PLAN International Zimbabwe is targeting to educate more than 20 000 marginalised adolescent girls through its recently launched open learning programme.

The Supporting Adolescent Girls’ Education Program (SAGE) is being funded by the United Kingdom Aid (UKAid) and is part of the UK Department for International Development’s flagship Girls’ Education Challenge.

“Over 21 000 marginalised girls and young mothers aged between 10-19 years old who dropped out of school or have never had the opportunity to learn, will now have the opportunity to access to basic education, over the coming five years,” reads part of a statement from Plan International Zimbabwe.

The organisation, which supports the rights of children, said 63 community-based learning hubs had been set up in seven rural districts around the country where adolescent girls would have access to education starting this week.

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The organisation said it was working in conjunction with the Department for Non-Formal Education under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and in partnership with Apostolic Women Empowerment Trust, Econet, Open University (UK) and Christian Blind Mission to roll out the project.

SAGE programme manager Obert Chigodora said they had realised that some young girls particularly those in rural areas did not have access to education, hence the decision to roll out the programme in remote areas.

“We have taken a bold stance to move beyond the four walls of the classroom to create a learning space for adolescent girls who are the hardest to reach under normal circumstances and who are always left behind. These include girls who dropped out of school because of poverty or early marriage and those who never have the opportunity to go to school, such as girls with disabilities,” he said.

SAGE, scheduled to run until 2024, is set to expand from seven to 11 districts including Mutare, Mutasa, Chimanimani, Mutoko, Epworth, Mabvuku, Tafara, Northern and Central Harare,
High-Glen, Imbizo, Khami, Reigate and Bulilima.