Involving young researchers to ensure that girls go to and stay in school in Ethiopia

”Education Matters More!’ – a project building on the success of ‘Education Matters’ – aims to ensure that girls attend and complete primary and secondary education. Through strong cooperation between schools, government and community members, the project overcomes a range of barriers that keep girls from going to school or cause them to drop out,

Education Matters More! started in January 2019. Now, more than a year later, we are happy to share the achievements of the impementers of the project: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Hiwot Ethiopia and ICDI.

Our impact in 2019

Action research by boys and girls

An important component of the project is youth-led research. Girls and boys conduct their own research projects. Based on the results, they come up with action plans and develop and implement small-scale interventions (so called ‘mini projects’).

In March 2019, ICDI provided a 2-day Training of Trainers on how to support girls and boys in conducting their own research. A total of 15 teachers and 26 young girls/boys club leaders were trained who in turn trained a total of 117 students in becoming young researchers. They are currently in the process of doing research and developing action plans to improve (access to) education, especially for girls.

Some of the mini projects already have been initiated. For example, in one of the schools the young researchers found the existing rooms that girls can visit during menstruation to be inconvenient, resulting in girls not using it. A lack of quality spaces where girls can rest increases the risk that girls stay at home when having their period. To tackle this obstacle, the young researchers made an action plan and successfully convinced their school to improve the resting room. The room was renovated and equipped and is now being used by girls for resting during their menstruation period, but also for producing sanitary pads and for counselling sessions by trained teachers on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights. Not only did the young researchers acquire new skills during this process, it also gave them confidence and a sense of pride and ownership, to see that their efforts lead to actual results.

In the coming year, these kinds of research and mini projects will take place in 20 different schools, involving young people to participate in a meaningful way in the process of encouraging girls to go to and stay in school.

We look forward to continue working with our local partners and young people in Ethiopia in 2020 to make schools more girl-friendly and to ensure that every girl goes to and stays in school!

This project is made possible thanks to the generous support of Dioraphte and other donors.