Strengthening child welfare services in Zambia through updated community case management
By Nangándu JH Kamwale and Thomas Mugala
On November 9, 2023, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) in Zambia held a ceremony to receive Community Case Management and Child Safeguarding materials from the USAID ACHIEVE project that ensure that children are healthy, safe, schooled and stable. The materials included guidelines, data collection forms, translated community case management forms and job aids, as well as a Training of Trainers manual and Child Safeguarding Policy.
Additionally, during the ceremony, graduates of the Zambia National Services Vocational Skills Development Facility in Lusaka Province, who were once former street children, received start-up kits from the government through MCDSS. The kits, which were procured for all of Zambia’s 10 provinces, included electrical appliances, sewing and shoe making machines and catering and construction equipment.
In her remarks at the ceremony, the Minister of Community Development and Social Services, Honourable Doreen Sefuke Mwamba, commended the remarkable progress that MCDSS and ACHIEVE/Pact made in 2023 in the areas of Community Case Management, Child Safeguarding, Public Financial Management and Management Information System development. She noted that ordinarily the government would take more than a year to develop a ministerial policy. However, with ACHIEVE’s support, MCDSS developed a ministerial Child Safeguarding Policy and training material, and trained 59 MCDSS personnel from all 10 provinces within a period of eight weeks.
Since February 2023, and following the joint launch of the Community Case Management Guidelines, ACHIEVE has supported the ministry with mentorship and technical support and trained 561community case workers. Additionally, ACHIEVE, in collaboration with Keeping Children Safe, trained 59 master trainers from all 10 provinces of Zambia in Child Safeguarding. The master trainers are now prepared to cascade and roll out Child Safeguarding policies, frameworks and trainings to all districts countrywide. Further, ACHIEVE supported MCDSS with the translation of Community Case Management forms into seven Zambian languages to be used as job aids by the case workers. By providing case workers with materials in their preferred language, MCDSS will ensure that both service providers and target beneficiaries have access to information and can process it more effectively.
During the event, Marianna Balampama, Pact’s Deputy Regional Director for Africa, commended the government through MCDSS and other line ministries for its collaboration with Pact in providing technical guidance to continue executing interventions that are in line with government priorities. She extended her appreciation to the communities that Pact has collaborated with to enhance sustainable development for vulnerable populations across the nation.
In closing remarks, MCDSS urged Pact to continue identifying ways in which children can be supported. Minister Mulyata thanked the partners that supported the enactment of Children Code Bill, which the government launched in 2022. She noted that this piece of legislation is instrumental in prohibiting child neglect and compels parents/guardians, the government and partners to be responsible, respond to children's welfare and ensure they have the necessary benefits, rights and liberties to live a safe and prosperous life.