The Zambia Accountability Programme (ZAP) works to increase accountability in the delivery of public goods and services.
Through technical assistance and grant mechanisms to partners, the programme aims to ensure that public policy and democratic processes are more credible, inclusive and transparent. And, importantly, represent citizens' interests. Particular emphasis is placed on promoting gender equality and social inclusion, including supporting girls to remain in school.
According to a 2014 UNICEF report, approximately 500,000 children are out of school in Zambia due to a number of challenges. These include poverty and geographical factors, such as those requiring children in rural areas to walk long distances to and from school, often over ten kilometres a day. Some of the challenges identified are unique to girls and result in hurdles that keep them out of school, like early pregnancies and child marriages.
The Human Development report published in 2016 reveals that, worldwide, one out of eight age-eligible girls do not attend primary or secondary school. The report goes on to say that each year 15 million girls in developing countries marry before the age of 18.
The ZAP bursary programme focuses on children living in rural Zambia and supports them to continue their education in secondary school. Bursaries are offered predominantly to girls, with the objective of improving access, retention and progression of girls in school.
ZAP has supported two civil society organisations — Zambia Open Community Schools and Campaign for Female Education — to provide education bursaries to young people, particularly girls, the aim being to improve access and retention to secondary and tertiary education.
To raise awareness about the barriers girls in Zambia face in accessing education and to highlight the successes of girls staying in school, ZAP commissioned a short documentary entitled Nyamuka Moye (‘Arise Young Woman’).
The film premiered on 10 October, with support from the UK Department for International Development. Key stakeholders from the education community, civil society organisations, development partners, and beneficiaries of the bursaries attended the launch to discuss the project and the importance of girl’s education.
For Andrew Hamilton, Deputy British High Commissioner in Zambia, the bursary programme was a long-term investment rather than a donation:
‘I am a firm believer that, for the most vulnerable, whose parents may be struggling to send their child/children to school, a bursary that can ease the pressure is the single biggest incentive to stay in school. The yields from investing in girls’ education are substantial. An educated girl is likely to increase her personal earning potential, as well as reduce poverty in her community. According to the World Bank, the return on one year of secondary education for a girl correlates with as high as a 25 per cent increase in wages later in life.’
Dorcas, a bursary beneficiary noted:
‘Rural girls are usually side lined. Thank you for identifying us! I would have been either married by now or street vending if not for this bursary.’
To widen the reach and increase awareness of this issue nationwide, a social media campaign was rolled out via British Council Zambia for the entire month of October using the hashtag #NyamukaMoye. The campaign generated a buzz on social media, with more than 100,000 interactions through Facebook and Twitter.
The film was also aired the following day on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation to coincide with the International Day of the Girl.
ZAP is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by British Council. For more information about ZAP, read here.