In Zambia, many adolescent girls leave school before completing their education – reasons include extreme poverty, early marriage, violence and unplanned pregnancy. It is estimated that 29% of women in Zambia aged 15-19 have already begun childbearing1. A continuous cycle of poverty develops, where girls who have left school give birth to children and these children will most likely face the same challenges and struggle to complete their education.
For many decades, the United Nations has considered education to be a human right. The fourth UN Sustainable Development Goal is Quality Education – this includes eliminating gender disparities in education.
HOPE worldwide Zambia has established free after-school clubs to help Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) aged 10-24 to complete their secondary school education. These AGYW have either left school before completing their education (i.e. Grade 12) or are deemed to be at risk of doing so. The clubs are held during term-time in 4 communities of Lusaka: Mtendere, Chawama, Kanyama and Kalingalinga.
Supporting Zambian girls with their secondary education will help them to break the cycle of poverty. Educated girls will be better equipped to find meaningful jobs and provide for their families, which will have a wider positive economic impact on their communities. They will be more likely to understand the importance of education and send their children to school, thereby transforming the lives of their children for years to come.
HOPE worldwide Zambia also runs Kids Clubs for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs), parent support groups, and a women’s economic empowerment programme for caregivers. They also operate a private pre-school that accepts fee-paying children alongside subsidised OVCs.
As part of our COVID-19 International Relief Fund, we sent £2,000 to HOPE worldwide Zambia to help the team to provide packages of food, water, medicines, and multipurpose soaps to their beneficiaries. Food packages included mealie meal (a maize flour which is boiled with water), sugar, beans, kapenta (a local freshwater fish), cooking oil and salt. We were able to help provide food relief to a total of 114 families.
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.
1Central Statistical Office (CSO) [Zambia], Ministry of Health (MOH) [Zambia], and ICF (2019) Zambia Demographic and Health Survey 2018: Key Indicators. Rockville, Maryland, USA: Central Statistical Office, Ministry of Health, and ICF.