Zanji is from Zambia and is an investigative journalist and Human Rights activist. She has worked to train vulnerable female market traders earning less than $2 a day in financial literacy and entrepreneurship in Zambia. While engaging in this work, she realized how difficult it was for market traders to progress in their businesses due to lack of land to farm and this peaked her interest in land discrimination against women. Later that year, she had the opportunity to learn about curbing and exposing land corruption in Africa through journalism and social accountability.
This prompted her research on the processes of acquiring land in Zambia and what challenges women were facing due to corruption and discrimination. SDG 1 – No poverty seeks to, “by 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property.”
Despite women's critical role and contribution to agriculture, rural development and food security, women across the world are discriminated against in terms of their access to, ownership of and control over land, and the income produced from it. Women's ability to access land and to claim, use and defend their rights to land and other natural resources in Zambia is weakened by their status within the household and community as well as discriminatory, customary or statutory laws. Growing commercial pressures on land increase dependency on subsistence agriculture and further undermine women's land rights.
Through her Global Changemakers grant, Zanji has assisted 30 women to access land to farm in Zambia and acquire knowledge on their land rights. Her plans for 2020 are to help Zambian widows living in the capital city safeguard their land/houses from gentrification and protect them from escalating property prices and corrupt court clerks. She aspires to increase awareness on the discrimination women face in terms of their land rights, as well as recognition that this is a priority topic for those concerned with food security, rural development and women's empowerment.