In pursuit of Fallen Peace Corps Volunteer Elizabeth Bowers' (Beth's) dream, our small, all-volunteer organization enabled a paradigm shift in attitude toward women's education in remote NW Zambia. By building a Memorial Library, the first pre-school, and Phase I of a secondary school (two 3-classroom blocks, two teachers' houses, and a girls' lavatory), we empower hundreds of girls to further their education and attain their dreams. Now Phase II: a 3-classroom block and a teacher's house.
In our 17 years of partnering with the community, the population increased from 5,000 to 7,000 with more children attending secondary school. The current student population of 411 is projected to increase to 800 for 2020. The infrastructure can only accommodate 500, averaging 100 students per classroom. Twenty-five teachers are needed; only 14 are on site. The Ministry of Education will not send teachers without housing. More classrooms and teachers' houses are desperately needed.
Continuing to partner with the Lumwana West community and our project manager, we will build another 3-classroom block, a teacher's house, and a lavatory for boys. More classrooms will alleviate extremely crowded classes. More teachers will allow greater attention per student, resulting in higher exam scores. With EBZEF scholarship recipients "Beth's Girls" as role models, 43% of students are now girls, attracting more each year as Beth's dream of sustainability is realized.
We have already seen the impact on girls and women in the village: fewer teen pregnancies, more education for girls, later marriages, and over 30 Beth's Girls on EBZEF scholarship currently in or graduated from college/vocational school. Completing Phase II by building more classrooms and teachers' houses will increase and sustain the impact of Beth's shared dream on her girls. Educating women is empowering them to impact their own families, their community, and their country.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).