Zimbabwe’s education reform in 1980 aspired to provide free and universal education to all children through the Zimbabwe Education Act; however, tuition fees and education costs have accumulated over time. Many families pay for tuition, even if it is a small fee at public government schools. 85% of children aged 6-12 attend primary school, but only 45% attend secondary school, and in rural areas that number is even lower—only 39%. You can help us keep more students in school by donating to the Zimbabwe Scholarship Fund. 

Cost is not the only deterrent to attending school—distance to the nearest school can make it difficult for children to attend, especially young girls.

Kapane Secondary School, located near Hwange National Park, is the closest Secondary school to the two communities of Ziga and Ngamo but it is at least a 6 mile walk to the school, resulting in mainly boys attending. Many girls drop out of school on completion of their primary education as it is not safe for them to walk this distance on their own.

A number of the girl students who attend the school were “bush boarding”, staying in make-shift accommodation at various homesteads in properties around the school with no adult supervision.

To help increase the number of girl students continuing their education, and improve the students’ wellbeing and safety, Grand Circle Foundation funded the construction of a 10 bed dormitory for girls.

The dormitory is administered by the Kapane Secondary Head and supervised by a teacher in charge of boarders.  This will facilitate more girls pursuing a secondary education.

The immediate individual beneficiaries of this project are ten girl students – 4 from Ngamo and 6 from Ziga – who moved into the new dorm.

In addition to the new dormitory, GCF funded a new toilet and shower block as part of our WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) initiative. The three blair-style toilets are specially designed with vent pipes and cement slabs to minimize bad smells and to trap flies and other flying insects below in the pit – a key vector of disease. The cement slabs are also much easier to keep clean and maintain. The local community provided the manual labor required for the construction, including digging the pit, fetching water and mixing concrete.

The school and dormitory also benefited from a new borehole (well) funded by Grand Circle Foundation through a generous bequest from traveler Edith del Junco.

In this area of Zimbabwe, the underground streams and lakes are up to 60 to 70 meters below the surface so drilling these boreholes is highly technical, and the Kalahari sand found in the area means these holes have to be lined with special casing to prevent the hole caving in.  However once drilled and installed the yield for a borehole is between 1500 to 2000 liters per hour, thus providing a lifeline to these rural communities residing in this arid, drought-stricken area.

At Kapane Secondary School, a solar pump and holding tanks were installed to replace the hand pumps. An extension was also installed to the boarding facility, making it easier for boarders to collect water, instead of walking up to 3 miles to get their daily drinking, cooking and washing water.

The dormitory, toilet block and borehole will have an immediate impact on the students attending Kapane Secondary School. But there are many more students who need our help to remain in school because of the cost. The average cost to attend Primary school is $50 -$100 per year, and for Secondary School, the cost is $100 or more. With an average family income of $250 per month, these minimal costs can be prohibitive, resulting in many children leaving school. You can help us keep more students in school by donating to the Zimbabwe Scholarship Fund.

Submitted by: Sue Goatley, Grand Circle Foundation Project Coordinator, Zimbabwe