Picture to the right by: Dogoodfilms & Lacy Wittman
In Zambia, life for a young girl is challenging. With over 60% of the population living below the poverty line, it’s no surprise that school dropout usually begins around the age of 13. Teenage pregnancy, menstruation, duties around the home or having to care for younger siblings, often cause girls to abandon their schooling, or fall more than two years behind their expected age grade. 2010 Central Statistical Office reported only 13% of girls ever make it to secondary school. With very little support for those girls, it limits their potential and has other far-reaching implications.
Since the launch in Livingstone, The Girl Impact program has impacted close to 700 girls and women. Alongside running regular workshops, we also implement the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP): Health and Life Skills Curriculum. This was developed in Zambia to teach girls to build strong support networks, increase knowledge around reproductive health, and develop their decision-making and negotiation skills.
• HIV spreads twice as fast among uneducated girls in Zambia than any country in the world
• Women with no education have their first birth 6.2 years earlier than women with secondary education
• 1 in 10 Zambian women are married before the age of 15 and 45% are married by the age of 18
• About 28% of young females aged 15 to 19 years have begun child bearing
• 47% of women in Zambia have experienced physical violence since they turned 15 years old
Working with girls aged 10-16, we provide educational workshops and activities covering the 6 Pillars and the AGEP Program to cover relevant topics to girls in Livingstone. In the past two years, girls have participated in over 75 workshops and have recently had our first group graduate!
Girls are responsible for The Girl Impact sustainable farm which they plant, grow and harvest vegetables such as maize, tomatoes, onions, carrots and okra. In return, all the girls are fed a healthy meal during workshops and the leftover produce is sold as an income generating activity.
Women’s Group is a combination of 6 pillar workshops, income generating activities and running local village tours. Further, it has become a group to support and encourage strong women to speak up in their local community about the importance of gender equality.
After working with girls and women, we realized what about boys? Boys come together for workshops and activities which also surround the 6 pillars.
Tag Rugby Sports Programs
Girls who attend the Girls Group, also have the opportunity to participate in Tag Rugby once a week. This encourages self-confidence and teamwork.