“I do not need to wait for the government to employ me but I can start saving money today. And when I finish my grade 12, I can start my own business” says Jane Banda, a young girl recently attached as an intern at the Zambia Chamber for Small and Medium business association under the Zambian Girls 2030 Project.
“We met a woman who started her business when she was 18 years old and now she is a powerful business woman. She inspired me to follow my dreams and work hard at school”, she adds.
Jane like her peers from Northern Province believes internships facilitated by the Zambian Girls 2030 Project offer integrated training for young people and empowers them with skills that enable them make informed decisions about their future.
Recently, the Zambia Girls 2030 project with support from UNICEF, attached 34 young girls as interns at different organisations which included among them, The Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (Zamtel), World Wide Fund Zambia (WWF), Zambia State Insurance Corporation Limited (ZSIC), Zambia Electricity Supply Company(ZESCO), National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Zambia Chamber of Small and Medium Business Associations (ZCSMBA).
Chanda Mpuku, a young girl from rural Kasama attached at World Wide Fund Zambia (WWF) says “Deforestation is a major problem where I come from but through this internship I have been taught how to preserve trees, how to report people who cut down trees and how to plant trees. Therefore, I will talk to my school Head Teacher and propose that we start a tree planting program at my school and community to promote afforestation which will later lead to a healthy environment”
And Fridah Mwenya aged 16 and was attached at ZESCO says “Knowing that I want to be an engineer, I have been motivated by doing some engineers work when we went in the field .After seeing some female engineers who told me that I can make it and be who I want to be, really inspired me. Therefore, I will study hard and concentrate on achieving my goal of being an engineer”.
Meanwhile, Restless Development Zambia Assistant Programme Coordinator Ceasar Mufuzi says the internship program helps young girls to realise their goals and how to best achieve them. “This program enabled girls to gain first-hand exposure of working in the real world. It also allowed them to harness the skill, knowledge, and theoretical practice of the working environment”.
He adds “The program also provided more opportunities for the young girls to build connections with professionals which can be very beneficial for their future career”.
The Zambian Girls 2030, is a Restless Development Zambian girls initiative programme that is targeting adolescent girls in 200 schools in Southern and Northern Provinces of Zambia.
The programme is focusing on an integrated training for young people as a way of empowering them with skills that will enable them make informed decisions as well as Guidance and Counselling so that they are able to identify with what they want to become in future and focus on attaining and completing their education.
This is being achieved through; school career clubs, career camps including career fairs for girls as well as strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of General Education to implement the Guidance and counselling standards at all levels.