For historical and cultural reasons, African women in general have had limited access to university education which curtailed their ability to get into leadership and decision making positions. Through scholarships for economically disadvantaged women funded by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), 18 Zambian women were able to graduate in 2012 with bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Gender Studies from the Women’s University in Africa (WUA) based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Ms. Tamba Tambatamba is one of the beneficiaries whose life changed after receiving the scholarship. Orphaned at a young age, being awarded a degree opened the door for her to become a Site Coordinator for the Population Council.
“The WUA-ACBF scholarship was a very good thing as it helped me to get a degree in Sociology and Gender Development Studies which is beneficial in that I gained knowledge on issues that I never knew before. I now work for Population Council an International NGO as a Site Coordinator on a Project called Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP),” says Ms. Tambatamba.
The Population Council and its partners have implemented a social, health, and economic asset-building program for vulnerable adolescent girls in Zambia. Ms. Tambatamba supervises mentors that teach rural girls on health, financial education, reproductive health and basic life skills.
“I really appreciate all the assistance that I got as without the WUA-ACBF scholarship I would not be where I am today. My thanks also go to all the Lecturers and staff at the University,” she adds.
The scholarships sponsored by ACBF were awarded in September 2009 under the WUA and the University of Zambia (UNZA) Memorandum of Understanding signed in July 2009. They covered fees, stipend and accommodation for the first semester of ever year.
Every first semester of an academic year, students attended tuition at WUA and the second semesters were at UNZA through Open Distance Learning (ODL). Students also catered for their own fees at the UNZA. The scholarship program ran from September 2009 to June 2012.
As a step towards transformative change in Africa, the ACBF is keen to support African women with a strong education to articulate and debate issues affecting their communities.