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ZAP, Zambia

Keeping girls in school in rural Zambia

ZAP works in one of the poorest regions of Zambia and is active in the field of education in the broadest sense. One of its programs at the Government School in Nkulumaziba is especially aimed at keeping girls in school - preventing them from being married off at a very young age and consequently foregoing further education.

How the initiative makes a difference 

The Nkulumaziba Goverment School is a community run and government supported school located in the rural ‘bush’ 50km from the main town of Mumbwa. It consists of a primary school with 720 students and a secondary school with 380 students. The school is well embedded in a highly motivated and supportive local community that helped to build the school and contributes community teachers. The teacher’s salaries are officially paid by the Ministry of Education who recognized the school in 2013.

The school is also supported by the Zambia Allocation Program (ZAP) which was founded in 2008 by Josien Dudok van Heel. The foundation lends financial support to local non-profit organizations that enhance the living environment of the poor in Zambia. In addition to various construction and employment projects ZAP has started a program especially aimed at girls. As many families have difficulties paying the tuition fees girls in particular tend to drop out before completion. The program helps to keep girls in school preventing them from being married off at a very young age and consequently foregoing further education.

How we engage

McKinsey for Children supports 100 girls in final grades 5, 6 and 7 of Nkulumaziba’ primary school. Their parents have to sign a contract that tuition and other school-related expenses are paid for as long as the girls go to school regularly (and are not married off or do become pregnant). The initiative reports on attendance and performance of the girls twice a year. In total, 450 girls have been supported this way since 2015. The program gets a lot of attention from various government institutions.

Why it matters

Education is a critical issue in poor and rural areas of Zambia. 60% of its 17 million inhabitants live below the poverty line and 54% of the population is below the age of 18. Seven of eight primary age children attend school, but only half complete the cycle. Enrollment rates in rural areas, where 60% of the people live, are >20% below urban rates. In rural areas, 27% of all females (18% of males) have no access to education.