HARARE-Nine thousand five hundred girls in secondary school, including girls with disabilities are set to benefit from Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED Zimbabwe) bursaries under the “Girls Education Accelerator” (GEA) project aimed at empowering the less privileged girls in the country.
The US$12. 4 million project will be rolling for the next 3 years.
Speaking during the Global Partnership for Education programme implementation launch last Thursday, CAMFED Executive Director for Africa, Dr Shungu Gwarina said under the GEA project, 2 000 youth will be trained to serve as mentors that supports learners and the most vulnerable as they progress in their education.
He said the accelerated programme remains an important investment in addressing gender inequality and unfavorable educational outcomes for girls.
“Through the Girls Education Accelerator Programme, over the next 3 years and with a resourcing of $12,4 million, we will double down in working with and on behalf of the Ministry to distill, implement and embed what works in accelerating access, progression, completion and transition for girls. The Accelerator was identified as a key investment to help address and contribute to existing efforts towards addressing gender inequity and poorer educational outcomes for girls, with a focus on areas where girls lag behind boys – complementing the wider educational support prioritised through the Systems Transformation Grant. Several pillars have been identified for the GEA implementation with the intention that its activities will address how multiple factors intersect to form barriers to girls completing school and fulfilling their potential.
“The GEA will Provide 9 000 bursaries to girls in secondary school; including 500 girls living with disability. Roll-out a dropout early warning system to promote retention of girls in school. Support the enhancement of the Ministry’s Life Skills programme in schools, including training up to 2 000 youth to serve as mentors to support learners and provide social support to the most marginalized as they progress through school,” he said.
CAMFED partnered with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for the past 30 years, in advancing girls’ education in Zimbabwe.
Resultantly, more than 4 million girls and young women in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia have benefited from the organization’s education support.
Gwarina noted that many young women have taken up various professions and leadership positions in their communities and in different sectors of the economy including in the education, health, social, business, finance, science, legal and many others.
“We owe this success to our partnership with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, and the Zimbabwean communities who have embraced and cooperated with us in working together to support children through school, communities that have been the bedrock with and through which we do the work we do and have realized many achievements and indeed lessons over the years, added Gwarina.
He said his organisation will continue supporting the marginalized children, especially girls within the education system and ensure that the deserving candidates are enrolled in schools.
The accelerated programme is set to boost existing education ministry programme pillars, whose intention is to up scaling the pace, and investing in targeted action to advance educational outcomes for girls.
The CAMFED director added that there is a long way to go as the country still has the problem of child marriages, teen pregnancies which needed to be tackled “to ensure that the nascent potential and ambitions of the most marginalized girls are indeed realized”.
To date “a network of 85 000 young women who have been supported through CAMFED’s bursary programme over the years, serve as guides, peers and mentors, supporting the younger generation through school. Each one goes on to support at least 3 other girls through school, from their own individual and collective philanthropy. This Multiplier has shown us that investing in girls education, unlocks significant returns for other girls too,” said Gwarina.