News blog

Blog category: Gender

International Day of the Girl

Written by Ben

Today is International Day of the Girl, and this year’s theme is adolescent girls. In 2000, the UN set the Millennium Development Goals, which expire this year, and 1 of the 8 goals was to ‘Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015’. Girls who were born in the turn of the millennium, are now adolescents, and the progress made under the MDGs has seen a closing of the gender gap in terms of primary and secondary enrolment across the Global South, and in Ethiopia.

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However, despite the great improvements, there still remain a number of challenges to overcome. Our research found that whilst Ethiopia had made great strides in ensuring that as many girls as boys now enrol in primary school, however at secondary school the gender gap remerges. Despite similar numbers of boys and girls starting secondary school education, many more boys complete secondary schools than girls, as challenges unique to girls hinder their attendance and attainment. For every 10 boys in secondary school in Ethiopia there are only 9 girls.

At Link Ethiopia we are entering a new phase in our support for Girls’ Education. We already ensure that over two-thirds of children on our child sponsorship programme are female to counter the increased risk of dropout. Our Gondar office has held its first meeting of the ‘Girls’ Education Steering Committee’, a community-based group comprised of local women from a range of backgrounds who meet monthly to guide Link Ethiopia’s female education policy.

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The group is currently working on designing pilot projects to be run in 2016, which will focus on singular interventions targeted at a small number of girls, and are currently considering proposals such as girls’ accommodation blocks and expanding Girls’ Clubs in schools. Through careful monitoring and evaluation of the different pilot projects, Link Ethiopia will be able to build up a body of knowledge of the most effective ways to support girls in education. The most successful of these pilot projects will then be developed further, and expanded across Link Ethiopia’s schools.

Please support our Day of the Girl campaign to support the Girls Education Steering Committee and their pilot projects so that Link Ethiopia can increase it support for female education in Ethiopia and help close the gender gap. 100% of all donations that come through our website until 18th October will go towards funding our pilot projects programme, and you can donate here. If you’d like to fundraise for Girls’ Education email jasmine@linkethiopia.org. You can also spread the word about our work by sharing this blog post on social media with the hashtag #dayofthegirl.

Thanks for reading and watch this space for updates on our Girls’ Education projects.

Posted in 2015, Gender, Projects, Uncategorized |

Circus show raises more than $1000 for girl’s education!

Link Ethiopia is partnered with SponsorHer!, a social fundraising platform connecting girls in Ethiopia with sponsors all over the world and leveraging the potential of expatriates and tourists. We are always happy to be work with people who are just as passionate about education in Ethiopia as we are. With the help of Fekat Circus, SponsorHer! were able to put on a wonderful show to many people and raise more than 1000 USD.

Written by SponsorHer!

Under the blue tent of Fekat Circus in the old centre of Addis Ababa, Piassa, adults and children impatiently wait for the circus show to start. Some minutes later, young acrobats jump, fly and roll over the scene, followed by talented jugglers and two funny clowns.

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The public holds its breath when two young girls climb up high under the circus roof just held by a simple rope and start doing breath taking acrobatics. Big applause sets in after each successful figure and even bigger so once the girls land safely on the ground again.

More than 150 people, mostly families, came to the magic circus afternoon last Sunday, 20thSeptember. Besides enjoying the wonderful show, they helped raise more than 1000 USD that will support four Ethiopian girls to attend Secondary School for the next school year.

Maria and Giorgia opening the show

            ‘Maria and Giorgia opening the show’

Habtam and Eman, selected and accompanied by our partner MYSisters in Addis Ababa, and Hamelmal and Yezibalem, supported by our partner Link Ethiopia are among the best of their class, but their families struggle to support their school education. All four will start Secondary School this week in Grade 9. Secondary School in Ethiopia lasts 2 years and is followed by a two year preparatory class for university in Grade 11 and 12.
You can learn more about them by clicking on their name above, and if interested sign up to support them during all of their Secondary School career.

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We greatly thank Fekat Circus for this wonderful show – circus art in its pure form. Fekat Circus enables professional and young artists alike to express themselves through corporal arts. Besides its professional shows, Fekat offers as a social endeavour circus training to disadvantaged children in Piassa and brings joy through clownery to sick children. This joy also spilled over to the public last Sunday, when artists, children and parents alike joined into a common dance at the end of the show.

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Public and artists join each other for a final dance

‘Public and artists join each other for a final dance’

 

Thank you everybody for coming and for your support of girls education!

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Gender, Uncategorized |

Our 2013/2014 Annual Report

Written by Isabel

We have just published our Annual Report for 2013/2014 which is available to read here (link). We would like to thank you all for your support over the past year, and hope you continue on the journey with us! Below is a summary of what we have achieved with your help, and highlight of some of the work we’ve done over the past year. All of this, and more, is explored in more detail inside the report.

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Why Education?

Our work is completely focussed on changing lives through education. Whilst the impacts of schooling are experienced on an individual level, its benefits are multiplied to include families, communities and wider society. Among the benefits are an increased earning potential, a reduction in the infant mortality rate and an increase in average GDP by 0.37%.

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Further than ensuring education becomes universal, we work with our link schools to provide a quality education. To ensure this, we have 5 main targets on which we focus:

• Infrastructure
• Teaching Quality
• Learning Resources
• Inclusion (of all social groups)
• Community Support

Below are some examples of the projects we have been involved in during the 2013-2014 period, each of which reflect one or more of our targets.

St. George’s School Project

‘Having worked with schools elsewhere in Ethiopia, I could see the huge contribution that St. Georges is making to improve education’
– Hannah, Teacher and LE Volunteer

Link Ethiopia supported the establishment of the St George’s School project, an initiative set up by the Northwood School Group here in the UK. St George’s, a not-for-profit non-government school, provides learning opportunities for a large intake of orphans and disadvantaged children from the local area.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

By March 2014, the core buildings were completed and already in use. The aim is for the project to continue to expand in order to provide schooling until Grade 12. A very big thank you to Broomwood Hall and the Northwood School Group for your vision and direction so far!

Case study: Dudmegn School, Gondar

In February 2014, we installed a water station of 24 new taps at Dudmegn School. Before the installation, the school was managing with just two functional taps for a population of over 2000 students. The wider availability of water in the school has resulted in a higher attendance rate among students. We are hugely thankful for the purchases made from our Gift Ethiopia shop, shop.linkethiopia.org, and also for contributions made by the Mandala Trust, in addition to the supporters of our gift scheme.

Case study: Sincil School, Lincolnshire

At Sincil

The link between Sincil Sports College and Times Choice Academy in Bishoftu has been especially fruitful, and the partnership provided an opportunity for two students, Kyle and Ryan, to take part in the British Council funded ‘Connecting Classrooms’ exchange programme. This was a great opportunity for the boys to visit Times Choice Academy, which they really enjoyed! We are also pleased to say that Sincil were awarded funding for a second ‘Connecting Classrooms’ trip. Well done and thank you to both schools for maintaining a strong and successful partnership.

Sponsorship case study: Tejitu

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Tejitu, an 18 year old young woman from Bishoftu, has been sponsored by Link Ethiopia for approximately 5 years. Through our School Links, Volunteering and other project programmes, she has been able to gain confidence in her English language skills, engaged in global learning with students at her link school in the UK. She also helped to coordinate a ‘World Challenge’ trip at her own school, which helped her to further develop her global outlook and grow in confidence. We are extremely proud of her achievements and we look forward to seeing her fulfil her ambition of studying Biology at university.

Teaching Quality

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Investing in quality teachers is central to providing a quality education. During the 2013-2014 year, we were able to train grade 1 and grade 2 teachers in the phonics method. We have observed fantastic results so far, among them a 77% increase in the number of students using the library and a 65% increase in test scores for students of the trained teachers.

You can flip through the report below (click in the middle to view fullscreen). Enjoy!

Click here to see the full report and hear about the above achievements in detail, as well as the results of our work on global awareness, learning resources, and inclusion. Once again, we want to thank our link schools for your dedication, fundraising and ideas – none of the above would be possible without your contributions. We look forward to future engagements and successes!

Posted in 2013, 2014, 2015, Child sponsorship, Classrooms and furniture, Ethiopian news, Fundraising, Gender, Global Education, Inclusive education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Project expeditions, Projects, School links, Science and technology, Sports, Tours, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Water and sanitation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do we have a Right to Education?

Written by Laurence

It might seem like a simple question with an obvious answer; yes.

But across the world it’s not necessarily that simple. Children surely have the right to education. But do adults? What kind of education are children and young people entitled to? Should we have to pay for education, and if so, does education still exist as a fundamental right? Or is it now a commodity like gold, corn, property or oil?

UNESCO - Out of school children

Following the intro animation you can explore the situation in Ethiopia by going to the right-hand bar.

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Even if we all agree that we, or at least children, have a right to education, does that mean that all children will now have that education within their grasp? Will governments and institutions rise up and sever the chains holding back girls, rural children, poor children and others? Unfortunately, when you look around the world today, even with the Right to Education enshrined under Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 58 million children around the world are still out of school.

The UNESCO graphic, which you can access via the image above, explores some of the reasons why children in a variety of circumstances struggle to access education:

  • Lack of access in rural areas,
  • More than half of boys aged 7-14 work,
  • Many girls work or undertake chores at home,
  • Poverty keeps three-times as many poor children out of school than their richer counterparts.

There is such a variety of challenges facing children in a country like Ethiopia that sometimes you marvel even at the luckier children who do have access to education – the boys who work part-time to help support their family; the girls who spend so much time looking after young siblings, cooking and cleaning; the children who walk miles every day just to get to school.

Link Ethiopia began with the question ‘why education?’ What is so important about education, why does it matter, and what changes does it bring to the lives of young people? Perhaps this seems like another obvious question with a clear answer. But in order for governments, institutions and people to change – to see that 58 million children out of school across the world is a disgrace – we sometimes have to bluntly show why education is so vital.

7MajorImpacts-01_SMALL The impacts of education on an individual’s – and a country’s – future can be considerable. © Link Ethiopia

The above graphic attempts to do that. Things are always more complex than graphics, charts and reports can show. And many of the benefits of education are intangible and can’t easily be mapped, recorded, or given a financial value. But here are some basic facts that highlight just how important education is – for health, wealth, happiness and much more besides. And I don’t think anyone can argue with that.

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Classrooms and furniture, Fundraising, Gender, Global Education, Inclusive education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Project expeditions, Projects, School links, Science and technology, Sports, Tours, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Water and sanitation |

My Link Ethiopia Summer Internship

An Investigation into the Barriers to Female Education in Link Ethiopia Schools

Written by Emily Gretland

“Roughly two months ago, with a 20 hour journey ahead, the time had finally come to travel to the Link Ethiopia offices in Gondar to undertake a study and produce a collaborative report on barriers to female education in Ethiopia. Equipped with very limited knowledge of Ethiopian history and culture and zero prior experience with this wonderful country, the thought of the task at hand was daunting.

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Upon arrival, it was clear that my prior sentiments were understated. My first encounter with the results of Link Ethiopia’s data collection was a slightly unsettling experience. The questions had been drafted and the results collated in such a way that it was logically categorised into themes. However, any law student with limited experience with excel, maths and numbers in general would find the nature and volume of this information perplexing at first glance. The data that had been collected was the result of quantitative and qualitative responses of 360 students, 120 parents and 40 teachers from 9 Link Ethiopia schools, to questions directed at understanding barriers to girls’ education in Ethiopia.

The wheels of the girls’ education study have been turning for a year already, due to the initiative and dedication of various people involved in this ambitious project, and my role was to produce help produce the report that would inform the nature of the project which will start this academic year.

Having overcome my initial bewilderment and comforted by the helpfulness, experience and kindness of my new Gondar family; the Link Ethiopia staff and volunteers, it was time to start processing the results in a more systematic way. The questionnaires were scanned for patterns and trends. The underlying question, which I had written in bold on an electronic post-it note on my desktop, was, “what factors, social, cultural, economic or otherwise, seem to be the most disruptive to female education?” This effort in the context of having undertaken secondary research, including the study of statistical evidence, academic articles, government documents and previous fieldwork studies into girls’ education in Ethiopia, was to lay the foundations of our focus groups.

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I was drawn to the opportunity to work with Link on this project, not only because of their philosophy as an education charity but also because of the element of primary research involved. As a student of international human rights law, confined to a desk most of the time, my ears certainly pricked up by the sound of fieldwork. In hindsight, I am so glad I did not hesitate to jump on this opportunity.

The focus groups we conducted, made possible through the hard work of the Gondar staff, definitely fulfilled my student daydream of first hand research through engaging directly with individuals. I am so grateful to those involved in facilitating the interviews of girls, boys, their parents and teachers at Grargie School. The fourteen young girls who had volunteered to share their opinions with us impressed the whole team with their openness, honesty and maturity in answering questions which touched on sensitive topics such as their family situation, their hopes and ambitions for the future, the status of women in their community, marriage and menstruation.

Girls at play

These interviews added nuance to our understanding of the issues and I would go as far as to say that it completely altered my perceptions of some problems, such the burden of household chores. I am glad to say that the wonderful feeling I was left with at the end of this day was only slightly tainted by the nauseatingly bumpy bus ride home. In the end it was worth all the while. Their ideas and opinions feature prominently in the report.

The research process was briefly interrupted by a one week adventure spent travelling with my indispensible fellow researchers Ben and Taz, in a minibus through the North of Ethiopia, covering the Simien Mountains, Axum and Lalibela. Invigorated by our experiences from our travels, which included seeing wild Gelada monkeys in the Simien Mountains, sharing a bar with an unsuspecting cow, relieving ourselves in a variety of imaginative places, and we returned to Gondar with new energy to begin the write-up of our report.

Sunset over Gondar

This part of the process was to take three weeks, with ups and downs, endless disagreements and countless coffees and ‘Dashens’ (local beers) to see us through. Yet, August 15th, the day before my departure, the report had been completed: More than 60 pages written, a front page with the names Emily Gretland, Ben Robinson and Tasmia Baig on it (for better or for worse) and an individualised Link Ethiopia logo for girls’ education.

My two months working on this study has been an invaluable educational experience. This is all thanks to the excellent Gondar staff and my fellow volunteers who have generously shared all their knowledge and expertise to benefit the project. I feel relieved and happy that the study has been completed but I certainly feel sad to have left Ethiopia and my wonderful Gondar family.

I will miss you.”

Simiens Group

Posted in 2014, Ethiopian culture, Gender, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects, Volunteering |

Link Ethiopia presentation in North Gondar GO-NGO forum.

Written by Elsa

“Three NGO’s took part in this quarter’s North Gondar Government-Non Governmental Organisation Forum (GO-NGO Forum). They were World Vision, Link Ethiopia and IPAS. After everyone had presented their reports on Monday 18th August 2014, we visited three of the World vision projects in Dembia district of the Gondar region. These visits provided a valuable insight into the challenges and hardships faced in these communities, and some of the solutions being explored by World Vision.

Link Ethiopia presentation

Also visited was one of the Link Ethiopia’s flagship projects: St George’s School in Azezo. All the visitors expressed how impressed they were with the school and other Link Ethiopia projects which they had observed.”

Posted in 2014, Classrooms and furniture, Ethiopian news, Gender, Inclusive education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Projects, Science and technology, Sports, Uncategorized, Water and sanitation |

First Impressions of Gondar

Written by Emily Gretland

“Enjoying an overdue breakfast on the small plane from Addis to Gondar, I peer out the window as we descend and glimpse my first view of this beautiful country. The vibrant shades of green are arranged in checkerboard patterns across the land and provide a lush coating on the mountains. It’s so different to anything I have seen before, especially when compared to the dryer and barer landscape of home, Norway. I cannot help but snap some phone shots from the window. Riding in the taxi on my way to the Link Office, I am overwhelmed with first impressions. My eyes are darting from this to that, wondering whether to settle on the goats, cows, farmers herding their cattle, or concentrate on the road and my taxi driver’s excellent ability to dodge any donkey in our way. Arriving in Gondar feels like a big warm hug in contrast to Addis, which on a short one-day visit felt rather chaotic and intimidating.

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We are in Gondar centre now and the taxi rumbles along the quaintly bricked streets. The taxi stops and I am pleased to see that the Link Office, which is also our accommodation, is situated on a charming street full of little shops, houses and cafes. Children are playing in the road and women are preparing “wot” and “shero” outside their cafés.

The welcoming Link staff greet me and show me around the accommodation area. We step into a tranquil garden and I ask whether the space belongs to the offices. It turns out it belongs to the owners of Valentine café. Valentine is situated just adjacent to the Link office, which makes it feel like our very own private garden. Not surprisingly, it turns out I spend most of my free time in this idyllic café with the other volunteers and Link staff, having “shero” or “misr”, participating in a traditional coffee ceremony or simply enjoying a cold “dashen” (a local Gondar beer) after a long day of work. It has been fantastic getting stuck in here at the office. As an intern in the Link Ethiopia Gondar office, I am participating in a research project with the aim of identifying barriers to girls’ education in Ethiopia, and more specifically in the areas in which Link Ethiopia operates. A report, which shall be the end product of this collaborative effort, is aimed at assisting the identification and implementation of a new Link Project directed towards helping girls enter and stay in education.

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The work has so far been a joy and I feel lucky to be a part of it. Not yet halfway through my time here, I already know that one of my favourite memories has been developing and being part of conducting a focus group on girls education in a rural school about 30km outside of Gondar town. Collaborating with the Gondar staff we were able to ask questions and listen to the opinions of young female and male students as well as their parents and teachers on the topic of female education. These experiences and the expertise of the Gondar staff in the area of education, gives anyone who spends time in these offices, an opportunity to learn so much, not only about education in Ethiopia but also about Ethiopian culture and society. I am anxious to see what experiences the rest of my time here will bring and I know already that I will be sad to leave in a month’s time.”

Posted in 2014, Gender, Inclusive education, Volunteering |