Pathfinder International was delighted to participate in the GlobalGiving Girl Effect Challenge, and while we were not a finalist, we have started planning our next phase of girls' empowerment programming in Ethiopia thanks to the generous support of so many donors.
Pathfinder has been supporting girls' education in Ethiopia through a designated scholarship program for several years. Through Pathfinder’s previous work in Ethiopia on women’s and girls’ empowerment, we have learned that holistic activities that engage parents, students, and the community can begin to change the social norms and beliefs around early marriage and harmful traditional practices. In addition, we have learned that it is critical to support a girl throughout her secondary school education or the financial burdens placed on the family increases the likelihood that the girl will have to drop out of school.
As a result of our learning, this new project aims to incorporate not only educational assistance, but also provide the necessary funds to support girls' clubs and other enrichment activities that will encourage girls to become
leaders in their schools and community. Another key element of this project will be support for community activities that will engage parents and other community leaders in discussions and activities aimed at increasing acceptance of girls’ education and empowerment and reducing harmful traditional practices that often curtail a girl’s opportunity to receive an education.
We are just in the planning phase of the project and have started to reach out to the Addis Ababa Women’s Association and the Amhara Women’s Association to identify girls to participate in the project. The two associations have already identified 15 girls in need of academic support and who demonstrate strong leadership potential.
In the coming months we’ll start to support girls’ clubs at selected schools by providing activities that focus on sexual and reproductive health education, including HIV and AIDS awareness. In addition, we’ll begin planning activities with parents in the community to discuss the importance of girls’ education.