Psychology is a growing field in Zambia. There has been an increase in the number of students enrolling for psychology courses; higher institutions of learning are introducing undergraduate and post graduate courses in psychology; and organizations are realizing the need to make more use of psychology.
It was against this background, that the Psychology Association of Zambia (PAZ) hosted the first ever Breakfast Networking Meeting. The event was held on 7th June,2017. The President, Dr. Anitha Menon, welcomed the guest of honour and gave the opening remarks. The guest of honour was the Minister of General Education, Honourable, Dr. Dennis Wanchinga. The main purpose of the event was to introduce the Association to the various organisations, while emphasizing the importance of psychology. The event was also used as an opportunity to seek support for development of a statutory instrument that would enable the Association regulate the field of Psychology.
Top executives from 25 organisations including associations, government ministries, multilateral organisations and private institutions attended the event. These included the Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management, the Zambia Teaching Council and Health Professional Council of Zambia, the Ministry of Health, various units from the Ministry of Home Affairs (correctional facilities, Zambia police), Chainama Hills Hospital, UNICEF, World Bank, UNDP and many others. During the event, the organisations had an opportunity to inform the Association how they could use the various expertise in PAZ and can contribute to their organisations. In his speech, the Guest of Honour emphasized the importance of psychology to our daily lives. He highlighted every day challenges such as substance abuse, HIV and AIDS, early marriage and pregnancies, child abuse, peer pressure, work stress, teaching and learning challenges, GBV, dealing with old age and many more. He emphasized that if these challenges are left unattended they may result in an unhealthy nation. He also mentioned that this would in turn affect the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vision 2030 of making Zambia a prosperous middle income nation. He urged the Association to come up with effective programmes that will address the identified challenges. By doing so, the Association will be positively contributing to the country’s socio-economic development and mental well-being of its people.
The Vice President of the Association Dr. Jacqueline Jere-Folotiya gave a presentation on the objectives and vision of the Association. In her presentation she emphasized the importance of enacting a statutory instrument that would enable the Association to regulate the different fields of Psychology in Zambia. Once the field of psychology is regulated, it means that the public will be protected as only properly trained and qualified personnel shall be allowed to practice. This also means that there will be harmonization of standards internationally and locally which will in turn set parameters pertaining to psychological interventions. Regulation further means that research will be an important aspect leading to better understanding of locally initiated interventions for the benefit of the public.The treasurer, Mr. Kalima Kalima, Secretary General, Dr. Mwewa Musonda and Publicity Officer, Mr. Foster Kayungwa were also present at the event. The event received media coverage from the local broadcaster, Zambia National Broadcasting Co-operation on television. The future for the Association looks bright and we are all excited at the events planned for the remaining half of the year.