In Zambia, those most excluded from the labour market are persons with mental health difficulties or intellectual disabilities (ID). As a first step towards achieving inclusive employment for people with ID in Zambia, the Sani Foundation is piloting the Sunshine Zambia Project which aims to provide holistic, and relevant training to prepare adolescents and young adults with ID for employment and independence within their community. The Sunshine Zambia Project uses evidence-based approaches, adapted to the local setting to establish an environment in which persons with ID are stimulated and aided to create and sell products using recycled materials as well as receive training that will prepare them for employment on the open job market. The project delivers this outcome by profiling each member’s needs, identifying their aspirations & skills, and procuring short term internship engagements for members to have a first-hand experience of the employment world before accessing a permanent job or setting up a business. To improve opportunities for internship and job placements, the project will also include a number of awareness campaigns and activities that will include family members and potential employers of persons with ID. Field trips to different companies will be held to expose member’s to different career options.
Scale up mechanisms
The success of this pilot project will be used as an evidence base with which to begin to influence policy change among various stakeholders. The goal is to have government systems in place to support persons with IDs to start their own micro enterprises, contract the services of job centres, or hire personal job coaches. Long-term, we will lobby for the adoption of our evidence-based model as the national standard for providing transition and employment services to persons with ID.
Funded by Lusaka (July 2015)