Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Betty Taylor

Second Advisor

Shabnam Koirala-Azad

Third Advisor

Patricia Mitchell


The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals aim to meet the needs of the world's poorest people by 2015 through universally agreed upon targets. Goal number two aims to provide universal primary education and states that "by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling" (United Nations, 2010). Zambia, located in Sub-Saharan Africa, in an effort to increase school access and attendance, developed the Free Basic Education Plan which eliminated school tuition up to grade 7 and allowed for a large number of children to enroll in school. While this effort did result in large increases in school enrollment, free tuition did not automatically mean that every child would be given the opportunity to attain an education.

This study examined the youth's access to and quality of education in the impoverished compound of Kalingalinga, located in the heart of Zambia's capital city of Lusaka. Seven youth were selected from the compound, all of whom were either facing extreme poverty or were orphans. Through a participatory research model, the youth were given an opportunity to share their educational journeys, accounting both for the hardships and the successes, through their oral narratives and Photovoice. The impact of various social and economic condition has had on youth and their education was also examined as well as issues that the youth themselves found important to the success of the educational system in Zambia. With little research available about this population, the goal of this research was not only to add to the body of research available, but to allow the youth's voices to be heard, as they are the only ones who truly know what it is like to pursue an education amidst the current socio-economic struggles in this region.