African Education Program

Young people attending AEP’s Learning & Leadership Center in Kafue, Zambia.

African Education Program

The African Education Program (AEP) works to unlock the potential of Zambia’s youth and adults by building and growing community-led organizations.

Zambia has one of the world’s fastest growing and youngest populations with 68% of Zambians under the age of 25. AEP helps young people fulfill their potential by providing a safe learning center and delivering programs on quality and inclusive education, health and wellbeing, entrepreneurship and financial literacy, the arts and creativity, and leadership development.

Over 700 girls, boys, young women and young men attend AEP’s Learning & Leadership Center in Kafue, Zambia, coming before and after school for holistic program support. AEP’s Reproductive Health Access Initiative focuses on reproductive and menstrual health, pregnancy prevention, ending HIV stigma, emotional health, self-esteem building, and gender-based violence. Thanks to these comprehensive programs, the pregnancy rate among the young women at AEP’s Learning & Leadership Center is less than 2% compared to 15-20% locally. Young women at the center also receive a pack of reusable pads and a menstrual cup to ensure they never miss a day of school or a day at the center due to menstruation.

AEP's story

The idea for AEP was born in 2002 in the cafeteria of Radnor High School in Pennsylvania. Four sophomores decided they wanted to do a service project for students living in communities that were under-resourced and affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Zambia. Founders Hillary Bridges, Sarah Hayes, Christian Mark and Julie-Anne Savarit-Cosenza sought the advice of their native-Zambian soccer coach at the time, Dave Chalikulima, and connected with his brother, Amos, a community leader in Kafue.

Within two years, AEP was registered as an official 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The founders started their work by shipping books, computers, school supplies and clothes to Kafue. After graduating from high school in 2005, they traveled to Zambia and learned that the community lacked an educational, creative and safe space to go before and after school.

In August 2006, members of AEP traveled again to Kafue, Zambia. With community leaders and youth members, the flagship Learning & Leadership Center was opened.

Photo: Julie-Anne and the local team in Zambia. The majority of the local team running the day-to-day operations and programs are alumni of the Learning & Leadership Center. © AEP

Learn more about AEP in this Q&A!

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Over 700 girls, boys, young women and young men attend AEP’s Learning & Leadership Center in Kafue, Zambia coming before and after school for holistic program support

Unlocking the potential of Zambia's youth: Q&A with the African Education Program

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