Our mission: WISE supports empowerment and economic independence for vulnerable women and children in the Western Province of Zambia through educational, vocational and agricultural initiatives.
Auburn, Maine–New data shows that 2018 was WISE’s most successful year on record, with more students receiving scholarships, graduating from high school, and attending college than ever before.
“When WISE started up more than a decade ago, no one could have imagined what it would become,” said WISE Board President Joanne Bollinger. “Our work has transformed hundreds of lives.”
Started in 2005, WISE is a global nonprofit dedicated to empowering women and children in rural Zambia through the power of education. It works on the model of “giving back” and relying on local African leadership to develop and implement programming.
The organization provides desperately needed high school scholarships to at-risk Zambian youth. For most scholarship recipients, WISE is the only way they can afford to continue their education after seventh grade. For girls from remote villages, the need is critical due to the prevalence of early marriage.
“Over the last six years, WISE increased its annual high school scholarships from 12 to 150,” Bollinger said. “In January 2019, we enrolled 200 in 12 different schools. The great news is that 133 of those students are girls. ”
WISE does more than just provide high school scholarships. In recent years, scholarship recipients who have graduated high school have received additional scholarships to go to college.
Sometimes, a scholarship isn’t enough. In places where schools are little more than huts, WISE has built new facilities to educate those students most in need.
And for women who have been unable to go back to school, WISE provides vocational and agricultural training courses to help them improve their lives.
“WISE recognizes the daunting challenge of poverty in rural Zambia, and we are more than willing to meet it,” Bollinger said. “We’re just getting started.”