Educating and Empowering Girls in Ethiopia
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.