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“The Girls Club has really helped me to participate and speak up. We talk about lots of things that affect girls in this area, like child marriage and domestic labor, and the risks for us when we walk from place to place. We also talk about the Letter Link box as a way to report things, and sometimes we perform dramas about these things.”

Education: the gateway to a better life

ChildHope and CHADET have been partners for over ten years. Since March 2013 we have been delivering a major project as part of DFID’s Girls’ Education Challenge Fund (Step Change) Programme, funded by UKAid.

Theme: Ethiopia’s most marginalised girls, those experiencing or at risk of early marriage, domestic labour, migration and street-involvement, to enrol in, stay in, thrive and succeed in education. Domestic labour.

Who we are helping: The grant, now extended to run to March 2017, aims to enable 16,442 of Ethiopia’s most marginalised girls, those experiencing or at risk of early marriage, domestic labour, migration and street-involvement, to enrol in, stay in, thrive and succeed in education. The project works with their male siblings, parents, community members and education departments, to promote positive attitudes to girls’ education and meet the project’s aims.

DFID funded

What we are doing: Our baseline survey showed a shocking number of girls juggling high numbers of hours of domestic labour, up to eight hours every day for many, with school attendance. We also learned early on that, even the girls who were accessing schooling, had low levels of learning, so we increased our emphasis on improving the quality of teaching and improving the learning environment, building new classrooms and toilets. At the same time, we worked to change parents’ attitudes to educating girls and helped to build their capacity to support their daughters’ education, by helping to increase family income for the poorest families.

In 2015/16

  • 48 schools were signed up to the project
  • 17,034 girls were engaged in the project, resulting in improved access to scholastic materials, tutorials, improved facilities in schools and greater opportunities to read and learn
  • Girls’ attendance in school was between 85 -94% (depending on geographical location)
  • 7439 girls and 4346 boys were members of clubs in their schools, promoting girls’ education raising awareness of the issues they face, through dance, debate, drama, music and the arts
  • 1,600 families were trained in the project’s community savings self-help group approach, enabling them to earn more, save more and support their girls’ schooling
  • 1,270 children raised concerns about their own or their peers’ safety and well-being through the confidential ‘letter-link’ boxes available in all schools, supported by teachers specially trained to deal with the issues they faced

We realised that we weren’t adequately meeting the needs of children with disabilities and so harnessed the support of a new partner, FAILCD (Fana Association for Individuals with Learning and Communication Difficulties) to help us. 534 girls with both physical and learning disabilities have been identified and supported. 800 teachers have been trained on disability awareness and provided with disability assessment tools and materials. The teachers involved admitted to a very limited knowledge and consideration of disabled children before the training. 50% reported that they ‘gained a lot’ from the information provided and 53% reported ‘very improved attitudes’ towards supporting girls with disabilities since attending the training.

Four main factors influence the girls’ success

  • Material support – school materials, equipment and uniforms
  • A conducive school environment – good teachers, enough room to study, hygienic toilets
  • Changing attitudes to girls’ education, especially from parents and community
  • Family income

Girls as leaders in their community

How this will improve a child’s life: By increasing their years in education and becoming more literate and numerate, there is a higher chance that the girls will have a stronger say in when they marry, who they marry and when they will start to have a family. They will have more choices about what to do with their lives and be less susceptible to trafficking, early marriage and other forms of abuse and exploitation. When they do decide to have a family, they will be stronger, better informed mothers with an enthusiasm to see their own daughters educated and making decisions for themselves.

Girls clubs Ethiopia
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