Duration: August 15 – December 31, 2012
Equalizing educational opportunities in the regions affected by drought in southern Ethiopia
- Improving reading skills of the youngest children in primary schools (grade 1 to 4);
- Stopping children from skipping school due to the lack of drinking water;
- Improving professional skills of students graduating from primary schools, as well as providing them with skills needed in rearing animals and farming in the conditions of repeated drought.
Background and description of needs
Due to the deteriorating test results among pupils in the 2nd and 3rd grades of primary school, there is an urgent need to improve their reading skills. In the Oromia region, only 25% of pupils in the second grade understand what they read. This level is also very low in the third grade, where only 44% of students understand the text they read (compared to 87% who understand it by ear). Over 80% of children (in Oromia and other regions of Ethiopia) can not read fast enough. According to research carried out in many regions of Ethiopia, the ability to read is the basis for all future learning.
Reading of individual words poses another problem. Tests carried out by the PCPM’s local partner in 18 schools in the region indicate that 62% of 2nd grade students cannot even read one word per minute, 25.5% can read 1 to 29 words per minute, and 13% can read 30 to 59 words per minute. None of the tested 2nd grade pupils meet the educational requirement of being able to read a minimum of 60 words per minute. The results are not improving in the 3rd grade, where only 1.7% of pupils meet the requirement of being able to read a minimum of 60 words per minute. The report also states:
„insufficient ability to read and understand the text by children […] is also caused by the lack of books (other than course books) both in schools and at home, […] lack of time devoted to reading during classes and lack of support from children’s families in reading and doing homework.”
Another factor contributing to the low school performance of children is skipping school due to a lack of drinking water in schools, and the impossibility of having a meal during school hours. These problems have increased significantly during the current drought, which has caused great damage in agriculture and animal rearing, and thus has reduced food resources for many families.
The PCPM’s project will contribute to solving the problem of the lack of drinking water in schools through installation of water collection tanks. Such water, after filtration (filters provided during the project), is suitable for consumption by children.
The professional education component of the project results not only from the repeated droughts in this region of Ethiopia, which require a good understanding of the desertification processes and the impact of farming and animal rearing on the environment, but also from the fact that a large majority of children finish their education after completing the 8th grade. For this reason, the project will offer classes for pupils in grades 7 to 8 in the area of sustainable and ecological agricultural economy.
The main beneficiaries of the project will be over 5000 children attending 14 schools in 4 districts of southern Oromia. This number includes: 1400 children who will regularly use reading-rooms; 3500 children who will consume and use water collected in the tanks; 350 children who will attend classes in sustainable pasture and arable land management.
The PCPM’s project is a part of the international efforts to counteract the impacts of drought. The project will be carried out in 4 districts, located in two neighbouring Zones:
- Adola district – 3 schools (1201 pupils)
- Goro Dola district – 3 schools (1128 pupils)
- Moyale district – 5 schools (1810 pupils)
- Dillo district – 3 schools (861 pupils)
Both Moyale and Dillo districts border Kenya in the south, and similar to northern Kenya, are specifically affected by the current drought. Schools, where the project will be carried out, are located in rural regions. The activities aimed at improving reading skills (school reading-rooms) will be carried out in 14 schools in 4 districts: 8 eight-grade (grades 1 to 8) and 6 four-grade (grades 1 to 4) schools. The activities aimed at providing drinking water and professional education will be carried out in 8 eight-grade schools in 4 districts.
The grant, amounting to PLN 294,299, received under the Polish Aid program of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2012.