ESSA News Round-up

Each week we highlight stories we feel are interesting in the education space.

Frank Odwesso Photo: Frank Odwesso

Girl Guardians Aim To Keep 16,000 Zambians In School And Protected From Child Marriages.

The girls education charity Camfed has launched an ambitious project to fight child marriage by training hundreds of young women in rural Zambia to act as “Girl Guardians”.

According to Camfed six out of every ten girls in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa are married before the age of eighteen. Some are as young as thirteen.

Camfed International’s CEO Lucy Lake says that child marriage is one of the most pressing issues for marginalised girls in rural Africa:

“Our work is about removing barriers to education. Child marriage perpetuates the cycle of poverty and has a devastating impact on a girl’s health, education, independence and opportunities”.

She sees the training of the Girl Guardians as being at the forefront of breaking the cycle. They are recruited from Camfed’s alumnae network who have also experienced poverty and marginalisation.

Many of these Guardians were also destined to become child brides themselves and will offer practical and emotional support to girls, helping them to stay in school and complete their education.

The Girl Guardians will be trained to identify girls in their communities who are vulnerable to early marriage, and will work with families and local authorities to ensure the girls receive the support they need to get the education they need.

Read more about the project on the Camfed website.

African Companies Warned: Embrace Workplace Learning ---Or Lose Competitiveness.

Some of the world’s leading experts on online learning have warned African governments and companies that they must make greater efforts to equip students and workers with the technological skills they need for tomorrow’s global markets.

When more than 1,500 delegates arrive in Kigali for the annual gathering of eLearning Africa they will be told that Africa risks undermining its current economic growth unless it harnesses new technology and focuses more on workplace learning.

eLearning Africa’s organiser Ms Rebecca Stromeyer commented: “Workers need to understand how to acquire new skills quickly and they need to be comfortable working in an environment of constantly accelerating technological change”.

Ms Stromeyer added that if Africa can develop this technically skilled workforce it will have a prized asset in the economy of the future:

“African countries have a real advantage in being unburdened by old-fashioned systems tied to the past. African businesses can leapfrog their competitors but they have to understand that this means investing in the knowledge economy, in technology and in training”.

The eLearning Africa annual conference brings together high-level policymakers and professional educators, political leaders, entrepreneurs and investors. The keynote speaker at this year’s conference in Kigali this September is Elliott Masie, the education technology expert who first coined the term “e-learning”.

According to Ms Stromeyer, Elliott Masie understands the huge potential of Africa and he sees immense opportunities for enterprises in Africa:

“But”, says Ms Stromeyer, “he also knows that unless African leaders really start to engage with the issue of workplace learning and training what has been achieved so far could very soon be lost”.

The 13th eLearning Africa Conference on ICT for Education, Training and Skills Development takes place on September 26-28 at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda.

For more information about eLearning Africa, please visit the conference website  or contact the eLearning Africa press office at