JFIT Project “Retaining Girls in Lower Secondary Schools and Increasing their Learning Outcomes” Conclusion
The project funded by Japanese Fund-in-Trust “Retaining Girls in Lower Secondary Schools and Increasing their Learning Outcomes in Ethiopia (Gambella and Somali Regional States)” is concluding in March 2017. The project aimed to reduce the dropout rate of girls in six pilot schools (three per region) by 20% at the end of the project period. The project also aimed at a 15% improvement in learning outcomes as measured by the Ethiopian General Secondary Education Certificate Examination (EGSECE).
In line with these two objectives, there are three components namely:
• Viable and sustainable income generation schemes for provision of stipends, school materials and sanitary pads: a different package was provided based on the specific needs of each school;
• Capacity building of school teachers, school management staff and teacher-educators in teacher training colleges in gender responsive pedagogy (GRP), national/regional educational system capacitated with GRP and life skills;
• Community based Girls Education Support Structure (GESS) in order to advocate for the promotion of girls’ education: change of gender norms through community mobilization support for marginalized groups.
As one activity of the project, 65 school-teachers (55 male and 10 female) in six schools trained as Trainer of Teachers (ToT) on GRP and Gender Responsive School Environment. Through this:
• 120 school teachers are trained through a cascading system and thereby empowered, this benefits 1,200 students from the project;
• The teaching process, learning process and school environment is improved;
• Library and play-ground arranged for girls’ use, separate toilets for girls as well as special rest-rooms are prepared;
• Female students’ involvement in tutorial program increased;
• Female students’ class room participation enhanced;
Another activity was to train 17 technical assistants assigned by the Ministry of Education (MoE) for school improvement program (SIP) trained on GRP, the achievement of which are:
• In addition to the six project schools, 20 primary schools and 10 secondary schools in Gambella, as well as 44 primary schools and 32 secondary schools are benefited in gender mainstreaming and SIP;
• With the coordination of MoE Gender Directorate, gender indicator guideline for SIP was prepared;
• Ownership over the program went to the Federal MoE and Regional Education Bureaus.
Teachers in other regions also benefited from the project activities:
• GRP module for secondary school teachers was developed, teachers were introduced to different pedagogies, and tutorial program on STEM was strengthened;
• Through life skills training, 1,000 students benefited, girls clubs strengthened, female students become assertive and different sectors developed plans of action on cascading life skills for girls and female;
• Training on advocacy and gender responsive education provided for 60 members of the GESS, which allowed GESS to take full ownership on the implementation of income generating activities, together with awareness raising programs on early marriage, gender based violence (GBC) and on the importance of girls’ education;
Since most challenges on girls’ dropout issue come from the low-income level of the families, this project also designed Income Generating Activities. So far, 5 out of 6 target schools have started generating income from the businesses created; 20 girls have been supported economically; 100 girls have been supported on sanitary hygiene provision. A sustainable income for a total of 200 girls will be supported for 2017.
A girl form Degehabur High School, who is a GESS member said, “We are involved in matters concerning us which gives us confidence and a feeling of belonging. In our school things are improving, we find a forum to discuss on our issues and help our female friends”. This is the most rewarding outcome of the project and an encouragement to keep up the work.