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 160 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.
Some of the girls lack a safe home and therefore often have to live on the street. As a transitional arrangement for these girls, SWADA rents premises where they can live.
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. In addition, some specially adapted teaching materials have been purchased. This commitment has made the school results for the blind girls much better.
There are approximately 3000 girls attending the three schools with which SWADA collaborates. SWADA has established a consultancy office at each of the schools. The teachers have been given customized training and serve the office on a voluntary basis. Here the girls can come and get sanitary napkins in case of urgent need, and there is a mattress they can rest on. They can make copies for cheap money (many do not have books), or they can come in for a chat. In 2018, 6500 visits to these centers were registered.
A business plan has been developed for SWDA focusing on revenue generating activities. The organization has received a large area from the government. In this country, SWDA, with the support of PfC, has built a vocational training center for girls who are not relevant to or want to go on to university studies. This center offers services to everyone in the area, regardless of whether they have been affiliated with SWDA or not before.
Building a new girl center
Today SWADA has a center where the girls come after school. Here they receive training in life skills, and there is a library where they can study. The center is in very poor condition, and PfC has for a long time worked to raise funds for a new building. SWADA has been given free space in Sebeta, and PfC has succeeded in raising funds so that a new girl center can be built. The new center will also include an overnight section and a café. PfC has initiated cooperation with Architects without Borders, which has designed the sign. Detailed planning is underway and the opening is planned for autumn 2020.