Step back to 2006, when Global Care began a partnership with a grassroots Christian group supporting education in southern Ethiopia…
Using classrooms made of sticks and thatch, our new partners offered children a two-year pre-school programme in three rural and semi-rural areas, where school attendance was low, and attainment lower.
Children learned basic literacy, numeracy and key classroom skills. Many were from illiterate families, where children traditionally stayed home to look after animals.
Fast forward to 2019, thirteen years, five preschools and 6,225 children later, and Global Care’s support has ended. We are delighted to report the project is now self-sustaining, no longer in need of our funds.
During our partnership this project has seen transformation on many levels. The provision of school buildings is the most visible change – the mud and timber classrooms were replaced in 2014 by permanent classroom blocks, thanks to a £98,000 grant secured by Global Care from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission.
But other transformations are even more valuable: Families which once failed to value education are now proud to send their children to school, communities which felt ignored have seen their visibility and credibility increase, thanks to our investment.
Most of all, the lives of thousands of children and young people have been changed forever by equipping them with skills to build better futures for themselves and their families.
Mamo Katsela, director of our partners, Addis Kidan Baptist Church Welfare and Development Association, says: “The skills the children begin to acquire in the pre-schools, such as reading and arithmetic, are critical to the economic and social development of our country. Without these basic skills, it is impossible for them to fulful their potential or to contribute in anything more than a rudimentary manner to society. And the discipline of learning taught in school helps them to learn new skills outside school.
“Because of the pre-schools, the children are much more competent and ready to learn when they join primary schools. There has already been a significant improvement in literacy rates, and the way education is valued has positively changed for both parents and children alike.
“As a partner, we are very grateful indeed for the ministry of Global Care in Ethiopia. The pre-schools are breaking the yoke of illiteracy and communities are becoming more aware of the value of education. Thank you so much for your generous support.”
*Maryam has five brothers and three sisters. Her education was not a high priority for her parents, who survive on subsistence farming. However, she was able to join the Sundusa preschool in 2011 before going to government school in 2013.
Now in grade six, she is top of her class, and her whole family is celebrating her achievements. Our partners say: “She us told that for her current high performance of school, the Addis Kidan pre-schools played a profound role.”
John White, CEO of Global Care, says: “We are very proud of all we have achieved in Ethiopia. Early investment in young lives is crucial to seeing prospects change, and we are thrilled to have been able to support 6,225 children through this programme, and even more thrilled it will continue without us, in a sustainable way.
“We are especially pleased about the 3,129 girls impacted by the programme, as literacy rates for women are particularly low, yet we know that educating girls has a profound impact for generations to come.”
We are working with our partners to develop a new initiative in Ethiopia, which will launch in 2020.
*Name changed to protect child’s identity