Education 4 Change
Statement of Purpose: To enhance the quality of education for underprivileged communities in the Somali Region and surrounding areas within Ethiopia.
A Brief History
Education 4 Change is a non-profit, grassroots organization that is based in Waterloo, Ontario. We work in partnership with the communities in the Somali Region of Ethiopia to improve their education, increase literacy and promote gender equality. Education 4 Change is an incorporated organization and a registered charity in Canada and we are a registered NGO in Ethiopia.
The Somali Region of Ethiopia was historically under-serviced by the government due to ongoing land disputes in the area. In recent years, more schools have been built in the area but they are often run by unqualified teachers, they are too small for the student population and they lack the necessary resources to educate their students properly. There are also not enough high schools - out of 4000 schools in the Somali Region, only 196 are high schools. That means that students wanting to get an education above grade 8 must leave their villages and travel to another community, sometimes several hours away. Recent statistics show that out of the 196 high schools, only 21 have a library, only 10 have a science lab and only 8 have a working computer lab.
Another issue in this area is the low number of girls that are attending school and the even lower number that are successful at school. Many girls are not given the opportunity to go to school because they have to help out at home with siblings and household responsibilities. Other girls who do get the chance to go to school are forced to drop out due to childhood marriages or they are not successful because their duties at home do not leave them time for school work. Another obstacle is the fact that many schools do not have a girls bathroom. So if girls do choose to go to school they must go the entire day without using the bathroom.
We are working with the communities and schools to create sustainable, locally managed education programs that meet their children's needs. Our projects include a permanent library, a mobile resource teacher, literacy classes, teacher training sessions, and making improvements to the infrastructure of local schools, such as building girl's bathrooms.
Over 90% of Donations
Education 4 Change is run from Canada by volunteers only. None of our Board members or other volunteers are paid any salary and when our volunteers travel to Ethiopia, they pay for the majority of the trip themselves. We use a small portion from each donation to cover our essential office expenses and we make an effort to keep these expenses as low as possible. Currently, over 90% of each donation goes directly to our projects. This largely covers the salaries of our staff in Ethiopia - a coordinator, an accountant, six teachers and two teacher-librarians, but also goes towards school supplies, resources for the library and maintenance of our mobile teacher's donkey cart.
Education 4 Change is a partnership. We believe that the people who best know what they need are the people living in that community. That is why we take the time to talk to the people in the local villages and find out how they want to improve their communities and what obstacles are in their way. We know that if we want our organization to be successful, the local people must be directly invested in the outcomes. We try to use as many local resources and local employees as we can while we complete our projects.
We currently support 5 villages with our mobile resource teacher and 6 villages with literacy classes. We also built, stocked and staff a permanent library that is located in the heart of the Kelafo District. The villages we support are all currently in the Kelafo district but we have plans to expand into other areas of the Somali Region over the next year. We want to hire mobile resource teachers and literacy teachers in as many villages as possible and build more permanent libraries.
We also have plans to start some new projects over the next year. We are organizing a Teachers Training Institute in July 2020 to provide local teachers with training and professional development. We are working on purchasing portable lab kits for the high school science labs and providing extra training to the high school science teachers. We are also interested in building more girls bathrooms, building water wells at the local schools and constructing spaces at each school where the teachers can work, plan and meet with each other to collaborate.
We firmly believe that education is the key to breaking the poverty cycle. With your financial support, Education 4 Change will provide a better future for the families in the Somali Region. We are giving these communities the resources they need and the hope of a better future.