Zambia became the 31st Pathfinding Country in 2020.


The Zambian Penal Code is amended to prohibit judicial corporal punishment. This follows a 1999 Supreme Court judgment ruling that the provisions authorising judicial corporal punishment were unconstitutional.


Corporal punishment is prohibited in public and private schools in the Education Act 2011.


The Zambian Government undertakes the Violence Against Children Survey, which analyses children’s experiences of violence across the country.


Zambia creates a national policy and action plan to protect children in Zambia, which hopes to see “a society where children survive, thrive and realize their full potential." This plan is developed by the Zambian Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development.


The National Strategy to End Child Marriage 2016-2021 is developed and implemented by the Ministry of Gender. The National Strategy aims to accelerate national efforts to end child marriage by 2030 by providing an operational framework that reflects the current national and global trends and efforts. To effectively address gender and social norms that perpetuate and condone child marriage, the government supports community chiefs to develop by-laws that strictly prohibit this harmful social practice. The government also initiates community mobilization programmes to tackle the growing problem of teenage pregnancy.


The Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP 2017-2021), which departs from the sectoral-based approach of previous NDPs and attempts to accelerate development efforts using a multi-sectoral integrated approach, was launched in 2017.


The Zambia Violence Against Children Survey is published. A cross-sectional household survey of 13–24-year-olds, it produces national-level estimates of experiences of physical, sexual, and emotional violence in childhood.


Zambia's National Prevention and Response Plan for Ending Violence Against Children 2021 – 2025 is validated through a multisectoral team in September; it has since been shared for printing with support from UNICEF. The plan speaks to the INSPIRE model for ending violence against children. Later that year, a discussion paper on a national campaign to end violence against children informs a national wide campaign engaging stakeholders on preventing and responding to the issue.


Zambia becomes a Pathfinding Country in November of 2020. In the same year, government ministries and departments submitted an agreed-upon instruction to expedite the finalization of the Child Code Bill, which is currently in its final drafting phase. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, the government revitalizes the National Coordination Committee for Children (NCCC), a national structure that will perform the function of coordinating line ministries, specialized state bodies, the Judiciary, UN agencies, Cooperating Partners, and Civil Society Organisations in the protection, promotion and upholding of child rights.


This Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP 2017-2021) comes to an end in 2021, which will be replaced by the previously released Issues Paper for the Eighth National Development Plan. The Issues Paper is an attempt to identify key policy, structural, implementation and coordination issues which may be linked to the weak ability or ineffectiveness of previous NDPs to deliver and are likely to affect the success of future national development plans. It also wishes to address emerging and existing issues such as vulnerabilities, climate change and other demographic dynamics for which, more than ever, Zambia needs to design policies and plans to strengthen domestic growth and to increase resilience to their impacts.

In November of 2020, Zambia became the 31st Pathfinding Country through the End Violence Partnership. By doing so, Zambia has joined seven other African countries – including Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe – in prioritising children's safety by making a formal, public commitment to ending all forms of violence against children. 

“We are delighted that Zambia has become a Pathfinding Country,” said Dr Howard Taylor, Executive Director of the End Violence Partnership. “With this high-level political commitment, Zambia joins 30 other governments who have committed to step-up their efforts to protect children and to link, learn and share what works with partners around the world so that together we can end all violence, exploitation and abuse of children." 

Zambia’s announcement builds on years of progress in that country. In 2014, for example, the government undertook a Violence Against Children Survey (VACS), which analysed children’s experiences of violence across the country. And in 2015, Zambia created a national policy and action plan for children in Zambia.  

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The National Child Policy of 2015 with its accompanying implementation document, the National Plan of Action for Children, are developed around four major pillars, including child survival, child development, child protection and child participation. These pillars determine how various stakeholders align their activities to contribute to national development. The National Child Policy and the National Action Plan are documents developed by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, in consultation with various stakeholders.

The subject of violence against children falls under the child protection pillar. This pillar consists of various stakeholders in the fight on violence against children. The Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development has taken the lead in bringing the various stakeholders together in the fight of violence against children by chairing various subcommittees and by being a secretariat. This has been demonstrated through leading technical group that spearheaded the research on violence against children and the subsequent development of a National Prevention and Response Plan on Ending Violence against Children 2021 -2025. The technical working group comprised of the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, Ministry of Health, Zambia Statistical Agency, The University of Zambia – Demography Department, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), UNICEF and Save the Children. The process of developing the response of national plan has been consultative, bringing together stakeholders in the promotion and protection of children’s rights especially violence against children.

Zambia used the INSPIRE model to develop a national response plan on violence against children. This model entails that various stakeholders such as the Ministry Of Education, the Ministry Of Health, the Ministry Of Gender, the Child Protection Unit Under the Zambia Police Service, local and international non-governmental organizations, the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, the Ministry Of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, and the Ministry of Labour come. These groups came together to form a multi-sectorial stakeholders group in the implementation of the national response plan on ending violence against children.

The Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development has established child protection committees at the district level; these are multi-sectoral in nature and bring together stakeholders on child development. The role of these committees is to develop multisectoral work plans, mobilize resources and monitor programme implementation. Work around violence against children at the district level is spearheaded by the Child Protection Unit.

Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, University of Zambia, United Nations Children's Fund, Save the Children International, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Violence against Children in Zambia: Findings from a national survey, 2014, Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, Lusaka, 2018

  • The government set up the National Coordination Committee for Children, a national structure which coordinates line ministries, specialized state bodies, the judiciary, UN agencies and civil society organisations in the child development and welfare sector. The NCCC facilitates the planning and evaluation of child protection interventions.
  • In collaboration with UNICEF, the government set up One-Stop Centres across the country to assist children victims of sexual abuse. The Centres are composed of a multidisciplinary team comprising of health workers, police and psychosocial counsellors. The One-Stop Centres provide vital expertise that contributes to raising awareness of violence against children in Zambia. They act as a focal point for the care and treatment of child sexual abuse in the country.
  • In 2019, at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, Zambia committed to ending harmful practices against women and girls, including ending child marriage by 2030 by introducing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) model law on ending child marriage and accelerating the implementation of the National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage and other policy and legislative frameworks.
  • In 2013, Zambia launched a nationwide campaign to end child marriage, which focused on engaging traditional leaders and reforming laws. In 2019, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Gender to host the Steering Committee of the Global Programme to Accelerate Efforts Towards Ending Child Marriage.
  • In 2011, resulting from a successful open bid in a call from the GRZ UNICEF, Save the Children and Plan International, a telephone counselling service was established exclusively addressing children matters. Because of this, the Child Helpline toll-free number 116 was born. The 116 helpline number was reserved exclusively for Child Helplines around the world by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United National Agency responsible for the telecommunications sector on 16th June 2008 in Geneva Switzerland. Consequently, it is used for such across the globe, including Africa. Apart from combating all forms of violence against Children, 116 regionally has recorded success in arresting cases of child trafficking.
  • The Child Protection Unit under the Zambia Police Service was set up under the Department of Community Service.
  • Efforts are also underway by the government to continuously build the capacity of legal personnel on child protection.
  • Birth registration gives legal recognition to the existence of the child and provides measures of protection for children from exploitation. The government is working to ensure that all children in Zambia access this service. Currently, out of the ten provinces, the service is available in eight.
  • With the effort to influence peoples’ attitudes and behaviour in relation to harmful social practices, the government has developed National Values and Principles which are to be disseminated across the country.
  • The country is also employing multiple strategies to effect change in norms and values. Some of the main interventions that are widely promoted by the government include establishing of children’s rights clubs in schools and communities, creating awareness on positive parenting skills and undertaking sensitization campaign to promote reporting of cases of violence by by-standers.