Anyone starting a charity will have an idea of the challenge and need that their proposed beneficiaries are facing. You only have to read Mayda’s story to understand why she believed there were barriers to education in rural Zimbabwe for young girls.
But it is the duty of every charity to put its prior knowledge and assumptions to one side and conduct a thorough needs assessment – one that will confirm what is truly going on and therefore direct the activity of the charity in the right way.
Throughout Autumn 2020, despite the pandemic and lockdowns across Zimbabwe the SHE team conducted an assessment of the situation in two areas of rural Zimbabwe. We did this by speaking directly with students in a number of schools, parents or guardians, teachers, local nurses and social workers as well as local authority. We also referred to the research of other charities and organisations.
The assessment did confirm many of our assumptions but. it also highlighted some that we were entirely un aware of prior to this work.
We have grouped the barriers as follows:
- Poverty at home / living in child-led homes
- Child labour
- No legal documentation
- Long distances to school
- Limited access to healthcare
- Sanitary products
- Affected by HIV/AIDs
- School fees
- Uniforms / basic clothing
- Quality of teaching
We believe that needs are ever changing so we aim to always consider our needs assessment a ‘draft’. It will be ever emerging and informing and we will keep it alive and front of mind by continuing our relationships with all of the contributors and stakeholders above.