School Club Zambia has 3 strategic objectives which underlines all of our work:
1. Increase the quality, relevance and sustainability of education in our targeted schools (SDG 4)
2. Reduce youth unemployment and increase household food security in our targeted communities (SDG 8)
3. Promote gender equality by overcoming the specific barriers that prevent girls from reaching their potential (SDG 5)
In order to practically achieve our strategic objectives we developed our 4 thematic and cross-cutting impact areas of self-financing schools; vocational education; literacy development and girls education.
Since the early 1990s schools in Zambia have established small income generating activities like chicken projects or gardens to raise extra money for their running costs. However, the most vulnerable schools in the country have always struggled to raise the money for start-up costs and often lack the technical knowledge to launch and run the businesses successfully. In 2019, the Ministry of Education implemented a new policy that made income generating activities compulsory at all schools in response to the rising costs of essential resources like chalk and paper.
Since 2011 our model has supported schools to launch and sustain a number of diverse businesses to enable the schools to become financially and environmentally sustainable within 5 years. This often includes establishing clean sources of water at schools and providing access to solar power if there is no mains electricity. The businesses are managed by our student-led Enterprise Committees who receive training through SCZ’s Enterprise Committee Training scheme.
In 2019 we began piloting a new “Agricultural Hubs for Sustainable Schools Project” in partnership with iSchool, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Agriculture. This 3 year project seeks to reduce schools long-term overheads through the introduction of innovative e-learning technology and by establishing a school-run agri-business which will improve local farmers access to farming input tools.
Three quarters of the population in Zambia are employed in agriculture yet of the 42 million hectares of land in the country only 1.5 million hectares is cultivated each year . In reflection of this our model often prioritises starting agriculturally based school businesses so that we can establish vocational education opportunities to improve farming techniques and encourage young people to think about alternative future livelihoods including growing different kinds of crops.
Young Farmers Club
Since 2014 SCZ has trained over 150 students in organic agriculture through our year long training scheme. Students learn the practical elements of organic agriculture in order to enable them to combat some of the immediate effects of climate change (mulching, crop rotation, tree planting, composting, rain water harvesting) alongside learning the business skills to budget, market and grade their crops.
Young Tailors Club
In 2014 SCZ helped Kariba South Primary to establish a Young Tailors Club which has since trained over 60 students. The school won the Top Global Prize in Teach a Man to Fish’s School Enterprise Challenge for this business which also manufactures all of the re-usable sanitary pads for our girls education programmes using re-cycled materials from the centre where possible.
Happy Layers Club
In 2017, our Innovation Ambassadors Sunny and Mabulani launched our first Happy Layers Club at Kariba South School to teach the students how to take care of the schools’ 100 layer chickens. We have since rolled this programme out to Chisyabulungu and Siansowa school and conduct annual exchange visits between the members so that they can continue to learn from one another.
In August 2019 we will be launching our first Enterprise Challenge with 4 schools in Sinazongwe district. This 12 month challenge will train 40 students in entrepreneurship through a 1 week start-up bootcamp and thereafter teams from each school will compete against each other for the most profitable business idea!
We believe that literacy must be introduced to children in and outside the classroom at the earliest stage. Since 2016 we have built interactive outside learning spaces at our partner schools alongside providing re-training courses to teachers; e-learning equipment; pre-school classrooms and specialised English as a second language books through Happy Readers in Zimbabwe.
Girls are fundamentally more disadvantaged in Zambia, especially in the rural areas of the country like Sinazongwe where School Club Zambia works. The roots of inequality are culturally and economically complex but the statistics show