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ECCE seminar – Better family-work balance to increase women’s participation in paid formal work

Girl smiling standing in front of a group of girls
Other project Ongoing

Girls as Changemakers in Society

The Concept

The Siiqqee Women’s Development Association (SWDA), founded in 1997 by Zertihun Tefera, is dedicated to empowering impoverished Ethiopian women through education, addressing the significant gender gap in educational attainment, professional life, and leadership positions. Despite the societal inclination for boys’ education, SWDA focuses on enabling girls, particularly those at risk of dropping out during middle school, to secure and enhance their futures to become leaders in society.

I am always discussing with my father and brother about gender equality. Both agreed on gender equality and started sharing house chores. Thus, there is no division of labor based on sex in our family

Mimi Zelalem, student in the Siiqqee programme and participant in mentorship group

The Challenge

The initiative’s necessity is underscored by the stark educational disparities between genders, with girls disproportionately affected by early dropouts. SWDA’s intervention has seen remarkable success, supporting 296 girls currently, with 146 alumni, most of whom
remain in the education system for 5-6 years. Notably, 97 graduates have advanced to higher education or vocational training, boasting a 100% retention rate post-enrollment in the program. In addition to improving educational outcomes, it also combats teen marriages and pregnancies, youth homelessness, and malnutrition, significantly enhancing the overall
well-being and future prospects of these young women.

The Solution

SWDA’s approach includes establishing “girls clubs” in three schools to combat dropout rates, benefiting approximately 20% of female students with services ranging from counseling to access to sanitary facilities. Beyond direct support, the program fosters a cascading mentorship system, transforming 150 girls into mentors for 750 peers, eventually impacting over 10,000 individuals. This innovative mentorship model not only amplifies the program’s reach but also exceeds initial impact projections, illustrating a scalable solution to educational inequality and women’s empowerment.

0 % drop-out among the girls in the programme

The girls were at the verge of dropping out of school when they were selected to join the programme. After joining, non of the up to 300 girls that are part of the Girls as Changemaker-programme has dropped out.

4 times higher exam pass rate than national average

The girls have access to tutoring classes to help them do better in school.

30 girls have so far graduated university

The majority of the girls aim for higher education.

The girls’ clubs help us solve our problems by creating a safe space within the school. It helps us discuss the problems we face both in school and outside of school.

Girls at Sebeta School that uses Siiqqee’s girls clubs

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