In early 2017 we launched a new program called ASPIRE (After-School Program to Inspire girls to Resume or complete their Education) to establish free After-School Clubs for girls and young women aged 10-24, who are at risk of leaving or who have left education.
The program is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the grant is managed by Jon Snow International (JSI) through the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, which is part of the DREAMS partnership to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Girls’ education is often called the social vaccine against HIV, and evidence shows there is a significant reduction in HIV incidence among better-educated girls and young women. Increasing girls’ access to and retention in education reduces their risk of contracting HIV.
Through ASPIRE, a cohort of 1,200 girls was selected to attend After-School Clubs in 4 communities within Lusaka: Kalingalinga, Mtendere, Makeni and Matero. The innovative Clubs will inspire girls and young women to pursue education by creating fun, collaborative learning environments with modern educational innovations including iSchool tablets and Experifun Science tools. The interactive sessions will cover topics that supplement the Zambian curriculum and incorporate HIV-education, ICT, self-defense, social discussions and employment skills training. Each girl shall be encouraged to attend Clubs once a week during school term.