Educating and Empowering Girls in Ethiopia
December 2014 – February 2015
Since May 2008, Global Giving Donors have generously supported Pathfinder International to empower the most vulnerable women and girls in Ethiopia. The support aims to reduce the number of girls dropping out from school due to financial constraints and to equip them with life and leaderships skills. So far, Pathfinder has recruited 104 female students from very poor families: 77 from Addis Ababa and 27 from Amhara region have received the grant.
The generous support from GlobalGiving donors has helped our female students by providing 150 birr per month (US $7) to cover basic costs for school. Considering the importance of books for their education, we were able to purchase 20 books that were needed by the girls to prepare for their national exit exam.
During this reporting period, in addition to the purchase of books, 19 beneficiaries at Dera District Ambesamie have taken the initiative to form an association of their own. The main aim of the association is to share thoughts and find possible solutions regarding various difficulties they encounter as female students. The girls meet every month to discuss their problems such as how to deal with and overcome peer-pressure, how to study effectively, and difficulties related with teaching and learning. The sharing of lived experiences has enormous influence on the girls, as they all have similar socioeconomic backgrounds, are of similar age, and often face similar problems. The discussions are contributing significantly to advance their education, as social problems such as peer-pressure can have devastating consequences on learning outcomes.
Along with the monthly meetings, the girls created a study group which meets twice a week (Monday and Wednesday). The aim is to discuss the challenges in subjects such as mathematics and physics and to address questions and concerns members of the group may have during after-school sessions. This has enabled the girls to develop group work skills and at the same time helped them achieve their academic goal.
A gender and sexual and reproductive health one-day training was provided to 25 female students who are program beneficiaries in Addis Ababa. The training was informative as well as interactive with engaging debates and shared experiences.
The updates of all the beneficiary girls are gathered periodically by Amhara IFHP as well as at the country office level. Accordingly, the progress of the girls in their school is well documented. In monitoring the progress, we work very closely with school administrators, parents and concerned stockholders. This helps us to acquire valid information, solve problems, and facilitate the girls’ educational achievement.
THE WAY FORWARD
In the coming months, we plan to work closely with the beneficiaries, their parents, school administrators, and teachers. We plan to organize discussion and awareness creation trainings.
September – November 2014
GlobalGiving donors have generously supported Pathfinder International’s project to empower the most vulnerable women and girls in Ethiopia by providing scholarships for their continued education to mitigate their risk of dropping out and to build their life and leadership skills. Since May 2008, Pathfinder has recruited 104 female students from poor families through its GlobalGiving project, Educate and Empower Ethiopian Girls. In total, 77 girls from Addis Ababa and 27 girls from the Amhara region have received scholarship assistance and orientation on youth reproductive health issues.
In September 2014, Pathfinder International Ethiopia, in collaboration with Addis Ababa Women’s Association, was required to reduce the number of beneficiaries from 90 female students to 45 female students due to financial limitations.
During this reporting period, the 45 female students received extensions of their scholarships. While it was incredibly difficult to reduce the number of beneficiaries, the project considered select criteria when deciding who would receive a scholarship extension, e.g. absence of parents or custodian (70% of the beneficiaries), economic situation of parents, and education achievement. Fifteen female students are currently university level students, and the remaining 30 female students are studying at the secondary school level. All our beneficiaries receive 160.00 Ethiopian Birr (US$ 8.00) per month, which covers the cost of school uniforms, school stationary materials, feminine hygiene materials, and school transportation. We are proud to see these students becoming empowered role models for each other and the girls in their communities.
In the Amhara Region, GlobalGiving donors have supported 19 female students since 2013. Though our Integrated Family Health Program’s regional office, Pathfinder Ethiopia is providing scholarship and girls’ clubs support at Dera District Ambesamie and Aferewanat secondary schools. When we first launched the program, our students were in Grade 9. Almost two year later, the GlobalGiving beneficiaries have advanced to Grade 11 with good academic performance. Most of these students were able to score very good grades (with great distinction) in the National Grade 10 exit exam with the support of your generosity. The girls acknowledge and cherish the support you have given them. As one of the beneficiaries describes:
“This result would have not been mine, if not for the support of GlobalGiving donors. I used to walk for four hours every day to school and even worse, my family expects me to do some activities after reaching home. But, nowadays I am able to rent a room near school using the donated funds. I study hard and do not waste my time traveling. I plan to join university with very great distinction. Now, my future is bright! Thanks for the GlobalGiving donors.” Tamrie E. (scored 3.14/4 in Grade Ten National Exam)
In Addis Ababa, the Addis Ababa Women Association and Pathfinder International Ethiopia organized monthly meetings with the female beneficiary students in Addis Ababa with the aim of monitoring how stipends are spent. Together as a group, the girls report on the allocation of the funds and present their academic achievements.
Similarly, the Pathfinder office in Debretabor conducted monthly follow-up visits and held conversations with female students on the utilization of resources and challenges.
In general, students have been able to improve on their educational achievements and now see a brighter future ahead. The successful results achieved by these students at the Grade Ten National Exam attest this fact.
Limitations and Looking Ahead
The Pathfinder Ethiopia team and its partners are acknowledge the generosity of our GlobalGiving donors, without which, these amazing results would not have been possible. Unfortunately, during this reporting period, we were required to reduce the number of beneficiaries receiving support due to a reduction in funding. Eventually, we would like to not only offer all of our beneficiaries additional support, but we would like to expand the program to reach more girls as well. Pathfinder Ethiopia and the Addis Ababa Women Association also plan to continue to train the girls on adolescent, sexual, and reproductive health issues.
GlobalGiving donors have generously supported Pathfinder International’s project to empower women and girls in Ethiopia by providing scholarships for their continued education to mitigate their risk of dropping out and to build their life and leadership skills. Since May 2008, Pathfinder has recruited 104 female students from poor families through its GlobalGiving project, Educate and Empower Ethiopian Girls. In total, 77 girls from Addis Ababa and 27 girls from the Amhara region have received scholarship assistance and orientation on youth reproductive health issues.
This reporting period spanned Ethiopia’s rainy season, when schools are usually closed and the students go on holiday. Most of our GlobalGiving beneficiary students in the Amhara region and Addis Ababa traveled to see their families in rural regions located quite far from the school and major cities. In the meanwhile, we are expecting their test results to be released at the beginning of September, which is also the start of the new school year. In September, we will continue our financial support and sexual and reproductive health education to our beneficiaries. Once we get the results from testing, we will know where the students will be placed. Some students will move to other towns after completing their grade 10 studies to join preparatory classes or vocational schools far from their vicinity. Once we know this information, we will continue to support our female beneficiary students with financial support and sexual health education.
During this reporting period, 20 students from the Amhara region received scholarship extensions that provided tuition support for five months. These vulnerable female students were on the verge of quitting school unless support was provided. Thanks to the timely support of this project, they are able to continue with their education. The number of girls on scholarship in Addis Ababa remained the same (77) during the reporting period, although some beneficiaries are in need of the extension of their financial support. Because of the limited funding available, Pathfinder Ethiopia prioritized support to the more vulnerable girls in the Amhara region who were also victims of forced marriages.
In addition to the extension of scholarship assistance in this reporting period, follow-up visits were done in the Amhara region and in Addis Ababa to assess the status of scholarship beneficiaries. Findings showed that all students in Amhara were doing well and attending classes, with improved academic performance. A majority of the girls also participate in school clubs (mainly in gender clubs), becoming advocates for girls’ education and the prevention of harmful traditional practices in their communities. They are also playing vital roles in the promotion of youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services.
Continuing the effort to empower scholarship beneficiaries on adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) issues and assertiveness skills, Pathfinder organized training for the 26 girls in Addis Ababa. The training was provided for three days by experts from Addis Ababa Health Bureau and the Pathfinder Ethiopia AYSRH team. The training also provided the opportunity to introduce the girls to health experts who could serve as role models and mentors in the future.
GlobalGiving donors have generously supported Pathfinder International’s project to empower women and girls in Ethiopia by providing scholarships for their continued education to mitigate their risk of dropping out and to build their life and leadership skills. Since May 2008, Pathfinder has recruited 104 female students from poor families through its GlobalGiving project, Educate and Empower 800 Ethiopian Girls. In total, 77 girls from Addis Ababa and 27 girls from the Amhara region have received scholarship assistance and orientation on youth reproductive health issues.
During this reporting period, thanks to the generosity of our GlobalGiving donors, eight of our existing secondary school students in Addis Ababa were given scholarship extensions to continue their education and avoid dropout.
In addition, three-day trainings in adolescent sexual and reproductive health were conducted for 31 girls in the Dera Woreda of the Amhara region. The goal of these trainings was to educate and train peer educators who can become mentors in their own communities. The trainee students were from two local high schools, with 20 of them being scholarship beneficiaries of Pathfinder’s GlobalGiving project. These trained adolescents will go into their communities as peer educators who will conduct outreach on topics like basic sexual and reproductive health information, anatomy and physiology of the reproductive system, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, life skills, gender, and harmful traditional practices. Other topics of interest were discussed at the trainings such as Pathfinder’s scholarship project, their academic performance, and strengthening the girls’ clubs. As a result, the girls witnessed an increase in their sexual and reproductive health knowledge and made a commitment to serve their peers in sharing what they learned from the training.
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Institutional Giving Officer