By Abigail Chaponda in London, United Kingdom
Minister of Community Development and Social Services, Honorable Emerine Kabanshi has expressed the need for Zambians to participate in voluntary work.
The Minister was on a learning visit in Ireland from 16thto 21stJuly, 2018 where she had various meetings with stakeholders on Social Protection facilitated by the Embassy of Ireland in Lusaka. She is currently in London to attend a summit on disability and will later travel to Scotland for official business.
The minister had a meeting with the University College of Cork (UCC) President, Professor Patrick G. O’Shea and senior officials of the university to exploring the linkages between the academia, social welfare and community development training.
During the meeting, the minister said that Zambians should draw lessons from Ireland’s commitment to do voluntary work as this is one way patriotic citizens could give back to their country and contribute to the wellbeing of society.
She said there is need for volunteerism to be encouraged among all citizens especially young people to prepare them for practical work experience and also give them a sense of pride and belonging.
Honourable Kabanshi was delighted to learn that in Ireland, volunteerism was done by all age groups and different professionals who give their time to better their communities and the country at large.
She informed the meeting that the information on volunteerism would be used as a resource in the formulation of the Volunteer Policy which the Zambian Government was in the process of formulating.
The Honorable Minister noted that the University being a centre for generation of knowledge, provided a platform through which research on issues affecting communities were investigated in order to provide answers to the questions and challenges faced by the communities.
The Minister was informed that volunteerism in Ireland was an important aspect through which students participated in community work.
The outcome of the meeting at the University College Cork included collaboration in the area of exchange visits with lecturers from both countries with a focus on volunteerism and community development; opening up more scholarship spaces to cover both graduate and under graduate students; and Capacity development in the area of volunteerism and tailor made short courses based on the country context and requirements
The Minister also had a meeting with the Irish Minister of Employment and Social Protection, Regina Doherty. The discussions during the meeting were centered on social inclusion, support for disadvantaged households, family income supplements, education and training initiatives (especially for girls who may have dropped out of school due to early pregnancy) volunteerism and how organisations in the voluntary sector were linked to services provision.
The meeting agreed that there is going to be continued collaboration between the two Ministries (Community Development and Social Services in Zambia and Employment and Social Protection in Ireland) in the area of Social Protection.
And Zambia Postal Services Corporation’s Post Master General, Mr. McPherson Chanda held bilateral talks with the Irish Post Group Chief Executive Officer, David McRedmond and senior staff in Information Technology and Operations Departments to assess the technologies used by the Irish Post as part of the Management Information System (MIS).
Mr Chanda is part of the delegation from the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services led by Honorable Emerine Kabanshi.
The talks were held in order to benchmark the Payment System of the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Programme in Zambia. The Post Master General draw lessons from Ireland’s long standing payment system of social transfers in a bid to improve the payment system for SCT by Zampost.
Irish Post office has been paying SCTs in that country for the past 25years and the visit by the Zambian delegation was expected to yield lessons on the effective and efficient payment systems of social protection programmes especially the Social Cash Transfer Scheme.