Strengthening Zambia’s Social Welfare Workforce
AIHA is part of the USAID-supported Zambia Rising Project led by Save the Children. Zambia Rising works in close coordination with two other USAID projects — Data Rising and Community Rising — in a cohesive, integrated effort to strengthen local systems and capacity to improve the quality of life for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).
Currently, lack of full access to healthcare services, proper nutrition, and education paired with high unemployment rates continues to threaten Zambia’s stability, putting far too many children at risk. Already, UNAIDS estimates that there are 95,000 children in Zambia who are living with HIV.
Our Work Under Zambia Rising
AIHA is working with Save the Children and TRG to combat address critical social welfare service gaps by strengthening community-level capacity to respond to the unmet needs of vulnerable children and their caregivers.
In collaboration with key local and international stakeholders, we are adapting our model Para Social Worker Training Program to the Zambian context in preparation for review and approval by the local Government.
AIHA’s Para Social Worker (PSW) model has been successfully implemented in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania, where we’ve armed community-based caregivers — many of whom already work or volunteer for local NGOs — with key social work, child development, and case management skills. Through this multi-phase program, PSWs are trained and mentored on how to effectively identify and assess the needs of vulnerable children then link them to appropriate care and support services.
Another aspect of AIHA’s work under Zambia Rising is supporting the institutionalization of the social work profession by strengthening the Social Workers Association of Zambia (SWAZ).
We are working closely with SWAZ staff to determine the requirements for establishing a national office, engaging a Board of Directors, setting up a schedule of regular meetings, and other organizational capacity development activities, including exploring possibilities for a South-South partnership with a similar, more established, social work professional association elsewhere in Africa.
We are also working with SWAZ and the University of Zambia on educational requirements, continuing education, and other matters related to professional standards and accreditation. Collectively, these efforts support SWAZ’s goal to build membership, advocate for the social work profession, and become a self-sufficient, self-sustaining association.