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Education for Girls in Zambia
Due to extreme poverty in Zambia, many Zambian girls and women miss out on the opportunity to receive an education. With 64 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day, Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Unfortunately, this leads to serious repercussions for the youth in the country. In fact, the Southern African Consortium for Measuring Education Quality found that Zambia comes in at number 13 out of the 15 countries in terms of literacy and numeracy. In rural areas, 27 percent of females have no education, primarily due to poverty, pregnancy and early marriages.

The Impact of Marriage

The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative found that female literacy measures at 67 percent, while male literacy measures at 82 percent. This disparity holds females back in terms of economic advancement and independence from their male counterparts. The legal age for marriage in this country is 16. However, 46.3 percent of all girls marry before the age of 18. Further, evidence shows that early marriages play a big role in contributing to female dropout rates; therefore, initiatives encouraging women to delay marriage will likely decrease drop out rates.

Gender Equality in School

In Oct. 2018, Christine Kalamwina, the Zambia Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, recognized that girls’ education was imperative in ensuring gender equality and economic female progress. In response to this, the government in Zambia enacted a new law. This law made it mandatory for schools to have an equal number of males and females enrolled. The reasoning behind these efforts was to assist in closing the education gender gap. Additionally, many girls drop out of school due to menstruation. The Zambian government is now distributing free sanitary towels in rural areas to allow women more opportunities.

CAMFED and GEWEL

Fortunately, there are many organizations working towards improving education for girls in Zambia. The Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) is one of the organizations that works with the local government in order to promote gender equality and child protection. It has already provided secondary scholarships for 38,168 girls in Zambia alone.

The International Development Association (IDA) has also made a crucial impact. The IDA is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. The Girls Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood Project (GEWEL) is a program attempting to decrease the rate of child marriage. Its focus is on expanding access to secondary school for young girls, and more specifically, young girls from poor families through the Keep Girls in School bursary. Forced to drop out due to financial issues, the KGS assists by providing funds to continue girls’ education. There is also a program for working-age women, the Supporting Women’s Livelihood program, which offers training, startup funds, additional savings and mentor programs. Through the GEWEL project, 20,000 women received assistance in 2017, and in 2018, the project had a goal to help over 50,000 women.

– Jessica Haidet
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Girls' Education in ZambiaDue to extreme poverty, girls’ education in Zambia suffers. Many Zambian girls and young women miss out on the opportunity to receive an education. With 64 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day, Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Unfortunately, this leads to serious repercussions for the Zambian youth.

Background

In fact, the Southern African Consortium for Measuring Education Quality found Zambia comes in at No. 13 out of 15 countries for literacy and numeracy. In rural areas, 27 percent of females receive no education. This is primarily due to poverty, pregnancy and early marriages.

The United Nations’ Girls’ Education Initiative found female literacy measures at 67 percent while male literacy is measured as 82 percent. This disparity holds females back in terms of economic advancement and independence from their male counterparts. The legal age for marriage in Zambia is 16. Subsequently, 46.3 percent of girls get married before the age of 18. Early marriages contribute to female dropout rates. Therefore, initiatives encouraging women to delay marriage or continue education while married can decrease dropout rates.

Calling for Change

In October 2018, Permanent Representative of Zambia Christine Kalamwina recognized girls’ education in Zambia is imperative in ensuring gender equality and economic advancement of females. In response to this, the Zambian government enacted a law mandating an equal male-female enrollment rate. This law aims to close the education gender gap. Additionally, many girls drop out of school due to menstruation. As a result, the Zambian government began distributing free sanitary towels in rural areas.

Fortunately, there are many organizations working to improve the girls’ education in Zambia. The Campaign for Female Education works with the local government to promote gender equality and child protection. They have already provided secondary scholarships for 38,168 girls in Zambia alone.

The World Bank’s International Development Association also does important work to improve girls’ education in Zambia. The Girl’s Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood Project (GEWEL) helps the Zambian government decrease the rate of child marriage. To do so, they increase access to secondary school for young girls from poor families. One method include the Keep Girls in School bursary. Financial issues often force girls to drop out of school. Therefore, the KGS bursary provides the funds necessary to continue girls’ education. Similarly, the Support Women’s Livelihood program supports working-age women. It offers training, startup funds, additional savings and mentorship programs. Ultimately, GEWEL helped 20,000 in 2017 and projected they would help over 50,000 women in 2018.

Jessica Haidet
Photo: Flickr

girls' education in ZambiaYoung women in Zambia are lacking the proper education needed due to harsh poverty. Fortunately, a group called Global Samaritans is continuing education in orphanages and schools in the hopes of bettering girls’ education in Zambia and equipping these women with the tools they need in order to shape their own futures.

Global Samaritans is a nonprofit organization with the purpose of improving life for those in Zambia. Its goal is to provide Zambian children with access to the highest level of school they wish to pursue, Executive Director for Global Samaritans, Erin Porter, told The Borgen Project.

Issues with Girls’ Education in Zambia

Zambia is struggling to maintain enough schools for children that are eligible to attend, according to UNICEF. It is estimated that 1,500 classrooms need to be constructed each year in order for children to go to school in Zambia. Citizens that live in the rural areas of the country are less likely to go to school because they cannot afford school supplies.

Zambian women face these hardships even worse than men when trying to become educated because of gender stereotypes and inequalities. In rural areas, 27 percent of Zambian women are not educated, compared to men at 18 percent.

Despite girls having a higher school attendance rate than boys, illiteracy is 15 percent higher in girls. Zambian girls are also twice as likely to drop out than boys by grade seven because of socioeconomic problems, according to the World Bank.

Addressing Gender Stereotypes in Zambia

These women are prone to marrying young, getting pregnant early and staying at home, performing household tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Since boys are seen as more profitable to a family, they are more likely to be sent to school instead of girls. Diseases such as AIDs spread quickly throughout the country, causing poverty to heighten, which forces girls to either drop out of school or not go at all.

“Girls are the ones who suffer the most when it comes to education in Zambia,” Porter said. “Oftentimes, they are responsible for the home and Zambia suffers from water scarcity. So, if a young girl has to walk 30 minutes to an hour each way to collect water two times a day, that is vital time spent on domestic chores instead of attending school.”

How Good Samaritans is Helping

To help with this problem, Global Samaritans has set up an orphanage and a school so Zambian children can receive the education they deserve. The group built a high school in 2010 called the Global Samaritans High School to provide children a secondary level education, helping achieve girls’ education in Zambia.

Children attend a government school from grades one through seven and then attend boarding schools after that, which can be costly due to fees, uniforms and school supplies. Global Samaritans High School provides children two more years of education at a nominal fee, Porter said.

The high school works hand-in-hand with the orphanage to allow a higher level of girls’ education in Zambia. For the girls who fall pregnant at a young age, the orphanage welcomes them back to learn and holds informational meetings about the importance of girls’ education in Zambia, Marriam Konga, orphanage administrator, said.

“I am proud to say that as an orphanage, we have been able to raise girls into adults today, some of whom are working as teachers and nurses and are already making a change in the communities around them,” Konga said. Global Samaritans will continue to work toward improving the lives of young women in Zambia and lowering the level of poverty in the African nation.

– McKenzie Hamby
Photo: Flickr