Zambia - Social development



Social welfare services are provided by the government in association with local authorities and voluntary agencies. Statutory and remedial welfare services include emergency relief, care for the aged, protection of children, adoption, and probation. Group work and community development services are the responsibility of the local authorities, who are assisted by government technicians and grants-in-aid. The Zambia Youth Service operates specially constructed camps that provide vocational training for unemployed and unskilled youth.

A national provident fund requires employers and employees to make contributions toward a worker's retirement at ages 50–55. This program covers employed persons, including domestic servants in urban areas, and agricultural workers. The lump sum payment is equivalent to contributions plus interest. Maternity leave of 90 days plus a maternity grant for each birth are provided to working women. Medical benefits are available to all citizens in government run facilities and rural health clinics. Employers are required to fund work injury insurance for all employees.

Women have full legal rights under law, but customary law discriminates against women in areas of inheritance, property ownership and marriage. Sex-based discrimination in education and employment is pervasive. Women are underrepresented in senior management positions in the private sector and in high-level government positions. However, a growing number of women can be found in local government. Domestic violence against women is a widespread problem. Child welfare is a serious concern: there are approximately 95,000 street children in Lusaka, an increase partly attributable to the deaths of parents from AIDS.

Human rights abuses, including beatings and even the killing of persons in police custody, continue to be reported. A government-created commission is investigating past human rights abuses and some offenders have been punished. However, human rights organizations operate freely in Zambia.

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