UNESCO’s Basic Education for Africa Rise (BEAR) project in Zambia

Innocent Makumba, aged 38, enrolled in the Mazabuka School for Continuing Education in southern Zambia in October 2014 to learn skills needed for construction work. Innocent, along with 50 trainees, will learn bricklaying, carpentry, electrics and plumbing, while building a new school as part of the course supported by UNESCO’s Basic Education for Africa Rise (BEAR) project.

“I’ve been on this training course for a few months now and I’m learning skills in metalwork, bricklaying, electrics, plumbing and carpentry that I didn’t have before. It’s a very practical course and we learn through practical exercises. We spend most of our time in the field, constructing a new building.

We have been learning how to lay the foundations for a building, learning the main skills for construction work, landscaping and leveling the ground to make it level.

We have learned how to make the best mixture of cement with crushed stones and river sand for the foundations of the building and how to make cement slabs.

I feel better equipped now with skills and I know how to lay foundations for a buildings which is important for me because there is more demand for this now in Zambia and I now have skills to be able to do this. I’ve also met different people with different skills on the course and we share ideas and this improves our knowledge.

Before I joined this course I was a freelance welder. I did some training but it was not formal.  The UNESCO training has helped me because I’ve learned more technical skills. I want to study further and have a better future for me and my family.  I am married with four children and it’s a struggle to provide for them. It’s really tough for me, that’s why I want to complete this course and get more work. I earn roughly 1500 Zambian currency (US$ 238.09) and it’s barely enough to survive on.   

This course run by UNESCO is going to give me better opportunities and I can apply for jobs with big construction companies and this will mean that I will get paid a better salary. I would not have been able to pay for a course like this myself so I am glad that I was able to join the training.”

Innocent will receive a Technical Education Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) certification in metalwork/fabrication and electrical when he completes the course in January 2015. This project in Zambia was made possible through financial and technical support from the Government of the Republic of Korea.

The BEAR project is being implemented in five African nations; Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Namibia and Zambia.  At least 1,000 young people are set to benefit from the specialized skills training and 500 staff, including teachers will benefit from improved infrastructure and guidance..