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Alice Saisha grew up in rural Zambia, with a hard-working widowed mother of ten. There was never enough money, and often the family subsisted on just one meal per day. CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education, supported Alice to remain in school. Today Alice is a Senior Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Officer at CAMFED Zambia, and has obtained a Master’s Degree in Development Studies at the University of Lusaka, Lusaka.

As a child, Alice helped her mother by selling cassava leaves and working as a part time maid to buy food and school supplies. But when Alice was 14, her family could no longer meet the costs of her secondary education, and she was grave risk of child marriage. That’s when CAMFED stepped in to make sure that Alice completed her education.

After school, Alice joined the CAMFED Association, a peer support network for like-minded young women, which addresses rural isolation and provides a platform for stepping up for others. She gained business and leadership experience, and became a peer trainer in financial literacy in entrepreneurship, supporting youth in rural communities on the path to independence.

Alice funded her undergraduate degree through her own poultry business, completing a diploma in Human Resources Management from the National Institute of Public Administration in Zambia and a BSc in Sociology from the Women’s University in Africa. Alice then joined CAMFED Zambia as a District Operations Secretariat, liaising with community stakeholders, including Teacher Mentors, district level ministry officials, traditional leaders, civil society organizations, CAMFED Association and Community Development Committees to keep girls in school and end child marriage. A highly accomplished leader, Alice brings an intimate, nuanced understanding of the barriers to education faced by girls and their families, and the power of supportive networks to break the cycle of poverty. On a volunteer basis, she serves as a mentor and role model for marginalized girls by sharing her own story. An active advocate for girls’ education, she speaks at community and district-level meetings on the multidimensional benefits education can have for a girl and her community. Alice has personally supported 11 children through high school and into higher education programs, two of whom she took into her home.

Most recently Alice has played a leading role in the needs assessment and resource development for CAMFED’s Climate Education in Zambian schools, ensuring that the voices of marginalized girls and young women are elevated and that climate justice is at the heart of CAMFED’s approach.

International Platforms

From 2016 to 2019, Alice served as UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) Youth Representative, joining strategic meetings in Oslo, Norway. On International Women’s Day 2017, Alice joined American writer and activist Gloria Steinem and actor and feminist Emma Watson at Gloria Steinem’s home in New York to celebrate what is possible when you educate girls, and women lead by example. She was also a guest speaker at the Muse Women’s Conference in Bend, Oregon, co-hosted by writer, producer and activist Amy Richards. In 2021, Alice was recognized by the Tory Burch Foundation as one of its Women of the Year, and her story appeared in the UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Education for Peace And Sustainable Development) publication ‘Kindness Matters.’

Read Alice’s story here.

More from Alice Saisha

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Girls and climate justice education

December 6, 2023

Climate justice in education must acknowledge and respond to the injustices associated with gender, geography, poverty, youth, disability and other characteristics in a way that is uplifting and empowering. In this blog, Alice Saisha, Catherine Boyce and Fernanda Gándara explore what this looks like in practice.

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BlogZambia

The Power of Unity – Celebrating a Sisterhood of Leaders

Alice Saisha tells of how she and her fellow CAMFED Association members were determined to stay connected and support their communities even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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BlogZambia

That day I knew: Gloria Steinem is one of us

Alice Saisha, CAMFED Association member, tells of when Gloria Steinem came to Zambia to learn about child marriage, and how she came to learn that barriers for women have no boundaries, and that Gloria and her friends are on our side — advocating for women’s rights and acting now for girls who need our voice.

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