In cooperation with Siiqqee Women’s Development Association, PfC promotes economic independence through education and entrepreneurship among girls at selected schools in the Oromia region. The goal is to keep girls in school and motivate them to seek further schooling and a university education.
Through the partnership with the not-for-profit, Ethiopian organisation Siiqqee, PfC supports a programme that provides young girls with access to education and improved living conditions. The participants are 151 vulnerable girls aged 14-18 from three selected schools in the rural Oromia region. They are among the most underprivileged in Ethiopia, but excel academically and are highly motivated.
Siiqqee works with girls in rural areas by ensuring that they continue their education. A mentoring programme has also been developed to motivate the girls to pursue higher education and to take a leadership role in the community. The organisation has helped poor and vulnerable girls develop themselves for 18 years. They have shown how they can escape poverty through access to knowledge and networks.
The programme ensures that the girls get what they need, including school supplies and sanitary napkins. The need for school supplies is obvious, but sanitary napkins are also crucial. In fact, Ethiopian girls miss around 30 per cent of school time because they do not have access to sanitary napkins.
One of the schools is for the visually impaired, the only one of its kind in Ethiopia. For the special needs of the blind girls, a dedicated mentor is employed.
Counseling Offices (girls’ safe rooms) are established in the three schools in Sebeta. 3,000 girls have access to counseling within education and health, including sanitary material, bed for resting in case of period cramps and a copy machine for copying education material. Weekly mentorship meetings and open office for all the schoolgirls, reaching 1,500 girls so far with more than 6,300 visits. More than 5,000 sanitary pads were handed out to girls visiting the counseling offices.
After exploring the lack of safe housing for the girls, Siiqqee has refurbished it’s girls resource center into a girls shelter that houses around 8 girls. It has kitchen, toilet and shower and a common sitting room and a library. Girls that are attending schools from the street and those in unsafe places will be residing in the shelter.
A business plan has been developed for Siiqqee for income-generating activities. The organisation has been granted a large area of land from the government. On this land due to the support from PfC, Siiqqee is building a vocational skill training center for girls that are school dropouts or for those that have more inclination towards creating their own business.