On International Women’s Day, which marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity, Camara Education is excited to announce some notable achievements. For the past year Camara Zambia, with support from Irish Aid, is improving the learning environment for grade 8 and 9 Zambian pupils using ICT. The first batch of results are now available and show improved educational outcomes in the schools Camara is working with in the provinces of Lusaka, Copperbelt and Southern. With a strong Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) foundation underpinning the project, the initial findings prove the value and impact of ICT integration, especially among girls.

Angela Teofilo, Inspire Academy, Lusaka, Zambia (Photo Credit: Tim Mansel)

Angela Teofilo, Inspire Academy, Lusaka, Zambia. (Photo Credit: Tim Mansel)

Significantly overall there is a 10% increase in Computer Studies pass rates among females in the project schools versus the provincial average. This compares to an improvement rate of 8% for boys therefore the project is having an overall higher impact on girls. Female students in the project schools out-performed the provincial average in all three provinces. We expect this % to increase substantially over the course of the project. These statistics are very encouraging and demonstrate that when girls have access to technology they outperform boys.

Women in Zambia face many inequality challenges. Lack of access to a quality education is a key factor to increasing inequality. This results in poorer learning outcomes for girls. For example, according to a Unicef study in 2012, the literacy rate among 15-24 year old females was 58.5% compared to 70.3% of 15-24 year old males. This project is helping to address this imbalance and technology is helping to change educational outcomes for females in Zambia. In the Southern Province females outperformed males by 3% in the project schools.

Camara Zambia CEO James Murdoch says of the results: “We are really excited at Camara Zambia to see such strong improvements in exam results from girls who have access to Camara Learning Centres. Improving education is the key to helping children to have a brighter future.” Precious Meja, Computer Studies Teacher at Little Woods Classic Academy, Lusaka, had this to say: “The training, PCs and software have also had a very good effect on my job, I find it very easy to deliver my lessons in class. After the training, I am very confident in using ICT such that I was able to transfer the Knowledge to other teachers who did not attend the camara training.

Girls in Africa don’t gain access to the same level of education as boys do and this is quite noticeable in the attendance rates and learning outcomes. Many families are unable to send all their children to school due to financial issues and unfortunately in the cases of large families, boys are prioritised. Other times, early marriage can play a factor in preventing girls from completing their education. These factors can make girls feel inferior and out of place, just like it would in any school the world over. Camara believes that education is the key to alleviating inequality for women in Zambia and indeed worldwide and through its ICT programmes is striving for gender parity.