Ethiopia’s State Minister of Education, Italy’s ambassador to Ethiopia and the director of UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA)
came together to help girls stay in school and get better results in two rural areas of Ethiopia.
Italy, Ethiopia, UNESCO IICBA agreed on April 3 to see this idea come to fruition. Italy donated USD 500,000 while the Ministry of Education and UNESCO IICBA agreed to pool their resources together.
Lower secondary schools in; Afar and Benishangul Gumuz will be the focus of the new work. Studies show the two regions experience low enrolment and retention of girls. This is likely due to cultural and economic factors.
UNESCO IICBA’s Director, Mr. Arnaldo Nhavoto says they want to increase retention in lower secondary schools and make sure they get the most out of their education.
“Girls and young women in emerging regions of Ethiopia must have the social and economic conditions to allow them to continue their path towards higher education and a better life,” he said.
It is not just for the sake of equality that girl’s education is vital. Both anecdotal evidence and research indicates that the education of girls has many positive social returns. When mothers are well educated it frequently means better performance at school because they are able to assist their children at home. This leads to a more efficient education system. It also delays the age of marriage. Empowering girls through education means they take better care of themselves which reduces maternal mortality while improving child development. Educating girls also leads to an egalitarian society with women significantly represented in the workplace and in decision making roles, creating a more just and peaceful world in the process.
UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) has been operating for over ten years. It helps to improve education in African Member States through training teachers, planning, developing curriculum and distance education. It is the leading partner in the endeavor.