Britain to fund Zim girls' education

HARARE - The British government through its Department for International Development (DFID) has announced $40 million of new funding to enable 89 000 vulnerable girls in Zimbabwe to receive education over the next three years.

The funding will also help around 350 000 other young people to improve their life chances.

The projects will be implemented by two civil society organisations, Campaign for Female Education Camfed and World Vision over three years.

Camfed will ensure that 40 000 vulnerable girls in 24 rural districts receive direct support to complete four years of junior secondary education; over 330 000 girls and boys in rural secondary schools benefit from supplementary learning materials to improve their learning outcomes; over 1 600 school-leavers are trained as para-educators to provide peer mentoring to girls still at school and in some cases set up income-generating activities; and greater uptake and use of mobile technology to support education planning and learning.

Camfed will work with the publishing company Pearson Education.

Jane Rintoul, the head of DFID in Zimbabwe said, “Women are the key to economic growth and investing in girls’ education is the single most effective thing we can do to break the cycle of poverty.”

An extra year in primary school boosts a girl’s eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent.

An extra year of secondary education can add 25 percent.

Girls who are educated are more likely to marry later.

They are more likely to get themselves and their babies immunised against fatal diseases and those who have a secondary education are three times less likely to be HIV positive.

The funding is additional to the over $100 million that DFID is providing to support education in Zimbabwe between 2012 and 2015 through the Education Transition Fund (ETF), the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) and an existing grant agreement with Camfed.

Between 2011 and 2015 the UK government through DFID expects to provide over $700 million of support in sectors including health, education, wealth creation, social protection as well as water and sanitation.

The UK government has prioritised girls’ education as one of the four pillars of its Women and Girls Strategy. - Margaret Chinowaita, Community Affairs Editor

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