Friedrich Ebert Stiftung opened its first representation in Zambia in the mid-sixties, shortly after independence. Civic Education, research in socio-economic matters, support of trade unions, of small scale industries and democratic organisations were the areas of operation.
The work of FES in Zambia today generally concentrates on political governance. Believing in a principal functioning of Zambian democracy, we think that the major deficit of this democracy is the lack of checks and balances. Vices in the political system, like corruption and misuse of public funds, the failing of implementation of important policies and programs, the instability of political parties etc., result from an executive, which is not properly monitored and controlled in its activities. We, therefore, believe in empowering those institutions which are in a democracy meant to monitor the executive, which is parliament on the side of the state and Civil Society organisations on the side of society.
Consequently Parliament and political parties on one hand side and Civil Society on the other, with a focus on the trade unions, are our main partners and areas of work. Apart from being directed to cooperating partners and the institutional framework, our work is defined by issues and policy objectives we would like to achieve. In this respect poverty reduction is our first and foremost aim and topic of our operations. The fight against corruption, and decent conditions of work and the empowering of underprivileged groups of the society are also of great concern.
Through its 18 offices in Sub-Saharan Africa FES forms a regional network, which also takes up international issues, be they of specific African interest or general issues of globalisation and problems of the world economy. We can offer a number of international contacts and exchanges. As examples we work with various institutions of SADC. We try to empower African countries in their relationship to the European Union or the WTO.