Functional literacy-related challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Lusaka district

  • Agatha Kasonde Ministry of General Education in Zambia
  • Moses Changala The University of Zambia
Keywords: Functional literacy, Literacies, Women entrepreneurs, Community development


The purpose of this study was to explore the functional literacy-related challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Lusaka district. These are women involved in selling in markets and trading in various locations of the city. The objectives of the study were to identify functional literacy programmes for women entrepreneurs available in Lusaka district; determine how women entrepreneurs participated in functional literacy programmes; establish functional literacy-related challenges faced by women entrepreneurs; propose strategies aimed at addressing functional literacy-related challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. The study was guided by the conscientisation theoretical framework by Paulo Freire. It employed a descriptive research design. A sample of 65 respondents comprising 50 women entrepreneurs and 15 officers from non-governmental organizations was purposively selected. Interview guides and observation checklists were used to collect data. The data was qualitatively analysed by content analysis and results presented in descriptions and narration with some verbatim used for illustration. The study revealed that functional literacy programmes available in Lusaka district included skills development, educational literacy, and financial literacy as survival skills. It also revealed that the participation of women in functional literacy related programmes was generally low due to lack of awareness. The study recommended that the government should increase the number of functional literacy programmes to encourage more women to participate. It also recommended that there was a need for adequate sensitization, through adult education programmes, in order to increase the number of participants and beneficiaries of the programmes. The study further recommended that the government, through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, should incorporate functional literacy in their plans and set up more literacy classes in communities. It also recommended that the government should encourage collaboration among women.