Community Action for OOSC in Zambia

At present, Zambian children’s access to primary education is thwarted by a range of barriers, such as distances exceeding five kilometres between school and home (particularly in rural areas), poverty, early/forced marriage, gender discrimination and a lack of and inappropriate school infrastructure disproportionately impacting those with special needs and disabilities. The disparity in education access is especially pronounced between rural and urban settings, wherein 23 per cent of primary-aged children in rural areas versus 9 per cent in urban centres are out of school.

Over the course of a five-year period, the Community Action for Out of School Children (CAOOSC) project by Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) aims to reach 175,000 OOSC in 29 districts throughout the country. The project has been designed and will be undertaken in line with the government’s National Implementation Framework and Vision 2030. This project builds off of a proven model that is endorsed by Ministry of General Education (MOGE) and that has been implemented by ZOCS in Zambia for over 20 years. The project addresses the needs of children who would otherwise not have access to an education or who have dropped out and are facing barriers to re-entry. The CAOOSC project has three core objectives: 1) to increase access to primary education for rural communities without established Community/Government Primary Schools; 2) to stimulate access to primary education for OOSC who have dropped out of school in communities with established Community Schools; and 3) to facilitate the retention of 175,000 OOSC enrolled in school.

Regarding sustainability, ZOCS aims to achieve the durability of project interventions through a three-pronged strategy. Concretely, it entails: alignment with government priorities and policy; capacity building; and income-generating activities. 


Zambia Open Community Schools

EAC and Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS), in partnership, aim to reach 175,000 out of school children (OOSC) with quality primary education.




A landlocked country in Southern Africa, Zambia shares borders with eight other African countries. According to a national census conducted in 2010, the majority of Zambia’s population is predominately located in rural areas (61 percent) and just under half (45.4 percent) are young people below the age of 15. Economic progress since independence has been uneven, though recent strides in real GDP growth have been remarkable and Zambia is transitioning from a poorer country to an expansive lower-middle income country.