Ethiopia is committed to education, but lack of infrastructure and resources as well as outdated ideas about education for girls have resulted in lower education rates compared to other countries. The educational system in Ethiopia starts with eight years of primary school, followed by secondary school. High school graduates can attend post-secondary education, which, like secondary education, is delivered in English. For most youth, access to secondary school or technical training, if available at all, is likely more than 50 kilometers away. This means they must pay for accommodation and upkeep, making it impossible for parents who are struggling to survive economically. The harsh truth is that only boys and girls in urban areas have higher chances of attaining an educational degree. One reason is that poor people in rural areas prioritize working on casual jobs over studying since their ultimate goal is survival.
One of the biggest obstacles to acquiring education is access to clean water. This specifically affects Ethiopian girls in rural areas, as girls are primarily responsible for collecting water. They often need to spend a larger part of their waking hours, sometimes up to 6 hours a day, walking long distances to collect the water necessary for their own and their family’s survival. This, combined with gender inequality and the fact that the majority of household or domestic chores fall into the hands of mothers and their female children, has resulted in a lower literacy rate for women, with only around 47% of women aged between 15 and 24 capable of reading and writing.
Another obstacle to acquiring education in Ethiopia is the distance from home to school. Many children need to walk more than 3 hours to reach school. This is not possible for a lot of children, especially those who are suffering from illnesses or malnutrition, have a disability, or have household chores that they need to attend to every day before going to school. The children, especially females, are also prone to facing violence during the long journey to school and back home.
Lack of educational facilities is another obstacle. Classrooms may be overcrowded or at risk of falling apart. Sometimes there are no classrooms in a school and children have to study outside. The government is working on this problem but it needs help from organizations like ours. If we all work together, we can help ensure that our children and youth have access to educational opportunities that will allow them to contribute economically to their families, communities, and country, breaking the cycle of destitution once and for all. With the help of the program, many Ethiopians especially those in rural areas have been able to revive their supply of groundwater, which is enough to help their communities develop better public works programs and livelihood-based projects. These include improved management of livestock, better land reclamation, and small-scale irrigation solutions both for generating income and producing food. The result is a significant increase in cultivable land in rural areas, which has improved livelihood and promoted higher crop yields.