30th July marks the International Day of Friendship, promoting the relationship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals that can build bridges between communities. In Ethiopia, ChildHope's partner CHADET is working closely with brothers and male peers to do just that; by setting up "Good Brothers Clubs" to talk through the barriers to education faced by girls. As Mustefa, the Secretary of the boys club in an elementary school of a kebele in Oromia, explains:
"The reason we have this Club is that girls face a lot of problems in this place. They have to work hard at home, and outside the home, and they aren't always able to come to school or study. Then they might be married off by their parents which means dropping from school completely."
"Good Brothers Clubs" advise other students and directly support girls through various activities, like raising money for education costs (e.g. uniforms and exercise books) for girls whose families can't afford them. Some "good brothers" are even helping girls to put on community performances themselves and are facilitating community conversations about gender and girls' education.
The clubs have helped to increase understanding of key issues facing girls, like early marriage, risky migration, and house-hold labour, and devise ways to overcome them together. It illustrates the power of fostering friendships and communal understanding, and how in Ethiopia it is helping to overcome harmful social norms and change communities' attitudes towards girl's education:
"We're seeing change. If we'd seen no change then it would have been difficult, but things are really changing these days. Through the Club and the Life Skills classes our attitudes shifted, and now we train others in the school and in the community. We want to create a new generation with a better attitude." (Ahmed, treasurer of boys club in an elementary school of a kebele in Oromia)
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