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.
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.
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