioning their position at the various stages of provision or decision-making. The following sectors have been a major focus of the research: Government, Interest Groups (Ruling and the opposition Parties), Civil Society, Mobile Cellular Phone Service Providers and Ordinary Mobile Cellular Phone Users.
The Government in Zambia through its provision of services and implementation of policies has the task of keeping abreast with modern developments in the communications industry. The major hindrance to the development of the communications and media industry has been the Government’s policies forged by concerns of National Security and State control, and this has been a major preoccupation of government vs. Civil Society conflicts. At the moment, the Communications Authority a wing of Government tasked to regulate communications services has developed a confidential document recommending to the government to amend laws related to communication, the chapter would briefly focus on these facets as they have affected access by ordinary people.
2. Interest Groups (Ruling and the opposition Parties)
Political parties have provided alternative models to the current status of the nation, the research process will probe a few that relate to women and communications vis-а-vis the Governments current interventions.
3. Civil Society
Civil Societies work for the common good of all Zambian citizens can be valuable in the probe on its work towards empowerment of women, the research process intends to give an insight on it’s work.
4. Mobile Cellular Phone Service Providers
The Service providers in Zambia have the opportunity to provide an opportunity for women; the research will view the various challenges they face; experiences, their expectations, view on possibilities, opportunities and their suggestions for national development through ICTs.
Users have various views on how they are affected by the ICT service; the research will share their experiences and question whether ‘User’ has or must have a gender.
The Zambia GRACE Research will contribute to the discussions on whether life can, is, isn’t or won’t be better for Women in Zambia through Mobile Cellular Phones.