EDUCATION – Women for Change Women and Men - Equal Partners in Development! Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:49:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Veronica Nyirongo working towards her dream of being a teacher Fri, 09 Sep 2016 08:54:48 +0000 Read More

Females and males in rural areas are less educated than their urban counterparts. The median years
of schooling are 3.0 and 3.7 years for females and males, respectively, in rural areas compared with 6.4
and 7.2 years, respectively, in urban areas. This is according to the 2013-2014 Zambia Health Demographic Health Survey Report.

This situation is sad considering that education is key to one realizing their full potential and attaining a level playing field where one can compete on equal basis with others for better jobs or indeed producing better ideas that are well paying.

However, reports indicated in the Zambia Demographic Health Survey that wealth exerts a positive influence on educational attainment and that females from the highest wealth quintile are more likely to be educated than those from other quintiles indeed show that education is not easy to access for those with less resources or in poverty.

Considering that poverty levels in Zambia are standing at 60 percent according to the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey of 2010, this means that the number of Zambians who drop out of school or fail to access education is also high. Access to education especially secondary and tertiary is even more challenging.

This situation is worse in rural areas where poverty levels according to the Central Statistical Office (CSO) stand at 78 percent in rural areas and 28 percent in the urban areas.  In Zambia, poverty is defined as lack of access to income, employment opportunities, and entitlements, including freely determined consumption of goods and services, shelter, and other basic needs.
Women for Change (WfC) and VIDEA its partner also view education as a key factor to poverty reduction and attainment of development for families, communities and a nation. WfC believes that an educated mind produces better ideas, an educated person makes better contribution to society and also is far much better able to provide for themselves than one who is not.

To this end, WfC has been providing direct education support to 14 orphans and vulnerable children coming from rural areas with support from VIDEA.  Some of these children are either at secondary schools, colleges or universities.

WfC caught up with two of the children it is providing support to. These include Veronica Nyirongo and Komani Phiri.

Veronica Nyirongo is 18 years old and is from Chidumbu Village in Ludanzi district. She went to school in Lundazi. Her journey to attain secondary school education was not easy as her parents are peasant famers. As she spoke to WfC she recounts that five teachers at her former secondary school called Emusa Secondary school used to contribute personal money to pay for her school fees from grades 10 to 12.

“ After writing the exam, I got my results that indicated that I had obtained 18 points but my  parents were unable to send me to college even if I had been accepted because they did not have money.” She said,

Veronica was assisted to apply for college by her cousin and she was accepted to study at Evelyn Hone College. However, her future dreams of becoming a teacher hand in the balance because of lack of funds.

“I feel so lucky and happy that after approaching Women for Change with my results and acceptance letter, they agreed to fund me. I am happy that the Chairperson of Chinkamu Area Association was able top recommend me to WfC for support and now am working towards becoming a teacher in order for me to impart knowledge and help others like I was helped.” Veronica smiled.

And WfC Executive Director, Lumba Siyanga expressed happiness at the development and said her organization is proud to associate itself with the changed life of Veronica and other young persons the organisation was supporting with the assistance of VIDEA.

She added that looking at one of the young persons WfC has sponsored to school and is now an accountant is a major milestone.

WfC has been sponsoring Komani Phiri also from Lundazi to study accounts and he now has a licentiate and technician certificates. Komani’s dream has become true of becoming an accountant.

However, his beginning was not so different from that of Veronica in that his parents were able to support him until grade 12 but were unable to raise college fees for him to carry on with his education of obtaining a professional qualification.

Komani is currently undertaking internship at Women for Change in order to gain work experience and also delighted to practice his profession.

The internship is also meant to build his confidence levels and improve his knowledge on workplace cultures.

Changing lives through education Fri, 09 Sep 2016 08:49:07 +0000 Read More

One World Bank study found that for every year of education a girl receives, her life-long income rose by 18% – with a vast impact on economic growth.

Indeed, “The evidence is very clear: when we invest in girls’ education and we embrace women in our workforce, that does not just benefit them, it benefits all of us”, United States First Lady Michel Obama adds.

Based on the above, WfC with support from VIDEA has been providing direct education support to several youths and the organisation was happy to learn that two more girls have completed their secondary education under its Orphans and Vulnerable Children direct education support.

Tisa Mtonga and Agness Banda completed their grade 12 last year and had very encouraging results reveals WfC Seniour Animator Chris Singelengele .

“Agness excelled with high grades in Mathematics, English and Science; she got a total of 15 points which is Division One (1) in the Zambian academic context. She is the first girl in the area to get a division one and to have completed grade twelve”. Chris said.

Agness is currently offering her services by teaching a grade four class as an untrained teacher, but plans to go to nursing school, which she absolutely has the grades for.

“She has given the WfC/VIDEA partnership the pride and encouragement to continue to fundraise for such bright girls, as this will continue to encourage female education in communities, which is in line with the National Education System that encourages girl child education.” Chris adds

Even more encouraging Chris said is that five students under the programme are currently attending university or college.

He said that Gift is training as a Medical Doctor at Apex University, Bertha Mukonda is at University of Zambia studying to be a Secondary School Teacher, Michael Namitondo is at Copper Belt University studying Forestry, Veronica Nyirongo is at Evelyn Hone and is studying to be a Secondary School Teacher while Michael Phiri is at Ukwimi trades institute Studying General Agriculture.

Basket Weaving Project enhances access to girl education and poverty reduction Fri, 09 Sep 2016 08:46:26 +0000 Read More

Kebby Lingomba Mandandi is the father to Mebelo and is a basket weaver who is not formally employed.

“I educate my children through basket weaving. So far two of my daughters have completed school. I can proudly say that the first daughter to complete is now a Police Officer.”

He says that his daughter completed school through the money he raised from basket weaving. “I wish to thank VIDEA for buying baskets from me and the rest of the women in the area association. I wish VIDEA continued existence so that they can continue supporting our Basket project. By doing so I will be able to educate the other two of my daughters who are still in school.”

Mebelo, is daughter to Mr. Mandandi and she had this to say, “I completed grade 12 last year 2015 and I will definitely go to college. I attribute all this to my father who managed to pay for my school fees through basket weaving. I was not going to complete school had it not been for his involvement in basket weaving. I am happy that my father is a basket weaver otherwise I was going to stay home without completing school.”

The help being offered by Victoria International Development Education Association VIDEA through WfC in Zambia is truly having a positive impact on people’s lives.

Creating women leaders at grassroot levels – breaking the barriers Fri, 09 Sep 2016 08:24:04 +0000 Read More


Several factors affect women’s ability to take up leadership positions at various levels in different segments of the Zambian society, which is governed by a dual legal system that includes statutory and customary laws.

The statutory laws in Zambia are silent on gender issues and at times gender-blind, while at customary level it is quite clear that a woman’s job is to take care of the family and decision making should be left for the man.

While several laws and policies have been put in place, including the establishment of a gender ministry in 2012, Zambia is still grappling to attain gender equality in leadership because of its cultural practices, which provide early socialization messages on gender before people enter formal education.

While formal education does influence the members of the Zambian society that are able to attend, the residual socialization still returns to haunt many elite or educated women when they get married or go through various key stages of life. During marriage, these elite undergo cultural initiation which reinforces the tradition of the man being a leader and women as followers. This includes transition from childhood to adulthood, and attainment of parenthood.

Gender inequities in Zambia has resulted into most women being impoverished, facing the lowest education levels, and failing to fully participate in the governance of their country despite it being a democratic state.

Having noted this block in gender equality and hindrance in the ability of women to participate in leadership, Women for Change has embarked on advocacy work to change the discriminatory cultural practices that have resulted into women’s inability to actualize their full potential in life.

Women for Change (WfC), with support from We Effect, has been undertaking social empowerment and gender sensitizations in six rural areas of Central Province since 2014. The areas are located in Kapiri, Mposhi, and Mumbwa districts. These areas have lower literacy levels and the main leadership is customary, consisting of chiefs and headpersons.

Through this project, WfC has managed to increase knowledge levels and improve behaviors in the target communities towards gender equality- positive change is evident. The traditional leadership as well as women and men in the community have changed their perspective on women holding leadership positions. They now allow women to be leaders and in fact have elected or nominated them to various leadership positions. Female headpersons are also increasing in numbers, in comparison to statistics from the past few years. Two female headpersons have been appointed and these are headperson Shimkamba and Kapapa.

WfC managed to attain this firstly by taking an affirmative action which ensures that positions of chairperson and treasurer in all community structures formed with the help of the organisation are taken up by women. As a result, the chairpersons and treasurers of groups, Area Associations and District Associations are female.

This is deliberate as it begins to alter the normal traditional practices and allows the community to begin to see it as a norm for a woman to be a leader thus creating a new culture or norm in target areas. These women also become role models for their communities thus acting as a catalyst for women in rural areas to aspire for leadership.

Women in leadership roles under WfC develop confidence, and continue to take up other leadership positions in their communities through vying for elections because the community has recognized them as leaders by virtue of them being leaders under WfC structures. Many of such women have proved to be amazing role models, delivering education to the community and strengthening their personal skills.

Another approach is through advocacy work by conducting engagement and sensitizations of communities and traditional leaders, who then begin to endorse the benefits of women’s participation in leadership within their communities.

WfC also engages the third level advocacy which is done at national level with government through lobbying for policy and laws that seek to promote gender equality in Zambia.

The change can be seen in many parts of the areas where WfC has undertaken its work. One good example is Kapiri Mposhi in Chibongolwa Village where WfC’s Chitukutuku Area Association is situated. Under this Area Association, Grace Nachiibanga Siachitema is a member of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) for Chitukutuku Primary School and Chairperson of Chitukutuku WfC Area Association.

Grace explained that she was chosen during a general meeting of the school because the community identified and appreciated her leadership under WfC.

During an interview with WfC, Grace revealed that she is able to participate in decision-making on matters of education at the school offering grades one to seven. The school covers 15 villages and has six classrooms with a total population of 402 pupils.

She explained during the tour of the school that the main challenge being faced by the school is insufficient teachers’ accommodation which hinders the increase in number of teachers at the school.

She said the lack of sufficient teachers was affecting the quality of education of the pupils and has impeded the ability of many adults who want to return to school through night school because the teachers were few.

Grace stated that she has been one of the contributors to the idea of constructing more teachers’ houses which currently stand at two.

Her contribution and participation in the PTA are yielding results; she has been part of the decision and implementation of the plan to construct more teachers’ houses. “We have so far made over 500 blocks while we have already put up the foundation for the third house and our aim is to build five houses”, she says as she points to the bricks.

Grace added that the next plan of the PTA is to construct a library for the school, which currently has two toilet blocks for boys and girls. It was also recently plastered and they have been able to engage the District Education authorities to allocate resources to improve the school.

Chitukutuku Primary School was constructed in 2004. Before then, children from Grace’s village and surrounding areas used to walk long distances to reach school, which took up to four hours of walking.

Villages in Zambia are rarely serviced by local transport and mainly rely on informal modes of transport such as old lorries/trucks or vans. Bicycles are the main form of transport when the whole family, especially breadwinners or parents, need to shuttle long distances to purchase farming inputs and other home requirements to the nearest district headquarters.

Women for Change with support from We Effect has managed to empower 142 women with leadership skills and provided them an opportunity to become leaders through the formation of 71 groups which are led by female chairpersons and Treasurers.