We're thrilled to share the final endline results from our Girls' Education Challenge project, Improved Girls’ Learning in Rural Wolaita, funded by UK Aid. Over the past four years this holistic project has worked at community-level across four of the most remote and disadvantaged districts of Wolaita Zone in southern Ethiopia to improve 123 primary schools and support 62,777 girls to learn and stay in school. The project has sustained transformational progress across key intervention areas, boosting girls' literacy by 197%, numeracy by 301% and retention in school by 30%. Crucially, 60% more parents are supporting their daughters to regularly attend and complete their primary education. It has also demonstrated how gender norms present a huge challenge to girls’ education and clearly evidenced the need to improve secondary education across these rural districts.
Positive impacts haven't been confined to girls. Illiterate and uneducated mothers have ventured back to school with their daughters and sons, highlighting an important transition in the way communities value education. One parent expressed “I used to crave to see her married and have children. Now I desire her to continue her studies”, whilst a senior girl supported through the project spoke of her inspiration in “seeing people who attained high status through education.” Boys have also been supportive, with one noting the visible behavioural change, “A girl never sat at the same table with boys in the past. Now she feels equal and does not feel ashamed about her sex.” Wolaita Zone’s Education Head stated that the project had positively influenced districts across the entire zone: “There is a change in community attitudes. People start to believe. Girls’ education becomes society’s education. Education is the only way to overcome poverty.”
Stay tuned for more updates on our evolving work in Ethiopia.