catch up

After a successful completion of the Catch Up pilot project in 2017, USAID and the University of Cape Town have commissioned VVOB through J-PAL Africa to mainstream the ‘Teaching at the Right Level’ approach in two provinces in Zambia. With Catch Up, the Zambian Ministry of General Education, VVOB and partners aim to improve pupils’ basic literacy and numeracy skills in the country.

Lecturers' guides

Recognizing the importance of Early Childhood Education (ECE) as a strong foundation for future learning, in 2014 the Ministry of General Education of Zambia (MoGE) took up the responsibility of ECE provision in the country, committing to providing all Zambian children with ECE. Prior to this, ECE was a preserve of the wealthier members of society and service provision in this sub-sector was in the hands of private institutions. The immediate concern was the limited amount of well trained teachers to teach ECE.


Through the LITLE programme, VVOB Zambia supports both pre- and in-service early childhood teacher development.


Today, we celebrate International Literacy Day in the Copperbelt Province.  VVOB joins the provincial education team and other stakeholders in this event.  ‘Reading the past, writing the future’, is the motto for this year’s celebrations.

“Literacy skills start to develop in early childhood, and we want to create more awareness on the importance of early childhood education amongst parents and stakeholders in our Province”, Elva explains to the Permanent Secretary of Copperbelt Province. 

Making children's symbols

The QEECS project seeks to strengthen the quality of early education provision in Kitwe and Ndola districts in Zambia.  The project offers intensive support to 18 community schools in particular, including support to infrastructure development, teaching and learning materials, linking the communities to services, parental involvement and teacher development. 


Despite gains in enrolment, learning levels in Zambia remain low. Large, heterogeneous classrooms mean that students who miss basic skills never have the chance to catch up. Programmes which tailor learning to the level of the child can help solve this problem.


In our Annual Report 2015 we emphasise the importance of quality education for all children and youngsters. It bears witness to the results we achieve and the stories we initiate. We brought them together under the three subsectors in which we operate: early education, primary education, and secondary technical and vocational education. They always relate to professional development of teachers and/or school leaders and to equity in education. They illustrate how our capacity development leads to sustainable results in education.


During a free session of the IPU on the morning of Tuesday 22nd March 2016, delegates of the Belgian Parliament, Senators Pol Van Den Driessche and Philippe Mahoux, as well as Sabien Lahaye-Battheu and Roel Deseyn from the House of Representatives, had an opportunity to visit a sample of the activities being implemented by the biggest Belgian development organization operating in Zambia, VVOB - Education for Development.


This is the final evaluation report of the Empowering Community Schools in Service Teachers through Education (ECSITE) project.

The project which was implemented from January 2013 to December 2015, was co -funded by the European Union and the Belgian Development Cooperation and was implemented in 250 Community Schools in the districts of Mumbwa, Serenje and Chibombo in Central Province, and in Mufulira, Ndola and Kitwe in Copperbelt Province.


The below documentary of the ECSITE project in Zambia illustrates the challenges faced by Community Schools and showcases some of the interventions of the project, which was implemented by VVOB in conjunction with Zambia Open Community Schools and Ministry of Education with funding from the European Union and the Belgian Development Cooperation. The ECSITE project, which came to an end in December 2015, aimed at improving the quality of teaching in the targeted Community Schools as well as their access to teaching and learning materials for the benefit of the vulnerable children they serve.


On the 14th of October the Quality Early Education in Community Schools (QEECS) project, handed over equipment and learning materials for Early Education, to 19 Teacher Resource Centres and 18 community schools of Ndola and Kitwe. The project is Co-funded by the European Union and the Belgian Development Cooperation.

EU Head of Cooperation, Aad Biesebroek, and Early Childhood Director, Mrs Christine Mayondi, joined the Provincial Ministry of Education team, as well as VVOB and ZOCS, to grace the event.


Education moves, both literally and figuratively. In our Annual Report 2014 we bring stories about three important pillars of our world-wide operations: professional development of teachers, school leadership and equal opportunities in education. We offer brief introductions with lots of photos, testimonials and info graphics.


Early this year, VVOB signed a Memorandum of Understanding with LUCA School of Arts. LUCA is the only college in Flanders exclusively dedicated to art and architecture. This college will support VVOB in its Early Childhood Education (ECE) Programmes, focusing on the integration of arts to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.

news_A framework for early education in Zambia

The QEECS project, supported by the European Union and implemented by VVOB and ZOCS, supports 18 community schools in Ndola and Kitwe district to provide quality early education. In March this year, the QEECS project organised two study visits for nine community schools in Ndola to Buyantanshi Community School in the same district. A total of thirty head teachers, early childhood teachers and parents took part in the visits. The visits were supported by the District Resource Centre Coordinator and the Chairman of the Community Schools in Ndola.


From the outside, the school looks dull and uninspiring. Located in the outskirts of Ndola, it looks more like a storage shed than a school for 195 pupils. This is one of the 3,000 community schools dotted around poor areas of Zambia. Approximately 20 percent, or 600,000, of the students in the country‘s basic education system, attend community schools. These enrol the most economically disadvantaged children, who struggle with both psychosocial and learning issues.


On the 5th of February 2014, the Zambia office of the European Union organised a ceremony in Lusaka for the five organisations that recently were allocated a grant. During this activity, the official signing of the agreements was held. One of the beneficiaries is the QEECS project. The acronym 'QEECS' stands for ‘Quality Early Education in Community Schools'. This project will improve the quality of early education in community schools in two districts in Zambia. It will be jointly implemented by VVOB and ZOCS.


End of October 2014, VVOB Zambia organised an exploratory mission on pre-mathematics. Two Flemish experts in the field of Early Mathematics, Mrs Marleen Duerloo (Flemish Institute for Catholic Education) and Mrs Annemie Merckx (University College Odisee) visited the country with the purpose of gaining insights in local knowledge and practices in order to support the development of a training programme on pre-mathematics teaching for early grades.


Since January 2013 VVOB has been supporting Community Schools (CS) and Teacher Resource Centres through the ECSITE Project. The project is being implemented by VVOB together with the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) as well as Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) as an operational partner. The project is funded through the European Union in conjunction with the Belgian Development Cooperation.


Inadequate investment in the human resource of any nation anywhere in the world is often the principle cause of any lost human potential and eventually any lost national wealth. (Barnett, 2009)


Patile akantu. Kaikele ngefifine twikele…
(Once upon a time there was a thing, which sat just the way we are seated…)


"He was not very talkative and looked shy. I asked him if I could see his bicycle. He nodded, came back with a black bike that looked brand new. It had thick tyres, like the ones little children in Belgium use to keep their balance. Only here the robust tyres were meant to withstand the dirt roads. Later I would find out that this brand of bicycles is especially made for Africa: ‘for big loads on though roads.’ The website states that these are the strongest bikes on the continent, built with heavy-gauge steel and a rack ready to carry over 100 kg loads.


In VVOB's Annual Report 2013 you will find an overview of our activities in 2013. We offer brief introductions with lots of photos and testimonials.


On Monday 24th February the ECSITE project handed over 80 bicycles to Community School teachers in Copperbelt province. All these teachers are volunteers and untrained, nevertheless very eager to improve their teaching and continue contributing to the educational needs of Zambia’s vulnerable children.


The Zambian Ministry of Education has embarked on a complete revision of the education curriculum from Early Education to Secondary Education. This new curriculum will be rolled out as of January 2014. VVOB participated in the launch of the new Educational Curriculum, which was attended by the Minister of Education, Dr. John Phiri. The launch has been supported mainly through USAID projects, but also VVOB was invited to display its literacy related teaching and learning materials.


VVOB has been implementing the Teacher Training Support Programme (TTSP) since 2008 in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Sciences, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE). The programme was implemented in all public Colleges of Education and was centred around three main themes: Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Distance Education (DE) and ICT in Education. An additional component looked at fine-tuning the institutional framework for government support to Community Schools.

news_ECSITE Equipment Handover

Teacher Resource Centres in Zambia serve primarily to develop the professional skills of teachers through access to teaching and learning materials, but also through the provision of professional development courses for teachers.  However, due to financial constraints, most Teacher Resource Centres in the country are ill equipped to adequately perform their key functions.  

school_Sr. Banda Matilda Teacher in Charge

“The more the learners take control of their learning, the more they find the learning process a pleasure and the more I enjoy my work too”. (Sr. Banda Matilda, Teacher in Charge).


For over 40 years now, UNESCO has been celebrating International Literacy Day by reminding the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning. In line with this, Buyantanshi Community School (BOCS) in Kabwe, invited parents and education officials to demonstrate how learners' motivation for early reading has improved through the use of tablets.


The e-mail addresses of the VVOB Zambia team have changed. Our addresses are now


In VVOB's Annual Report 2012 you will find an overview of our activities in 2012. We offer brief introductions with lots of photos and testimonials. The central theme of this report is overcoming inequality.


All is finally set for the full implementation of the ECSITE project. On the 18th of April the project was officially launched in Ndola, in the presence of the District Education Board Secretaries (DEBS) from the project areas, the Director, Teacher Education, representing the Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Education.


From March 10 to March 15 a unique VVOB seminar took place in Blankenberge, Belgium. More than 88 employees from all partner countries (six from Zambia) gathered for the seminar '!'. Together they explored their activities.


On the 5th of February 2013, the Zambia office of the European Union organises a ceremony for the organisations that recently were allocated a grant. During this activity, there is the official signing of the agreements. One of the beneficiaries is ECSITE. This is a joint project of VVOB Zambia, ZOCS and the Zambian Ministry of Education. The acronym 'ECSITE' stands for 'Empowering Community School In-service Teachers through Education'. This project aims at improving the quality of education in community schools in two provinces in Zambia.


Early 2012, ten photographers set out on a journey. Their mission was extremely challenging; to grasp the impact of VVOB's education programmes on the everyday lives of children and youngsters. The result is an impressive and colourful range of interpretations, perspectives and ideas.

Education can change lives. Continuously, education changes as well. 'Education Changes Lives' powerfully brings this into focus.


On the 9th of June 2011, the Zambia Knowledge Centre (ZKC) in Lusaka was officially opened by the Ministry of Education (MoE). The Knowledge Centre is an insaka for teaching and learning in the digital age. ZKC is to become a vibrant place within the MoE that is giving access to global online resources and is building local online content for teachers, lecturers and students. It is also a place for techies to work on technologies that can leapfrog development in Zambia.