Washington, D.C. – First Lady Laura Bush in June joined Zambian first lady Maureen Mwanawasa for a visit to a school in Lusaka, Zambia that is supported by one of AIR’s major international efforts – the Community Health and Nutrition, Gender and Education Support – 2 (CHANGES2) program.
Under CHANGES2, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), AIR is helping Zambia’s Ministry of Education provide training to teachers and community leaders, with a particular emphasis on nutrition and health issues, including HIV and AIDS prevention and mitigation.
CHANGES2 also provides scholarships to orphans and other vulnerable children, and builds partnerships between schools and communities to promote community-wide health and HIV prevention activities. By 2009, training and assistance will be provided to 2,600 government and community schools.
During the June 28 visit to Regiment Basic School, the two first ladies were accompanied by their daughters, Jenna Bush and Chipo Mwanawasa, as well as Ambassador Mark Dybul, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Carmen Martinez. They met with students, toured the facility and were treated to dance and drama performed by members of the school’s Anti-AIDS Club.
Mrs. Bush helped launch the first PlayPump water system in Zambia during her visit to Regiment School. “PlayPumps are children's merry-go-rounds attached to a water pump and a storage tank,” Mrs. Bush said during a speech in Lusaka. “When children play on the merry-go-round and the wheel turns … clean drinking water is produced. PlayPumps are fueled by the great limitless source of energy: children at play. And they're a great example of how governments, foundations, businesses, and religious groups have joined to address the lack of clean water across Africa, which is a major obstacle to defeating malaria and AIDS.”
The visit to the school in Zambia is the third time the first lady has toured AIR projects. Mrs. Bush inspected a program in Tanzania aimed at improving the quality of education in Zanzibar, and visited a school in Baltimore, Md., where AIR is working to reduce aggressive, disruptive behavior in first and second grade classrooms.
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research on important social issues and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity.