FAWEZA working with communities to combat child marriages and teenage pregnancies

The Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia (FAWEZA) is working with the community in Southern Province to combat Child Marriages/teenage pregnancies  among school going children. The Organisation has trained mother mentors and the neighbourhood watch members    -who are gallant women and men from the communities, who have volunteered their time to promote and protect the rights of girls in Munjile and Mainza communities in Southern Province of Zambia.

Playing different roles, the mother mentors are charged with the responsibility of educating the school going girls on the ills of child marriages and teenage pregnancies. The mother mentors also monitor school absenteeism among the girls. They also provide counselling to the girls who are victims of child marriages/teenage pregnancies and encourage them to re-enter back into school.

Mother mentors and Neighbourhood watch members pose for a photo with FAWEZA AED at Munjile primary school in Mazabuka district Southern Province of Zambia

On the other hand, the neighbourhood watch committee is a link between the community and the Zambia Police in the area. The members of the committee are charged with a responsibility of reporting perpetrators of GBV in the communities especially those who marry or marry off learners. The committee in Munjile and Mainza communities in 2020 managed to report a total of 25 cases to the local Zambia Police-Victim Support Unit (VSU).

This is under the “access to justice for adolescent girls”- project being implemented through financial support from  Equality Now – A Nairobi Based NGO. The project has seen a total of 15 girls re-claim their school space after becoming pregnant and being married off.

In Zambia teenage pregnancies/child marriages continues to be one major cause for school drop-out among adolescent girls. The Ministry of General Education statistics show that annually, over 15,000 girls drop out of school due to pregnancies. This scenario is of great concern to FAWEZA.

To compliment government’s efforts, FAWEZA continues to accelerate training of teachers in comprehensive sexuality education so that they cascade the knowledge to learners, FAWEZA empowers families with financial literacy so that families are able to meet the basic needs of school going children and support their education. In addition, the organisation conducts community awareness on the ills of child marriages and teenage pregnancies to mention but a few interventions FAWEZA implements to curb teenage pregnancies and child marriages in Zambia.

Empowering Learners in Financial Literacy

The Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia (FAWEZA) implements interventions that are aimed at empowering learners in financial literacy with an aim of changing their mind set in regards to saving and raising money. This has seen a number of learners engaging in income generating activities to raising funds to pay for their schools fees and buying school requisites such as books, uniforms and pens.

In its quest to scale down this knowledge to learners at school level, the organization enhances the capacity of teachers and community members in order to sustain its interventions. FAWEZA has trained teachers from North-Western, Northern, Eastern and Southern Provinces in financial literacy training supported by the Norwegian Church Aid and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Training of teachers from North-Western, Eastern and Southern Provinces

The teachers were expected to train learners and impart them with entrepreneurship skills. Currently about 6,150 learners have been trained in financial literacy in Zambia. FAWEZA believes that the financial literacy is a more sustainable way of ensuring that education support for learners is not only limited to schoolarships but income generating for learners to support for their education.

FAWEZA working with the Ministry of General Education, UNICEF and the Curriculum Development Centre has developed a financial literacy Manual which it uses to train teachers and in turn teachers use it for training learners.

Key outcomes have been recorded under this intervention among some of the outcomes includes, learners engaging in income generating activities.

19 year old Veronica Chomba at Kalambakuwa Day in Eastern starts a saloon business to support her education

FAWEZA re-enters 460 teen mothers back to schools

FAWEZA in the first and second quarter of 2019 has managed to re-enter a total of 460 girls back to school. This is under the organizations various projects aimed at ending child marriages, teenage pregnancies and enhancing access to sexual reproductive health rights issues.

With support from Swedish through NGOCC, NCA, CHAZ and an anonymous partner, the organization is raising community awareness through the trained community Action Groups(CAGs) on the importance of education and is urging traditional and religious leaders to support the implementation of the re-entry policy in Zambia.

Among some of the 460 girls that the organization has re-entered, the girls are being provided with education support which includes payment of school fees and purchase of school requirement.

Re-entered girls in Mazabuka District –Southern Province
Re-entered girls in Petauke District with FAWEZA staff

Promoting Sanitation for Girls in Schools

The Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia has partnered with a private company producing sanitary pads –Famcare to assist girls especially in rural schools.  The organization is cognizant that a number of girls do not have access to sanitary pads and as such during the time they have their menstrual cycle they tend to miss school. This increases absenteeism among the girls.

So far the organization in partnership with  Scott & Bennett Ltd have distributed free sanitary pads to a total of 200 girls in Mazabuka District.

FAWEZA calls on all stakeholders, especially the business community to partner with us so that we are able to assist the vulnerable but viable girls in rural schools. For partnerships in this area kindly contact us through email.

Executive Director hands over a box of Femcare pads to the Head teacher At St. Michael School in Mazabuka
FAWEZA STAFF demonstrating to girls how the pads work during the distribution exercise in Mazabuka.


FAWEZA is supporting teen mothers in Eastern Province to go back to school and complete the education cycle for a better future for both the mother and child.

Following the Re-Entry Policy and guidelines girls are given a chance to go back to school with an aim of reducing the poverty and illiteracy levels in communities and making their lives better. This will also enable them to make decisions from and informed point of view as well as actively participate in matters that concern them and leadership position.

Educated women in Zambia are shunning politics

Zambia has urged women, particularly in developing nations to actively engage in the political governance and bridge the global gender, social and economic gap if sustainable economic progression among nations is to be achieved.

Zambia’s Minister of Gender Elizabeth Phiri has told the United Nations that educated women in Zambia, as in many other countries are shunning politics because its male-dominated landscape has often been hostile and unpleasant to the female gender.

Mrs. Phiri has however said the Government of Zambia has continued to create an enabling environment for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through a range of innovative policies meant to close the gender social, economic and political disparities.

Speaking when she opened the 63rd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women side event, Mrs. Phiri noted that the competition in elective political positions of leadership in many countries is often too aggressive for the full participation of educated women, hence creating gender inequalities.

The theme for the 63rd CSW is: “Promoting Rights-based Social Protection Policies for Gender Equality, a prerequisite for Social Justice and Sustainable Development.”

The side event was organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in conjunction with Zambia, Women in Informal Employment Globalising Organising, Africa Platform for Social Protection and Africa Labour Network.

“In Zambia, like many other countries, particularly in developing nations, for women to get to high elective political positions, they have to defeat men and it is not an easy undertaking. Educated women are shunning politics because the male-dominated political sphere has remained aggressive. But women have to actively engage in the political governance of countries if the social and economic gender gap has to be closed for sustainable development,” Mrs. Phiri said.

She stated that Zambia remains committed to enhance gender mainstreaming through the development of policies and programmes that would be able to reduce poverty and vulnerability among women and girls.

Mrs. Phiri explained that with the National Social Protection Policy, Zambia has seen the enactment of the National Health Insurance and the approval of an integrated framework which aim at ensuring overall coherence and maximization of development impacts of investment in social protection.

She said that Zambia’s implementation of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme has so far improved nutrition levels among vulnerable rural households who can now access to adequate food.

Mrs. Phiri stated that the Government of Zambia is implementing the Food Security Programme, which is aimed at enhancing food security at household level through crop divarication, conservation farming as well as the promotion of alternative livelihoods among communities.

“The role of the Social Protection System is not only reducing poverty but also for achieving human development outcomes such as nutrition, health and education and tackling social inequality. Social protection programmes have the ability to tackle social constraints such as lack of income or income-generating capacity,” She added.

The 63rd Commission on the Status of Women was also attended by Zambia’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Dr. Auxillia Ponga, Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe, Ms Helen Mudora, a civil rights activist from Kenya and Dr Laura Alfers of Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising in South Africa.

This is contained in a statement issued by First Secretary for Press at Zambia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations Wallen Simwaka.

Gender minister talks women education

MINISTER of Gender Elizabeth Phiri points at women’s access to secondary education from about 25 percent in 2011 to 52 percent in 2016 as one of her ministry’s greatest achievements.

She says there is general affirmation in Zambia for equitable quality education for boys, girls, women and men.

However, the sticky point is on women’s poor representation in the political and economic spheres. For example, women only hold a marginal 18.8 percent of parliamentary seats.

Government urged to stop printing exam papers abroad

The National Action for Quality Education in Zambia has urged government to stop printing exam papers abroad.

Organisation Executive Director Aaron Chansa says the trend does not only manage to export capital and jobs away from Zambia but also denies an opportunity for Zambians to acquire important engineering and printing skills which this exercise would present if done locally.

Mr. Chansa said his Organisation finds the current practice of printing national examination papers out of the country strange and very inimical to skills development and government’s desire to industrialize for job creation.

“We are also aware that printing exam papers abroad is costing the country three times more than it would spend if papers were printed at government printers”, he added.

He said NAQEZ is further aware that at the moment, Zambia and Zimbabwe are the only Countries in the region still printing exam papers abroad and think that this is degrading and an assault to our 54 years of political Independence as a nation.

Mr. Chansa said the practice must be curtailed and allow public resources to remain inside the country for skills development and economic growth.

“We don’t agree with the thinking that Zambia has no capacity to print these papers. To this effect, our organization pleads with the Minister of General Education and his Permanent Secretary to critically consider our call and act in order to save billions of Kwacha”, he said.

Mr. Chansa said once this money is saved, ECZ will enhance security in examination management and Begin to handsomely motivate teachers who invigilate national exams.

He said the council will also be in a better position to pay markers of these exams on time adding that the saved funds would eventually enable the Examinations Council of Zambia to ultimately build its own printing facility for future assignments.

This practice began in 2013 and the desire was to cure the mischief of exam leakages in the country.

Before 2013, the printing was done within the country by Government printers. ECZ at first went to Britain to print exam papers and currently the exercise is done in India.

Exam leakages have now reached catastrophic levels. The suspension of national exams last year by the Minister of General Education stands as a classic example to the escalation of this retrogressive vice.

Education Minister hints at shortening exams period to deal with leakages

General Education Minister David Mabumba says his ministry is in talks with the Examinations Council of Zambia ECZ to revise the exam timetable for grades 7, 9 and 12.

Mr. Mabumba says the long periods that are spent writing exams may also be a reason for circulation of leakages among pupils.

He adds that the curriculum also needs to be revised because certain subjects that pupils are learning are being taught at wrong grades.

The minister also says teacher management will also be reviewed and the challenges that they face will be addressed.

Mr. Mabumba has also urged teachers to start authoring text books for pupils because they understand what pupils need due to the day to day interactions with them.

He says it is better for a local teacher to author a text book in vernacular rather than import such from abroad.

Mr. Mabumba was speaking when he toured some schools in Kafue District and had an interactive meeting with teachers from various schools within the district.

New reforms in the Education system underway

General Education Minister David Mabumba has disclosed that his ministry is planning to introduce a number of reforms in the education sector.

Mr Mabumba says among some of the reforms which his ministry is proposing is the examinations reforms and consultations are already in place.

He explains that under the first phrase of the examinations reforms is to strengthen the security arrangement to prevent fraud and malpractices which will be done this year.

Speaking during a consultative meeting with teachers in Samfya district, the Minister indicates that under the new reforms, there will be re-zoning of schools which will mean that not all schools will be keeping examination papers.

He points out that papers will be kept at one school within the zone in a strong room and will only be transported in the morning of exams to all the schools within that zone.

The Minister says this will mean that even the time of starting to write these examinations will be adjusted so as to ensure that exams papers are delivered to all schools within the zone on the actual day.

He notes that under these proposed examination reforms, there will be four layers of examinations strong rooms that is at the Provincial, District and Zonal levels.

Mr Mabumba points out that other proposed reforms are to start the manufacturing of school furniture at provincial levels as opposed to be importing from outside the country.

He further explains the his ministry is also planning to find ways of reforming the curriculum center so that local teachers and Professors at Universities can be involved in the production of books.

Mr Mabumba observes that once someone has gained varsity experience as a teacher and if he or she feels that they can produce a book as they understand learners needs then, they should be given chance as opposed to be importing books from outside.

He observes that this move will help to reduce shortage of learning materials in schools as books will be locally produced by experts in different subjects.

The Minister explains that these proposed changes are all aimed at helping to improve the quality of the countries education system.

And Luapula Provincial Education Officer, Ngosa Kotati used the event to shed more light on the re-entry policy for a girl child.

The Provincial Education Officer says the school re-entry policy only allows a girl child to fall pregnant once.

He explains that this move is aimed at ensuring that the policy is not abused but rather helps a girl child to get educated.

Mr Kotati points out that it is the duty of the Matrons in schools to see to it that girls are counselled once they returns to school after giving birth.

He observes that usually, girls who return to school after falling pregnant are left on their own without proper counselling and guidance which results in some of them falling pregnant again.

Meanwhile, one of the teachers, Shamu Phiri, who spoke on behalf of his fellow teachers thanked the Minister for finding time to talk about the planned reforms adding that, they will help in improving the education system.

He explains that as teachers in the district, they will continue to support the Minister in his effort to improve the education standards in the country.