Vice-President Inonge Wina has urged the Ministry of Gender to conduct an impact evaluation exercise to determine the effectiveness of the Girls Education, Women Empowerment and Livelihoods (GEWEL) project in the country.

GEWEL is a US$65 million project supported by the World Bank from 2016 to 2021 as an inter-ministerial initiative designed to empower women through improved livelihoods of 75,000 rural women and provide secondary school bursaries to 14,000 girls who are currently not in school due to poverty; covering 51 districts through out the country.

The two target groups are drawn from extremely poor households using the single registry database managed by Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare. Under this project, the Ministry of Gender is expected to develop capacity for Monitoring and Evaluation at a cost of US$1 million while the Ministry of General Education is expected to use about US$28 million for keeping 14,000 girls in secondary schools.

On Monday, a team of World Bank staff paid a courtesy call on Vice-President Wina over possible additional financing towards the GEWEL Project, as the current agreement comes to an end in September, 2020.

The team included World Bank Country Manager Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg, Task Team Leader for GEWEL Project Sarah Coll Black and Emma Hobson who is also working on under GEWEL.

And in a statement, Permanent Secretary in the office of the Vice- President for administration Stephen Mwansa disclosed that Vice-President Wina was delighted with the World Bank’s support to the country in various key sectors of the economy.

“Vice President MrsInonge Mutukwa Wina has indicated willingness to support the idea of providing more finances for the continuation of the GEWEL programme so that more vulnerable women and girls could have access for livelihood support and secondary school education, respectively. She was delighted with the World Bank’s support to the country in various key sectors of the economy and she urged the Ministry of Gender to conduct an impact evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the GEWEL Project. Under the current GEWEL agreement worth US$65 million, the project is on track to achieve its project development objectives; progress towards the PDO and implementation progress has been rated as Satisfactory for the last year. Component one of the project is support to women’s livelihoods whose target is to support 75,000 women with training, a productive grant, savings and mentoring. To date, 12,748 beneficiaries have received full SWL package and 21,375 beneficiaries await the grant. An additional 45,000 women will be selected from Social Cash Transfer (SCT) households in mid-2019,” stated Mwansa.

“Component two of the project is Keeping Girls in School (KGS) whose target is to pay school fees for 14,000 vulnerable girls from SCT households. To date school fees have been paid for 16,239 female secondary school students in 16 districts across 10 provinces. KGS is expanding to an additional 11 new districts to support 9,000 more girls. A total of 25,239 girls are expected to benefit under the project surpassing the initial project target of 14,000 girls. Further, investments have been made in payment systems, management information systems, and financial management. The GEWEL project is contributing towards Government’s aim of substantially scaling up pro-poor spending to combat poverty and inequality as set out in the 7NDP.”