WALTHAM, MA | March 7, 2012
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has selected EDC to help improve educational opportunities in Zambia by working with the Ministry of Education to institutionalize support for community schools throughout the country. The five-year, $30 million Orphaned and Vulnerable Children – Education Support Initiative (OVC-ESI) will enhance learning opportunities, increase school effectiveness, and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on children’s education in Zambia. The initiative will also contribute to the ministry’s efforts to meet national goals and also the 2015 Education for All and Millennium Development Goals.
Run by local organizations, Zambian community schools have overcrowded classrooms and few resources. Community school students have low levels of achievement when compared to students from government schools. Teachers are often unpaid volunteers who lack teaching credentials or formal training. The new initiative will train teachers, assist head teachers to better support colleagues and plan for school improvement, increase student access to textbooks and other learning resources, and help communities advocate more effectively for children in the greatest need.
“Zambia’s community schools face serious challenges in their capacity to provide children with a quality education,” said EDC’s Lisa Easterbrooks. “Community schools attract the poorest and most marginalized of Zambia’s children, many of whom are orphans responsible for their own households and who face daily challenges, including poverty and poor health. EDC’s job is to apply our expertise to assist the Ministry of Education to overcome these barriers.”
In addition, two EDC partners, Forum for African Women Educationalists in Zambia (FAWEZA) and the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed), will provide 48,000 scholarships to girls and boys over the course of the five-year program, enabling many of these youth to complete 12th grade by the end of the project. All scholarship recipients will receive psychosocial and developmental guidance and counseling support, and they will also participate in HIV/AIDS prevention action clubs.
The small business partner EnCompass LLC will provide opportunities to engage universities and other institutions in educational research related to community schools and orphaned and vulnerable children.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), addresses some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic opportunity. EDC manages 350 projects in 35 countries. Visit www.edc.org.