The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, neighbouring the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, in the south-central part of Zambia. The population is concentrated mainly around Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt Province to the northwest, the core economic hubs of the country.
The Ducere Foundation programs in Zambia have had a positive impact on the progress of young learners and their literacy skills. Most of those involved in the program have qualified on to higher grades. The program has engaged over 12 schools in Zambia around Livingstone, Choma and Lusaka, focussing on improving the literacy of year six and seven learners, enabling them to embrace the importance of reading and writing.
Writing helps children connect to the world around them, both on and off the page. Since writing requires the student to consider audience and purpose, for example, practice can help the student apply the same considerations to verbal communication. The writing process, complete with peer review and feedback, allows students to learn from each other. Creating these environments at a young age teaches students to both accept and deliver constructive criticism. Further, collaborative writing, such as writing African Children’s Stories, enables students to achieve writing goals together.
Writing is an essential skill that can benefit students for the rest of their lives. Introducing and practicing writing with engaging activities in primary school, can foster confidence and a lifelong love of writing. Immediately, writing skills are important for primary school students’ continued learning in all academic areas, communication and self-expression. In Zambia our stakeholders include the Ministry of Education, Mosi-O-Tunya Radio, African Impact and the broader community.
In order to combat the low literacy rates, the government has implemented a nationwide Primary Reading Program and has supported extensive training for teachers at the primary level. However, there continues to be a severe lack of access to supplementary reading materials in most government schools, and very few have libraries. It is in this space that the African Children’s Stories Program has had its greatest impact on the children of Zambia.