The Human Development Index ranks Zambia as one of the 11 most underdeveloped countries in the world, with 80% of people in rural areas living in poverty. A girl’s right to an education is undermined by early and forced marriages, discrimination and violence both in school and at home, an increased vulnerability to HIV and the risk of early pregnancy.

Why is it important to educate a girl?

So that she will have greater opportunity for a healthier, happier and more prosperous life should be reason enough. However, an educated girl benefits society as a whole. She will have the skills, information and confidence that she needs to be a better worker, citizen and parent. An educated girl will be better informed and able to stand up for herself and her fellow women. She will pass down what she learns to her children, be less likely to marry young, and be more likely to find a way to send her children to school, too. When you educate a girl, you educate a community – and that is how change happens.

We established our Girl Power group for young girls in the community aged 12 to 18. The group provides a space for girls to come together to talk and share their questions, thoughts and worries about any aspect of their lives. Girl Power is a place where our girls can be themselves, create friendships and gain knowledge that will benefit their daily and future life.

At Girl Power, we teach our young ladies about their bodies, puberty, teamwork, conflict resolution, manners and etiquette. We have workshops on healthy living, HIV education, safe relationships, and other issues that affect the community. We also want the girls to have fun – with arts and crafts, singing, dancing, and simply: letting girls be girls.

“Girl Power is important for me because I learn a lot of things that I don’t know, and it will always stay with me. It is important for me to come because I want to make a better future.”

Lena, Girl Power participant