A GROUPING of five organisations have come together to assist over 13,000 girls in the most remote parts of Zimbabwe to access education through the Supporting Adolescent Girls’ Education (SAGE) project.
The SAGE project is funded by UK Aid through the Girls’ Education Challenge and is being implemented by a grouping of five organisations: Plan International, Econet, Christian Blind Mission (CBM), Apostolic Women Empowerment Trust (AWET) and Open University UK (OU), in conjunction with the Department for Non-Formal Education, under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE).
Plan International communications specialist, Sibusisiwe Ndlovu, said the project targets to equip adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years with basic education skills.
“It is targeting 13200 of the hardest to reach, out-of-school, adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years, who have never been to school or dropped out of school at Grade 5 and below.
“The project provides them with support to attain basic education skills which will help them go back to formal education, or access vocational skills training and employment,” Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu added that the project is being implemented in 11 districts throughout the country.
“The programme is being implemented in 11 districts of Zimbabwe: Mutare, Mutasa and Chimanimani (Manicaland Province); Mutoko (Mashonaland East Province); Epworth-Mabvuku-Tafara, Northern Central Harare and High Glen (Harare Province); Imbizo, Khami and Reigate (Bulawayo Province) and Bulilima (Matabeleland South Province),” she said.
SAGE is a five-year programme, running from August 2018 to July 2023. Ndlovu added that the programme was necessitated by the high rates of school drop-outs among girls.
“Throughout Plan International’s years of work in Education in Zimbabwe, we came to realise that the challenges to accessing a quality education mainly affect adolescent girls, as they are faced with a number of different and linked barriers.
“The situation for the girl child is worsened by the interaction of their gender with other characteristics which enhance their risk of missing education. These include age, religion, economic status, ethnicity, geography, and disability, among others.
“Therefore, the project purposefully targets girls, who have never been to schools, married adolescent girls, adolescent mothers, girls from ethnic minority communities, girls from apostolic communities; girls with disabilities, internally displaced girls and girls engaged in labour,” Ndlovu said.
She said within the project, Plan International ran a life skills programme called Champions of Girls Education.
This Ndlovu said would allow girls and boys in their communities to learn more about gender norms and values and promote the importance of girls’ access to education.