Out-of-school girls’ lives in Zimbabwe: what can we learn from a storytelling research approach?

Buckler, Alison; Chamberlain, Liz; Mkwananzi, Faith; Chigodora, Obert and Dean, Caroline (2021). Out-of-school girls’ lives in Zimbabwe: what can we learn from a storytelling research approach? Cambridge Journal of Education (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2021.1970718

Abstract

This paper focuses on the experiences of out-of-school girls in Zimbabwe. It draws on a research strand of SAGE (Supporting Adolescent Girls’ Education), a UKAid programme funded through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) initiative. Using a digital storytelling approach the research highlights critical events that have changed girls’ lives and impacted on how they see their futures. The paper explores insights made possible by this alternative methodology. Crucially, it challenges the often-static representation of ‘marginalised’ and ‘out-of-school’ girls in Sub-Saharan Africa by illustrating the unpredictability of individual circumstances and girls’ perceptions of these, within broader contexts of persistent vulnerability factors. Drawing on the capability approach the paper also offers new insights into the perceived value and purpose of school for out-of-school girls. The findings have implications for conceptualising more creative, contextually appropriate policies and practices for young people who miss out on formal school.

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