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DAPP Zambia partners with communities to improve quality of education in rural areas

DAPP Zambia Teacher Training study travel groupCommunity schools in Zambia provide an essential service to thousands of children across Zambia, who live too far from government schools or whose families may be unable to afford the costs of attending a government school. Many community schools have access to private funding, trained teachers and school management teams, and excellent installations. However, a large number are also run exclusively by communities and do not receive external support.
UFF in-country partner DAPP is currently implementing an EU-funded project supporting 160 community-run schools, working to improve the quality of the education children are receiving and facilitating access to government support. Wilfred Mambo, project leader for the Mkushi district, explains how a lack of outside support can affect children's learning experiences. "We found many schools were children were learning under a tree. Which means that in the rainy season, they would have to stop classes."
"So out main objective in the project is to change that and make sure that the child is taken care of, in terms of education."
Katemo Community School is one such school participating in the project. The closest government school to where the school is today is approximately 14 kilometres away, too far for young children to walk every day. The school began in 2010 and classes were held in the local church, however there were no toilets or running water, and teachers were volunteers.
With support from the project, committee members were trained in school management and have been connected to different stakeholder groups where they can connect with possible supporters and lobby for government support. The school's three teachers have also received training in child-centred learning techniques and in government curriculum.
To date, the committee and community have built two toilets – pit latrines, a small house for the teacher, a playground for the children, sports fields and two small classrooms. They also have the foundations dug and bricks moulded for another two classrooms. This year, Katemo Community School was also the first in the district to receive a grant from the government for school materials. Once the school meets the required standards, it will become accredited and be able to receive government funding for teacher salaries and learning materials.
"[the committee] is getting more and more organised. The teachers are getting better because they are being trained. When a parent sends a child to school, he or she expects that child to learn something. And this is happening now, where it wasn't before."

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