In 2017, we began our work in Ethiopia, thanks to an exciting partnership with imagine1day, an organization with a rich history of working in two key regions: Tigray and Oromia.
We are now working in partnership with communities to replicate the WE Villages model in ways that are relevant and consistent with the needs of the local communities. We are excited to introduce innovative solutions to sustainable development, helping thousands of families forge a new path forward: one free from poverty.
Fighthing child marriage in Ethiopia
On a Sunday morning in the rural community of Shani Kondala, Ethiopia, 13-year-old Asmau Kamal learned she’d secured her place among the top 10 in her Grade 6 class.
Impact by the numbers
25,000+ 800+ 3,800+
out-of-school children have been enrolled into school, with over 90% of them having been retained for at least six months.
Filled with pride, she returned home to share the news. The community’s elders had gathered with her family—not to celebrate her accomplishments but, to her surprise, to arrange her marriage. She begged and pleaded with them to delay the ceremony so she could complete her studies, but it fell on deaf ears. She was quickly married and forced to drop out of school, an all-too-common trend for so many young girls across rural Ethiopia. But Asmau wasn’t just any girl. She was a member of the girls’ club at Shani Kondala Primary School, a group creating awareness about the importance of education for all children, especially girls. They knew they had just 15 days to convince her parents and community elders to reverse their decision. According to cultural tradition, Asmau wouldn’t be considered a wife until her 16th day of marriage. The group fought to persuade Asmau’s parents and her new husband’s family to let her return to her family and continue her studies. It wasn’t until the 15th and final day that Asmau’s parents, convinced by the appeals of the group, successfully lobbied for the marriage to be dissolved. When Asmau did not attend school, her peers feared the worst and sprung into action.
teachers received professional development training in five partner districts and over 500 influential community members trained on the importance of modern education.
school clubs established across partner schools, with over 40% of students actively participating in at least one.
Now, almost a year later, Asmau is back in school. As for her rank? She is 13th in her class, but is not worried; she has plenty of time to get back on top.
A NEW ERA OF SUSTAINABLE IMPACT | 29
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