World Bank Supports Education of Poor Girls and Livelihoods of Vulnerable Women in Zambia

May 22, 2015

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2015 – Adolescent girls from extremely poor households in Zambia will now have an opportunity to access secondary education while poor and vulnerable women will be economically empowered through a US$65 million loan approved today by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors.

The financing, provided by the International Development Association (IDA*), is for the Girls’ Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods Project, which is designed to support the Government of Zambia increase access to livelihood support for women and access to secondary education for disadvantaged adolescent girls. The main beneficiaries of the project will be about 75,000 women aged 19 to 64 years old who are fit for work, and about 14,000 adolescent girls aged 14 to 18 years old living in extremely poor households in rural areas.

“Through this support, the World Bank is keen to see more adolescent girls completing their secondary education and more rural women engaging in economically productive activities as these are critical steps to reducing rural poverty in Zambia,” says Kundhavi Kadiresan, the World Bank’s Country Director for Zambia.

The project has two components targeting the main beneficiaries while simultaneously building capacity of Departments in the Ministries of Education, and Community Development, Mother and Child Health to implement the project. The first component totaling $36 million will support women’s livelihoods with a package of activities that includes access to grants to improve productivity and create savings and loan clubs, training, mentoring and peer support.

“The beneficiary women have varying needs so the provision of grants rather than pre-determined goods will give them the flexibility to decide how to allocate these resources according to their unique circumstances, which may encourage more productive investments,” says Honourable Emerine Kabashi, Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health.

The second component of the project will support targeted adolescent girls by paying their secondary school fees as part of the support to the Keeping Girls in School Initiative. The girls will be those from extremely poor households that are beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme who will enroll in a government secondary school. Their school fees will be paid directly to the schools by the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education. The needy girls will be identified through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health. About $26 million has been allocated for this component.

A separate third component will help with institutional strengthening and systems building for the Ministry of Gender and Child Development and the Ministry of Community Development. The Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project Cornelia Tesliuc says strengthening the capacity of these ministries will not only benefit the project but will also help develop systems and tools to increase the efficiency of the social protection sector, which is much needed in the implementation of the country’s recent social protection policy. The project is expected to close in September 2020.  

About IDA

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people, the majority of whom live on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.

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