CALS Alumnus Leads Effort to Build School in Zambian Village

By Amruta Byatnal, MPA ’16

A foundation was dug, 120,000 bricks were molded and fired, and sand and crushed stones were stashed for making concrete: The villagers of Masopo in Zambia’s Choma province had laid the groundwork for a new—and much needed—classroom building by late last August. Peace Corps volunteer Ross Hathaway ’13 is leading a crowd-sourced fundraising effort to make the building a reality, creating space for more children with smaller class sizes as well as capacity for adult education.

Currently, 654 children study in the school’s nine classrooms, far exceeding the national standard of 45 children per classroom, Hathaway explained. Hathaway has worked in Zambia as a forestry extension agent since finishing his B.S. in plant science three years ago, and he sees a direct connection between educational opportunities in the village and his work in agriculture and the environment.

“Education could help people understand and trust information, and it is inextricably linked to getting people to try new things,” he said. “It would give them faith in their own capacity to know why and how, for example, a new farming practice works. Our goal is to have everyone in the community literate by 2030.”