Beatrice Likando joined PEAS as Zambian Country Director in June 2022. Below, she reflects on her first year at PEAS, highlighting exciting new growth and what the future holds for PEAS Zambia.

What is your role at PEAS?

I joined PEAS in June 2022. As Country Director, my role is to lead PEAS Zambia to deliver on its ambitious 5-year strategy – including strengthening the girls’ education programming, growing the PEAS school network, and sharing PEAS’ approaches with government to positively impact all secondary schools in Zambia. Being at PEAS allows me to be part of a dynamic team that works to ensure access to quality education in Zambia for children, particularly in rural communities who face numerous socio-economic and cultural barriers to get an education. As a female leader, I have an opportunity to be a role model to many girls in my country.

What are you passionate about at PEAS?

I’m passionate about the work PEAS does to support adolescent girls’ gain an education. The best gift any girl child could get is education. With education, girls make better choices about their health, professions, choosing political leaders, establishing a family etc. Education opens doors to employment opportunities and opens one to new ideas about life around us. In Zambia, we often say, “when you educate a girl, you educate a nation!”

Our girls’ life skills programme has potential to address many of the challenges associated with adolescent that many girls face, and these include dealing with peer pressure, establishing healthy relationships, decisions about sexuality, growing a positive self-image, etc. A girl who receives adequate support in these areas is likely to remain in school and gets on a steady trajectory to attaining personal growth.

What projects have you led while working at PEAS?

Since I have been at PEAS, I have focused more on strengthening relationships with the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Education (MoE) and raising the profile of PEAS among key stakeholders. The country has a new government in place, and it has been critical to establish strong partnerships with new office bearers in view of the PEAS-Ministry of Education model of running the PEAS schools. I have also been supporting the designing of a girls’ programme which aims to develop and implement multi-sectoral approaches to deal with non-educational barriers for girls to support their personal development and growth.

How has PEAS Zambia grown?

PEAS first opened a small office and its first school in Zambia in 2012. Today we have six schools and educate over 3,000 students, 56% of whom are girls. Our sixth school, Mushili Hillside Secondary School, opened in January and recorded a total enrolment of 345 students, with 60% girls. Being a newly opened school, the school has made strides in maintaining a green and clean environment by planting pine and fruit trees.

What’s next for PEAS Zambia?

We’re planning to use our practical experience of running great secondary schools in Zambia to strengthen the wider secondary education system. We’ll continue working hand-in-hand with government officials and school leaders to directly change practice in places of learning to generate evidence on potential effective system wide improvements. We’re looking to test, support and find alternative ways to deliver secondary education to Zambia’s most disadvantaged young people who struggle to access and engage in formal secondary education. PEAS will also continue working with central government to roll our system wide solutions that will increase the quality and access of secondary education provision In Zambia.

PEAS Top 10 teaching practices were certified by Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ) and discussions are taking place with the Ministry of Education to pilot them in 2 pre-service teacher training schools in the southern province. The identified colleagues are currently reviewing the approaches. Further, we are discussing with MoE extend the TIEEZ program to 15 public schools in Southern Province.

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