World Vision Zambia for the literacy boost


What we want to do:

We want to see all children in Zambia given the opportunity to receive a quality education that will give them the skills they need to follow their dreams and support themselves and their families in the future. We are working towards this by:

  • Increasing children’s access to formal and non-formal education opportunities
  • Ensuring children who attend school are learning
  • Increasing the amount of engagement of parents, guardians, communities and volunteers in children’s education.
What is the problem?

Although Zambia has made significant progress in improving access to primary education, the percentage of children who are illiterate remains high. Based on the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) among grade 2 students in 2015, 65% of Zambian school children scored zero, indicating that they could not read any of the words provided. Similarly, in the most recent study of 2018, the World Development report found that only 55% of grade 2 children in Zambia could not read a single word of a text.

How is World Vision addressing the issues?

To support the government in improving the level of literacy among grades 1-4, World Vision in Zambia has been promoting reading activities for in-school and out-of-school children through community reading spaces in 23 districts in Zambia where community volunteers and parents hold literacy sessions for children in rural areas of the country.

Our teams are also working to integrate local and contextual stories written in local languages. These have been shown to have a positive impact on children’s learning. Our collaboration with the Ministry of General Education at all levels (District, Provincial and Headquarters) has enhanced partnerships and made our implementation of literacy interventions in schools possible.

Is what World Vision doing working?

World Vision Zambia Education department has been implementing the ZREAD (Zambia Reading for Education and Development) Technical Programme in 23 areas of operation in 20 districts across eight (8) provinces since October 2016. The programme aims to provide “Improved numeracy and literacy for 140,000 girls and boys in grades 1-4 by 2025.”

By 2021, the ZREAD programme supported 385 schools across grades 1 to 4. The programme is contributing to the achievement of SDG 4, “Quality Education”, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities. In addition, the programme also complements the Ministry of General Education’s Primary Literacy Programme (PLP). It seeks to bring change in learning outcomes in order to improve literacy and numeracy among children in grades 1 to 4.

What's the impact? 

Through these interventions, there has been improvement in effective teaching practices.

  • World Vision Zambia trained over 2,700 teachers in 'Unlock Literacy', a model that focuses on training teachers to conduct literacy lessons effectively.
  • Our evaluation of 2021 indicated that the ‘Unlock Literacy’ training resulted in an increase in learners who could read with comprehension by grade 3 from 12% in 2017 to 26% in 2021.
  • We established 1,249 reading camps and trained 2,797 teachers in the 'Unlock Literacy' model.
  • In addition, the proportion of parents and caregivers that promoted learning and reading for their children in grade-appropriate levels increased from 17.6% in 2017 to 24.8 in 2021

For more about the education programme, read the Education Capacity Statement