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Project information

A secondary education for girls in Ethiopia

Quality secondary education equips girls with the confidence and skills to escape the poverty cycle. This is the next crucial phase of a project to transform access to secondary school in desperately poor districts of Ethiopia and support 63,000 girls to gain literacy, numeracy and lifeskills.

April 2019 - March 2020

Charity information: Link Community Development International

Link Community Development International logo
  • Need


    Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Access to quality education is low, with just 11% of girls from rural areas going to secondary school. Most schools are in towns, with overcrowded classes, sparse resources and substandard teaching. Girls face many barriers, from domestic burdens to inadequate sanitary protection, harrasment, violence and early marriage. Even when they can access school, many feel unsupported and drop out without livelihood and life skills.


    We will work with communities, schools and government to address the critical obstacles girls face to access and complete their education, and develop sustainable new secondary schools in deep rural areas of need. We’ll support girls through each stage of their learning to develop literacy and numeracy, core subjects knowledge and lifeskills, using proven interventions such as intensive teacher training, tutorials, guidance and essential support packs such as sanitary wear and textbooks.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Directly support 63,000 marginalised girls become 'ready to learn' in primary and secondary schools


    » Support high-quality literacy, numeracy, financial literacy, guidance, counselling and social and emotional learning programmes in schools.
    » Provide one year of essential supplies to girls in primary schools to aid transition to secondary, e.g. bursaries, books, underwear and sanitarywear
    » Intensive training and mentoring for teachers in gender-friendly teaching, core subjects, classroom management and language competency.
    » Help school set up and sustain Girls’ Education Advisory Committees and Girls' Clubs, where girls learn more about HIV/AIDS, violence & sexual health

    What success will look like

    Significant improvement in girls' foundational and higher-order literacy, numeracy, core subject knowledge; transition to the next stage of their education; lower drop-out.

    Aim 2

    Increase access to secondary education in Wolaita.


    » Construct three further low-cost secondary schools in deep rural areas of need in Wolaita, following construction of first school in 2018.

    What success will look like

    Three new secondary schools in areas of need within Wolaita Zone, complete with separate sanitation for girls.

    Aim 3

    Raise broad community awareness across Wolaita of the value of quality education for girls.


    » Encourage support of girls through Mothers’ Groups, Fathers’ Groups, Gender Clubs and ‘Good Brother’ awards to champion boys who support girls.
    » Support schools to deliver School Performance Review through the year, wherein communities and parents monitor performance and guide improvements.
    » Local radio, billboard and TV coverage to promote girls’ rights and challenged entrenched attitudes and norms.

    What success will look like

    145 communities participate with school improvement processes and unite with schools to tackle issues such as domestic roles, learning inequalities and HIV/AIDS.

    Aim 4

    Improve leadership and build capacity for girls' learning with schools and government.


    » Training for school leaders in sustainable leadership strategies to improve girls' education.
    » Train schools and district staff in gender equality, gender action planning and prevention of violence in schools.
    » Specialist training for school staff working with girls in self-esteem, growth and changes, to support their critical transition years.

    What success will look like

    Support for girls' learning is embedded in local education systems, with capacity increased by 60% and sustained after project closure.

    Aim 5

    Sustainably motivate and upskill teachers in all project primary and secondary schools.


    » Intensive training and mentoring for teachers in Gender-Responsive Pedagogy
    » Training for tutors in core subjects, classroom management and teaching methodology
    » English language competency training for teachers
    » Coaching and mentoring for teachers by trained education mentors.

    What success will look like

    Improved performance of learners in schools; lower drop-out; improved English skills in teachers.

  • Impact


    This project will directly benefit 63,571 marginalised girls, and indirectly benefit 230,000 more children in 145 improved schools. Girls will transition to secondary school and gain a quality education; schools will flourish from effective teaching, leadership and gender equality; and communities and authorities will become experienced in school improvement. We’ll measure change at four stages, using reading/maths assessments and a sustainability tool, and compare against a control group.


    Political unrest: Wolaita Zone in SNNPRS is not currently affected by recent political unrest in Oromia and Amhara but travel to and from the project site and Hawassa/Addis Ababa via the road networks could be affected if further unrest occurs; Drought - Wolaita was not hugely affected by Ethiopia's last drought but the situation could worsen based on climatic conditions; Construction delays - we will use a committee of experts and thorough due diligence to minimise issues.


    We will share an annual report on our project progress with all major donors, and we can also send donors quarterly newsletter updates on our wider work across Africa, upon request.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £10,000 Learning resources for school Classroom and laboratory equipment, apparatus, books, computers, administrative supplies
      £20,000 Construction contribution Support towards cost of construction one new school in rural area of need
      £10,000 Support to local project team Link International staff costs to support and build capacity in Ethiopia project team
  • Background


    Our project will be based in Wolaita Zone in the Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples’ Regional State (SNNPRS) in Ethiopia, 330km southwest of Addis Ababa. This is an area of severe poverty, battling high rates of HIV/AIDS, high population density, vast rural areas with poor roads and alarmingly low access to quality education.


    63,571 marginalised girls living in poverty will directly benefit, as well as 230,688 children indirectly, who will attend 145 improved schools. Girls will receive better, more equitable learning support, guidance, counselling, lifeskills and sanitation in school, and attend to completion, gaining literacy, numeracy, self-esteem and the skills to make their own choices in life. More girls will marry later and develop livelihoods, reducing population growth and supporting the economy.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Since 1995 we have worked in 3,000 schools and improved the lives of 2 million children through innovative school improvement models. This project follows a highly successful four-year girls’ primary education project in Wolaita Zone, where we addressed the complex challenges facing girls in primary school. It improved girls’ literacy by 200%, numeracy by 300% and retention by 30%. This impact was achieved at low cost, just £15 per girl per year, using a sustainable, community-led model.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sandra Graham

    Sandra leads project delivery in Ethiopia, and is an international development specialist with 15 years of overseas experience.

    Dr Samantha Ross

    Samantha will provide crucial support with programme implementation, strategy and reporting.

    Caroline McKay

    Caroline will manage communications and fundraising for the project.


Will fund "basic needs" (school uniform, registration fees, stationary materials) for one girl

They say if you give a man a fish, you feed him for one day. If you teach a man to fish you give him food for life, just like the project changed our lives forever. It brings change for a lifetime. They have given what cannot be lost, no one can take it away from us.

Female primary school teacher, Wolaita Zone, Ethiopia, speaking of the impact of our former girls' primary education project in Wolaita.