The SAGE (Supporting Adolescent Girls' Education) programme team recently received news that SAGE learning materials have been approved by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) in Zimbabwe to support learners across Zimbabwe. This approval means that up to two million out-of-school learners will now benefit from these contextualised and culturally appropriate learning materials.
“The Department is convinced that this will help learners during the period when they are studying from home”, said a MoPSE Chief Director, commenting on the new materials introduced during coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.
The SAGE project is funded by UK Aid through the Girls’ Education Challenge. Led by Plan International in partnership with The Open University’s International Development Office (IDO). The two year accelerated community-based learning programme supports adolescent girls (aged 10-19) to improve their literacy and numeracy skills. SAGE girls have either never been to school or have dropped out for various cultural or economic reasons; and some are girls with disabilities. The Open University are the academic lead for SAGE and are co-designing the learning programme and materials, and co-supporting community educators and buddy teachers.
A unique aspect of the new learning materials is the weekly unit story, informed by local knowledge and girl-led contributions. Each story features a character who reflects lives and aspirations similar to SAGE girls; for example, the girl who wants to return to school, the girl who wants to set up her own business, or the girl who wants to go onto further training or seek employment. The inclusion of a bank teller, a poultry farmer and a game ranger were ideas from girls. Making visible potential occupations for girls throughout the modules also helps them see potential futures or training possibilities.
Dr Liz Chamberlain, Academic Director for SAGE, says,
“Girls' limited access to education in the poorest districts of Zimbabwe is underpinned by pervasive gender inequality. Without additional support to help these girls catch up, they would be left behind and unable to progress with their education or training. Additional endorsement of SAGE’s work and learning materials by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is key in promoting more positive gender attitudes in and across communities.”
The Open University SAGE team have adapted the learning materials as they got to know more about the girls they work with. This feedback and adaptation supports ownership and engagement, ensuring that the voices of practitioners and the girls are at the heart of module design.
Find out more
You can read more about the goals of SAGE and the OU’s partners on the SAGE project website.
SAGE (Supporting Adolescent Girls' Education) is a UKAid-funded programme through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) Girls’ Education Challenge initiative led by Plan International and involving a consortium of partners, The Open University (OU), Christian Blind Mission (CBM), Apostolic Women’s Empowerment Trust (AWET), Econet and the Ministry of Primary & Secondary Education, Zimbabwe (MoPSE).