You are currently viewing SAGE programme transforms the lives of 13,400 marginalised girls in Zimbabwe
The 5 year (Aug 2018-July 2023) SAGE programme, saw 13 460 out of school adolescent girls being supported to undergo a two year Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) and transition to formal education, vocational skills training and employment.

SAGE programme transforms the lives of 13,400 marginalised girls in Zimbabwe

SAGE programme transforms the lives of 13,400 marginalised girls in Zimbabwe

HARARE – Thousands of girls who had dropped out of school or never attended one have found new hope and opportunities through a UK-funded programme that supported their education and livelihoods.

The Supporting Adolescent Girl’s Education (SAGE) Programme, which ran from August 2018 to July 2023, reached 13,400 out-of-school, marginalised girls from 11 districts in Zimbabwe. The programme was funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) Girl’s Education Challenge (GEC) through its Leave No Girls Behind funding window.

The programme helped the girls improve their literacy and numeracy skills, build their life skills, and transition into further education, training or employment. It also tailored its interventions to the specific needs of different subgroups of girls, such as married girls, young mothers, girls, from apostolic communities, girls with disabilities and girls from ethnic minorities.

Some of the beneficiaries shared their stories of transformation at the SAGE Endline Evaluation Findings dissemination workshop in Harare on Monday.

Shamiso Chikoni, 23, said she only went up to grade three and dropped out of school, but was able to do a course in hairdressing through the programme. “The training provided by this programme has been invaluable. I am married and now I am able to assist in bringing up my children,” she said.

Precious Chimvuramawe, 20, said she did a course in sewing and dressmaking. “I saw the importance of SAGE group because now I even sew my own clothes. Everywhere I go I have a lot of customers. I am able to take care of my child and also assist my sibling in paying for the school fees,” she said. “I have customers from churches and a variety of other places.”

The programme was implemented by Plan International and its partners (Open University UK, CBM, AWET and Econet) in partnership with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

Ministry of Education commends SAGE programme for its impact on out-of-school girls

Tumisang Thabela, the permanent secretary of the ministry, on Monday praised the programme for its evidence-based approach and its contribution to human capital development. “I would like to congratulate the SAGE programme for a sterling job in surpassing its target on supporting out-of-school adolescent girls and young women to be able to demonstrate learning and to transition into education, training and meaningful economic engagement,” she said.

The programme has helped the girls enhance their literacy and numeracy skills, develop their life skills, and access further education, training or employment opportunities.

The programme has also worked closely with the ministry to test and apply innovative educational models and bring evidence on what works and what needs improvement for the education system in Zimbabwe.

“I remember sometime in 2021, I officiated at the launch of Accelerated Teaching & Learning (ATL) materials in Bulilima. The materials were co-developed by the programme and MoPSE in order to support learning for Out of School children,” she said in a speech read on her behalf.

“In 2022, around March, I also officiated at an event where the project was sharing its Mid-line evaluation findings. As the programme evolves, I am here today, officiating yet another event which is focusing on sharing the End-line Evaluation findings.”

She said she was impressed by the results of the programme, which surpassed its targets on supporting out-of-school girls and young women. “The programme has seen more than 75% of learners having improved literacy and numeracy scores against target of 65%. It has also met its target of supporting the transition of 60% girls into well-defined transition pathways,” she said.

She cited an example of a young woman who was supported by the project to complete an accelerated learning programme and was linked to a TVET College where she is pursuing a certificate in diesel and plant fitting. “This is a clear cut example of how Non Formal Education (NFE) programmes can effectively create meaningful self-sustaining opportunities aimed at unlocking the potential of those in marginalised communities and circumstances,” she said.

She also thanked UK-Aid for their generous funding support to the SAGE project, which is coming to an end in July 2023. She urged her ministry colleagues and other stakeholders to explore ways of integrating the proven innovations and approaches that have contributed to changing the lives of the girls in marginalised communities within their existing structures.

“I regard these results and recommendations as a call for action. This is certainly not only for MoPSE but all stakeholders who are concerned and adding value to education. I am therefore pledging my commitment towards ensuring that these findings will not “gather dust in our book shelves” but that real action must be taken in fulfilment of our commitment: “to ensure the delivery of equitable, inclusive and quality education for all,” she said.

The partners recommended that future programmes should ensure ongoing community engagement, link community-based learning hubs to local primary schools for ownership and sustainability, and continually incorporate beneficiary feedback to adapt programme design and inputs.