Over the past month, we’ve been promoting our #everygirlinschool campaign and this week we spoke to female role model, Sarah Chanda, who has just been promoted to Senior Finance and Grants Manager, for PEAS Zambia.
What does girls’ education mean to you?
I think for me, girls’ education means a lot and it’s something that I’ve come to appreciate coming from a family where it’s been difficult for a girl child to access education.
The fact that I was given the privilege and opportunity to be educated is something that I’ve really appreciated because I’ve also been key in supporting my family to attain some financial independence.
I am a big champion of girls’ education because, as they say, when you educate the girl child, you educate the nation. It also helps in terms of poverty alleviation because when a girl becomes independent, she also gets to understand her rights. There are a lot of cases of abuse both in marriage and also in different areas but when a woman is educated, she can stand up for herself.
How do you think PEAS supports girls’ education?
I think PEAS has been doing a lot to support girls’ education and in Zambia 56% of our students are girls. We have a target to ensure that girls are given a chance to be in school and have strong child protection policies. We have been able to build a lot of awareness around girls’ education and have encouraged them to stand up for themselves and even bring other girls into school.
When did you join PEAS?
I joined PEAS in 2014, as a Finance and Administration Assistant. Over the years I have grown with this wonderful organisation, in fact, I’ve recently been promoted to Senior Finance and Grants Manager.
What does this role entail and what do you like about this job?
I love that I get to do different things within my role. Apart from accounting, which is my mainstay, I have done and learned plenty of other things over the years as I grew within the organisation. From supporting the schools to increase sustainability and ensuring accountability of funds to training the school accountants, and handling reports at the central office. I can proudly say I have my fingers in several pies!
How do you feel about your new job?
I feel really happy and proud that the organisation saw the potential in me to grow and contribute. I am motivated to work harder and give every opportunity my best shot. PEAS believes in promoting internal talent and this is really heartening to not just me but all existing employees as they see pathways to grow and shine within the organisation.
How have PEAS supported your career?
The support has been massive. I’ve worked with different people who have moulded me in different ways and have been instrumental in getting me to where I am. It’s not something that I can individually say I’ve achieved, it’s been with the support of colleagues, without a doubt.
What do you like about working at PEAS?
I think what I like most is the independence and the autonomy I enjoy. I think you are given space to grow. You are given a chance to do what you can do best and collaborate which is something that I appreciate because in other organisations I think it’s difficult to collaborate.
You are given the independence to showcase what you can do best, and others support you to grow. The biggest factor is at PEAS we are always given equal opportunities and treated on par, whether male or female opportunities are given to everyone
Is there anything unique about working for PEAS?
Employees at any and every level are valued and appreciated, which I think is different to other organisations.
Whatever level you are working at, there’s recognition for your work and in meetings, you are given a chance to express yourself and contribute. That helps you to grow as a person. Here there is the spirit of just appreciating everyone and their input, which makes you feel important as a person and you feel a sense of belonging.