GEC

Changing girls’ lives through the Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC)

Through the Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC), UKAID is supporting a million of the world’s poorest girls to improve their lives through education. CHADET, partnered with ChildHope UK, is implementing this challenge in the two biggest regions of Ethiopia: Amhara and Oromia. Since 2013 they have been identifying and supporting the most marginalised girls to access quality education at primary and secondary level, and to overcome common risk factors of early marriage, economic migration, street life and domestic labour.

Domestic labour

Families with insecure livelihoods are often forced to compromise the education of their daughters. Poor parents have little to spend on their daughter’s education, and spend even less if they do not value it. This lack of resources often results in girls being married at a very young age or are forced to do domestic work instead of attending school.

Early marriage

In many parts of Ethiopia it is still common for girls to be married young, well before 18 and before they can get a school education. In Oromia region, it is traditional for a girl’s ‘abduction’ by a suitor to be arranged, often with the knowledge of her parents. This is a particularly traumatic form of engagement for a girl, and one that signals the end of childhood, family life, and education.

CHADET targets girls at risk of early marriage, making sure they can first avoid it and then continue with their education. This can only be done with the support of a girl’s family and community, who are supported in both their livelihoods and in campaigns to increase their understanding of the value of girls’ education.

CHADET's work

Girls in many schools of Ethiopia, particularly rural ones, typically do not perform as well as boys. Domestic work mean girls cannot always attend school regularly, or do necessary study at home. By providing the costs of the girl’s education, emphasising its importance, and supporting a mother’s ability to earn money, it becomes much more likely that the girl can not only stay in school but succeed there.

In rural Ethiopia CHADET identifies girls who are at risk of dropping out of school for these reasons and supports them as well as their vulnerable parents, who are very often single mothers. By providing the costs of the girl’s education, increase the understanding of the value of girls’ education in the community, and supporting a mother’s ability to earn money, it becomes much more likely that the girl can not only stay in school but succeed there.

“Education is really changing girls around here. I have an older daughter who didn’t go to
school, and Banchi thinks for herself more than she does. Our relatives will say to Banchi,
‘When are you going to get married?’ and she’ll say to them, ‘It’s none of your business’.
She just wants to finish her education.
”- Alemwork, beneficiary mother of CHADET

Apart from financially supporting the girls’ access to education, CHADET supports and organizes other activities to enable long-term, lasting change in the community and beyond. For instance, teachers are supported to provide intensive academic tutorials as well as broader care and support for targeted girls, Girls Clubs are organized where girls can discuss their problems with each other. Moreover the beneficiaries receive Life Skills classes and vocational training to increase self-esteem and provide them with marketable skills. Saving groups and business loans are being organized for the mothers of the girls.


At the end of 2015, just over half way through its four year funding cycle, the impact of CHADET's GEC project can be told in numbers:

•    18,290 girls enrolled as GEC beneficiaries
•    48 schools supported with classroom and learning materials including reading corners
•    88 Letter Link boxes installed to support children to report abuse or risks
•    16,889 girls receiving scholastic materials
•    12,688 girls received academic tutorials
•    51 self help and savings groups set up for parents struggling to keep girls in school
•    797 parents supported through savings groups and business loans
•    300 Community Conversations held to promote the value of girls’ education (through 30 groups with more than 2100 members)
•    48 GEC committees established at community level

While these statistics paint an important picture of the impressive scale and breadth of the project, they may not be able to show the effect it has had on individuals. Below you will find three remarkable stories of three beneficiaries of the GEC programme.

About CHADET

CHADET is an indigenous non-governmental organization that works to improve the lives of marginalized children in Ethiopia

by providing access to quality education and improving livelihood opportunities.