This project builds upon the success of the project “Education matters, especially for girls”, which was implemented between February 2015 and February 2017. Through strong cooperation between schools, government and community members, that project tackled a range of barriers, which kept girls from going to school or caused them to drop out. As a result, significantly more girls now go to and stay in school and support for girls’ education has increased within the wider community. This follow up project aims to maintain and strengthen achievements of the previous project, attend to lessons learned and expand activities to 10 new locations and 20 schools. We will upscale the approach to reach more girls (and boys) and work ever more closely with community groups and government agencies.
In Ethiopia, out of 100 children enrolled in the first grade, 50 drop out by the time they reach fifth grade, and 30 more fail to complete eighth grade. The drop-out rate is much higher among girls than boys. This trend also continues in secondary education. Girls in rural areas are particularly vulnerable. Deeply rooted customs, belief systems and attitudes practiced in families and communities, coupled with poverty and lack of awareness are seen as the main barriers for girls to complete their education. Between February 2015 and February 2017, ICDI, ESD and Hiwot jointly implemented the project “Education Matters, especially for girls”. The aim was to overcome obstacles to girls’ education in two rural and semi-rural districts of North Shewa Zone of the Ethiopian Regional State of Amhara. Activities engaged some 2,000 girls from primary and secondary schools directly and another 10,000 people indirectly (parents, siblings, teachers and other community stakeholders).
Objectives and outcomes
The overall goal is to ensure that girls in the target areas attend and complete primary and secondary education.
The specific objectives are to:
- Enhance the retention rate of girls at school by promoting a positive, safe and stimulating school environment, life skills education and psychosocial support;
- Create awareness and support for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and girls education amongst parents and community members;
- Enhance educators‘ capacity to provide quality education for girls;
- Establish and strengthen networking and linkages among all community actors.
The foreseen activities include:
- 20 local task forces established. Task forces will be comprised of representatives from the educational department, representatives from the local authority, and school principals. They will receive training and guidance on project goals and responsibilities.
- Action research by girls and boys. ICDI will provide Training of Trainers (ToT) for partner staff on the methodology of “Children as Researchers”. The trained staff will then in turn train girls and boys. Following their research, boys and girls will come up with action plans and develop and implement their own small-scale interventions (“mini projects”).
- Training for 40 teachers in their capacity of club coordinators on facilitation, leadership, guidance and counselling and on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) issues. Trained teachers will also provide specific psychosocial and educational support for disadvantaged girls. Referral systems established for each of the 20 kebeles and 20 schools, linking them to health centres, so girls can access SRHR services.
- Equipping 20 primary and secondary schools and girls and boys clubs with the necessary reference books, teaching aid materials and mini-media equipment, and other stationary support, as well as infrastructural improvements to libraries. In two schools new libraries will be constructed and equipped.
- Training for girls on sanitary pad production, peer education, (prevention of) child marriage, life skills and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Health). ToT training will be provided to girls club leaders and then they will train rural in-school girls on how to make sanitary pads, using homemade materials (this can also be considered a form of economic support to disadvantaged girls). In these ToTs, boys will also take part.
- Training and awareness raising of parents, mothers group facilitators and community representatives on SRHR and girls’ education.
- Providing material and psychosocial support for 160 most vulnerable girls in order to keep them in school.
- Information sharing and awareness raising for the school community groups on SRHR and the importance of girls education. At least 5000 community members from 2 woredas and 20 kebeles will be provided with information on SRHR and overcoming barriers to girls’ education.
- Community exposure and awareness raising events, which will bring the stakeholders together and disseminate the results and products of the project.