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Alice Saisha

CAMFED Association Leader, Zambia

Alice grew up in rural Zambia, helping her hard-working widowed mother of ten by selling cassava leaves and working as a maid to help buy food and school supplies. There was never enough money. Often, the family subsisted on just one meal per day. 

At 14,  Alice had to drop out of school because the family could no longer afford her school going costs.  This is when girls in rural communities are at great risk of child marriage, often seen as the only way to secure their future.

But Alice’s life was transformed when the School Based Committee at CAMFED’s local partner secondary school in Samfya noted her absence and selected her to receive a CAMFED scholarship. The support allowed her to complete secondary school and join CAMFED’s pan-African network of young women leaders. Through the CAMFED Association (CAMA), Alice became a trainer in financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

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This gave me a platform to provide mentorship to youths in the community where I helped link them to microfinance institutions. I also assisted 20 community members to open bank accounts and 15 set up businesses. I am constantly mentoring youths on the importance of budgeting, saving and banking.

Alice started a poultry business to fund her own university education, obtaining a diploma in Human Resource Management at the National Institution of Public Administration in Lusaka. She recently completed a degree in Sociology through distance learning at Women’s University of Africa.

Alice is a mentor and role model, working with schools and communities to keep vulnerable girls in school. (Photo: Eliza Powell/CAMFED)

CAMFED hired Alice as a Provincial Program Assistant for the Luapula Province where she gained experience in education operations at a provincial level. She then worked as CAMFED Zambia’s District Operations Officer in Samfya, collaborating closely with partner schools and district ministry officials on CAMFED’s Community Development Committee, many of whom she knows from her own school days and involvement with the CAMFED Association. 

It has been a great transformation; I never thought that people would at some stage look up to me for guidance and as a leader. My journey has helped me address challenges such as poverty. My struggles have taught me to become a team player. I have come full circle from a shy girl to a more confident and focused lady.

Alice shares her story at a community outreach meeting. (Photo: Eliza Powell/CAMFED)

With her CAMFED Association sisters, Alice travels to remote parts of her district. (Eliza Powell/CAMFED)

As a committed leader, Alice promotes the power of education over early marriage by sharing her own story and success at local community meetings and with families, and works with officials to return child brides to school.  Alice supports one boy and 10 vulnerable and orphaned girls to go to school, two of whom she found in an abandoned building, and who are now living with her. In 2016, Alice was appointed UN Girls’ Education Initiative Youth Representative.  She currently works with the Monitoring and Evaluation team at CAMFED Zambia.

Alice is the epitome of the multiplier effect of education, showing the crucial difference the experience and empathy of young women leaders can make to the lives of so many vulnerable children.

Alice surrounded by some of the 11 children she supports, for whom she is a second mother, sister and friend. (Photo: Eliza Powell/CAMFED)

 

Read Alice’s bio here.

Read some of Alice's blogs:

Alice-Saisha-CAMA-secondary-classroom-main-UKAM-film-Samfya-ZM-24-Sep-2017-DSC_8117

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.

Alice-Gloria-featured-news

NewsUnited States

Gloria Steinem wants you to meet CAMFED alumna Alice

On International Women's Day 2017, Gloria Steinem hosted CAMFED alumna Alice from Zambia for an inspirational evening, bringing together a group of passionate and powerful luminaries focused on girls' education in the developing world, including actress and CAMFED supporter, Emma Watson - all representing the “outburst of energy and caring” Gloria Steinem describes in her video interview with USA Today.

blog_2016-07-21_5

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.

blog_2016-08-12_4

BlogZambia

Five strategies to achieve the 2030 education goals

Alice Saisha, CAMFED Association member and United Nation Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) Youth Representative, uses her experience to detail the five strategies we need to deploy to deliver on the promise of quality secondary education for all by 2030.

blog_2016-11-25_1

BlogZambia

Poor girls are at greatest risk from SRGBV. Here’s why, and what we can do about it.

Alice Saisha, CAMA member and United Nation Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) Youth Representative, understands and shares from her own experiences why girls from impoverished rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa are especially at risk of School Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV), and details how intervention is needed at every school level in order to tackle SRGBV.

Faith-landscape-homepage

StoryZambia

Faith, Secondary Student, Zambia

Meet Faith, a secondary scholar from rural Zambia. Faith was born in a central province, but following the tragic death of both parents when she was just three years old, she was taken in by her aunt in northern Zambia. In spite of all this upheaval at such an early age, Faith enrolled in primary school with the other children in the district, and settled into her new home.

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