Three girls whose lives have been changed since joining the Girls Leadership Clubs

Girls in the leadership club

We hear from three young school girls from remote rural secondary schools in Zambia whose lives have been changed since joining the Girls Leadership Clubs.

These have been established by the Zambia National Women’s Lobby to build the confidence, skills and leadership of vulnerable young girls...I

Irene: “My role model is a female doctor in Zambia on TV”

Irene, aged 20, is in grade 11, having returned to school after failing in 2010 after the death of her parents. Her career aspiration is to become a doctor or a nurse, and she is completing school with the support of her grandmother, who sells fish for a living.“It’s a huge challenge to stay in school in the village that I come from,” Irene says. She estimates that 16 girls left in grade 9 as a result of early marriage. Irene adds: “My role model is a female doctor in Zambia on TV. Now I know not only boys can do it but girls can too. When I go back to the village, I will explain to the girls living there.”

Monica: “learn to say no to early marriage”

Monica, originally from the town Lusaka, has moved to the countryside to attend school. The youngest of six children, Monica’s parents were not able to support Monica so she is being supported by an older sister. The Girls Leadership Club in the area is very important to Monica because it helps to build her confidence in public speaking. “I want to become a medical doctor,” she says. “It is important for girls to be educated, with education they can help their parents. I am going to help my parents in the future.”A common shared concern is early marriage, as Monica articulates the importance for girls to “learn to say no to early marriage” and says women can also contribute to decisions when they are educated.”

Bridgit: “I now have the confidence to compete with boys”

Twenty-year-old Bridgit lives in Mansa and is studying English, maths and biology. As one of seven children, Bridgit feels her mother, who is a headteacher, is a role model for her. “I became pregnant in high school and dropped out to have my baby. After I gave birth, my mother encouraged me to return to school,” says Bridgit. With her mother’s support Bridgit has high hopes to become a journalist in the future, fighting for women’s and children’s rights. As part of the Girls Leadership Club and a leadership role in her local church, Bridgit has realised the importance of equal rights for women and girls. “I’ve been educated about HIV/Aids, assertiveness and decision making and I now have the confidence to compete with boys.

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  • Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL)

    Africa, Zambia
    The aim of Zambia National Women's Lobby (ZNWL) is to increase women's participation and representation in all kinds of government. They work on this in order to create a culture of gender equality and respect for women’s human rights.