Zambia slowly turning a corner on girls' education

Sergio Ramirez Mena currently serves as the chief of party for a USAID-funded education project in Zambia.

In many African countries, girls tend to drop out of school much earlier than boys. The result: Gender parity is lacking and women struggle to find formal employment.

For instance in Zambia, most girls never reach the 7th grade — considered the threshold for primary education — and barely 5 out of every 100 make it all the way to 12th grade. But the country is slowly turning a corner, says Sergio Ramirez Mena, who currently serves as Chemonics’ chief of party for STEP-Up Zambia — or the Zambia Strengthening Educational Performance Up program — which assists the Zambian Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education with education management reforms to improve learner performance.

During a video interview with Devex Editor Rolf Rosenkranz, Ramirez Mena pointed out how local school governments and student councils, in particular, are excellent opportunities for girls to realize their leadership potential in countries like Zambia.

Click on the above video for more insights from the international education expert on the future of education and some of the lessons he’s learned while working across Africa and Latin America over the past 20-odd years.

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She Builds is a month-long conversation hosted by Devex in partnership with Chemonics, Creative Associates, JBS International as well as the Millennium Challenge Corp., United Nations Office for Project Services and the U.K. Department for International Development.

About the author

  • Carlos Santamaria

    Carlos is a former associate editor for breaking news in Devex's Manila-based news team. He joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE ,and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York, and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

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