The Human Development Unit conducts research in areas of poverty, education, health, labour markets and other social sectors. The unit provides a resource base on objectively researched policy issues in the social sector in Zambia, and to build capacity in social policy analysis, especially in government and private sector.
In 2017, the HDU plans to undertake the following studies:
a) Labour Market Regulation Study
This study began last year (2016). This was prompted by public debates that dominated the Zambian labour market scene when the Government revised the regulations on minimum wage and casualization late in 2016. The debate revealed that there is a paucity of credible information about the effects of the new labour market regulations that came into effect in 2016. The study aims to assess the effects of labour regulations the labor market outcomes vis-a-vis employment creation. That is, the study seeks to understand how the private sector operates and fairs within the framework of Zambia’s labour laws and if labour regulations affect hiring of labour.
The study uses desk reviews of legal and regulatory documents relating to the labour market, employment, industrial relations and so on. This is coupled with purposive key informant interviews (KII) to determine the effects of labour regulations on hiring of labour. To date the Unit has already undertaken all these technical activities of the study.
Going forward, the Unit will complete the peer review process and stakeholder validation for the paper during Q1:2017. It will also engage in extensive dissemination activities that will include private sector and Government agencies and institutions that enforce and monitor labour laws, notably the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS). Thus, the primary client for this work is MLSS. Once the report is ready ZIPAR plans to engage closely with the Ministry on various issues regarding feedback from industry on different aspects of the labor laws. ZIPAR will also engage with private sector associations such as the Zambia Federation of Employers to share the findings and how the recommendations will affect firms represented by the federation.
b) Youth Development Fund (YDF) Review
In 2016, the Unit commenced the process of evaluating the Youth Development Fund at the request of the Ministry of National Development Planning (MNDP) and Ministry of Youth Sport and Child Development (MYSCD). The review includes tracing beneficiaries of the programme to assess the impact of the programme on them. The policy relevance of this review is that it will determine, among other this, the value-for-money of YDF.
The YDF review utilizes mainly a nationally representative survey of both beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of the programme, towards assessing the differences in these different groups and determining the influence of YDF monies for beneficiaries. The survey and questionnaire design were done in 2016. In the first quarter of 2017, the Unit will complete data collection, perform various analyses and write the final report to be presented first to a Reference Group that was specifically created for the review in 2016. The Reference Group, chaired by the MNDP, was formed to provide technical and administrative support to ZIPAR during the execution of the review. Other members include the MYSCD, various non-governmental Organizations and international development partners such as the International Labour Office (ILO).
The study is expected to be completed in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017. It will make policy recommendations to MNDP and MYSCD about possible options for reforming the YDF and improving its effectiveness.
c) Developing an Employment Projection Model
The Unit has been involved with the development of the employment Projection Model since 2014/2015. The activity is financed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as part of the National Implementation Committee that comprise the MNDP, MOF, CSO and ZIPAR. The exercise has been slow to take off due to the lag in the development of the Input Output tables by the CSO. The CSO has however given a new deadline for of March 2017 the provision of the tables. Once CSO completes its assigned activity, ZIPAR will then be in a position to produce a Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) and an employment projection model. The model will ultimately be forwarded for use by the Government (MNDP), as an evidence-based planning tool for projecting employment.
The timeframe for the activity is difficult to determine given the delays in the past. Thus, the Unit has planned to allocate some time flexibility throughout the years, from Q1-Q4: 2017.
d) Study on Promoting Alternative Cooking Fuel Sources
The genesis of the study includes observations in the LCMS (2015), which reports that in urban areas, most households (59.1% of all urban households) use charcoal as their main source of cooking energy. This cooking energy consumption pattern potentially has a significant negative footprint on the environment. Furthermore, consultations with the Energy Regulation Board and Ministry of Energy in 2016 confirmed that the unclean nature of the energy used by urban households is a notable concern for environmental sustainability.
The aim of this study is to support the promotion of the use of alternative clean cooking fuels among the energy poor in urban Zambia. The study will seek to establish the appropriate policy and strategy mix that Zambia will need to employ in order to promote the use of alternative clean cooking energy among the energy poor urban population. The study will focus on cooking energy as this source accounts for the largest energy consumption among households in Zambia. Promoting alternative clean energy is important because unclean cooking energy has a negative impact on the environment and on the health of users.
This study will mainly use a medium scale survey of about 600 households in Lusaka and the Copperbelt, which are Zambia’s most urbanized regions. The study will be conducted in Q2-Q3: 2017 and will culminate in a study report with empirical insights and policy recommendations. This study expects to provide policy-relevant information for encouraging the private sector to produce and supply alternative cleaner energy that is both accessible and affordable for the poor. It is hoped that the lessons learnt from this project will also be used by Government, particularly Ministry of Energy to scale up energy efficiency promotional programmes in order to allow more households to use cleaner energy given the growing scarcity of hydro-electricity.
e) Financial Cooperatives (FCs) Study
This study seeks to provide new insights that would help Government to promote the use of Financial Cooperatives (FC) in Zambia as an alternative mechanism for providing access to financial services in rural areas. The study will seek to develop a clear understanding of the landscape for the Financial Cooperatives in Zambia in terms of the regulatory framework, support institutions, and the nature of and level at which the Financial Cooperatives operate. Additionally, the study will seek to understand the constraining factors for the growth of the financial cooperative movement in Zambia and the opportunities and threats that exists related to their development.
The study will employ a multi-pronged approach, including: mapping of FC; situation analysis of FCs and their environment or legal framework; desk reviews of grey and scientific literature; and quantitative surveys and in-depth qualitative interviews (key informant interviews (KII) experts). The insights from this study are planned to first, inform the formulation of the 2016-2021 national strategic plan for the department of cooperatives in the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry. Second the insights will also be an input to the revision of the Cooperatives Act that the department of cooperatives is currently working on.
The study will run throughout the year, from Q1-Q4:2017.