Keeping Girls on Education during and after COVID-19
The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic is causing the worst health crisis of the generation in the World and is severely challenging the population, with a rising number of fatalities. The pandemic is deeply affecting the environment in which girls and all children grow and develop. Their education is interrupted, protective structures disrupted, and their families and communities placed under stress by health and economic burdens. Girls are often faced with the burden of household chores, which for poor families includes many hours each day collecting water, as well as cooking meals and tending younger children – all hindering their ability to attend and perform successfully in school. Girls face several challenges in attending safe schools with quality education, including: Too often families favor boys when investing in education. Poverty compounds factors that keep girls out of schools, such as early pregnancy, child labour, house work, and cost & distance to school; Girls face harmful social norms. Child marriage rates in the country are one of the highest in the world, impeding girls’ chances of completing school; some schools do not meet the needs of girls in terms of safety, available WASH facilities, and quality of education; Gender-based violence robs girls of education. Schools have the opportunity to be a safe haven and place to learn about rights against abuse and find help.
Ethiopia is among the affected countries in all aspects and forced to enact a state of emergency and closed all schools for about 7months from March 2021. Students are highly affected during the school closure and exposed for different abuses. Girls are more affected due to deep rooted harmful traditional practices.
Following the incidence of the pandemic, Center of Concern (CoC) is implementing a project called “Keeping Girls on Education During and After COVID-19” since November 2020 with the financial support of Malala Fund in 16 school of Sidama Regional State (Wendogenet and Boricha Weredas) with the objective of supporting girls to back to schools and learn free from any constraints.. The project also target girls with disabilities as they are vulnerable segments of the community exposed to GBV, low or no access to education. Activities such as awareness creation of the community, teachers and girls through transmitting contextualized messages, back to school campaigns, facilitating discussion sessions in villages and in churches and creating girls friendly school environment are among the planned activities to be implemented in the targeted 16 schools (from grade 7-12) of two selected districts of the region namely Wondogenet and Boricha Woredas.