2021 Update of Project in Zimbabwe
Using Technology to Enhance the (Re-)Introduction of Education amongst Zimbabwe’s Most Vulnerable Girls in Zimbabwe
Canadian Partner: Stephen Lewis Foundation
Field partner: Mavambo Trust
The project began in January 2020; completion is now expected in June 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the schools being closed for 5 months in 2020. However, Mavambo Trust was able to quickly pivot and respond to the pandemic. Staff shifted to a “new normal” as they were supported with the tools and technology, such as adequate data and airtime, to work from home. Moreover, Mavambo piloted its virtual case management system, which proved to be a highly effective way to provide consistent contact with and continuous support to communities. For example, 82 Shamwari Dzedu volunteers (“Our Friends” in the local Shona language) were supported with two virtual workshops on gender-based violence and child protection in light of COVID and appropriate case management for the COVID context.
Home visits targeted adolescent girls, who were at risk of abuse and possible teenage pregnancy. These visits enabled Mavambo to keep track with how project participants were coping during the pandemic and how it was affecting children, adolescents, adults, and entire households. Following COVID-19 safety guidelines, such as wearing PPE and physically distancing, community volunteers were able to safely conduct essential community services. As a result, 276 households were supported with direct home visits, reaching 276 (264 female and 12 male) caregivers and 619 children (389 girls and 230 boys). A total of 895 washable face masks and COVID-19 awareness pamphlets were distributed on these visits.
The impact and success of the MLL during the pandemic
The establishment of the Mobile Learning Lab (MLL), consisting of 25 tablets and the necessary software, was a source of great pride for Mavambo.
A total of 48 (23 female and 25 male) formal school and informal out-of-school learners (177 girls) have been using the MLL to incorporate information technology lessons into their learning and to enhance their overall education. Out-of-school learners, in particular, are benefiting from the MLL because it is preparing them for re-entry into the formal school system so that they will be able to catch up to their peers and pursue their educational goals.
The 250 solar-powered radios proved to be critical for students throughout the pandemic, as they enabled learners to engage in schooling activities while keeping them safe and, at the same time, providing their families with a source for current affairs, which is especially critical during a health crisis. Previously, 72% of households did not have a reliable source of news or current affairs.
In addition, the school fees of 70 primary school girls have been paid. 70 primary school girls also received essential school supplies, including notebooks, pens, rulers and pencils, and 20 were provided with school uniforms.
50 secondary school girls received essential school supplies, including notebooks, pens, rulers and pencils, and 10 were also provided with school uniforms.