“I use literature to create awareness among students on gender equity,” says Meron, as she folds up a piece of paper that had poems she wrote on role of women in the society. Her Maths teacher, Gizachew, who is also the leader of the mini media club stood besides her guiding Meron in her presentation. She reads works of literature at the mini media of her school during school breaks and when students line up before and after school hours everyday.
Meron, didn’t see the few minutes she has between school hours lightly, but used them wisely to make an impact on her school peers in creating awareness on gender issues. Meron Shegene, 17, is a 12-grade student at Chagni Secondary School. Meron is one of the students that took part in the Life Skill training for female students given by UNESCO- HNA.
Following the life skill training, Meron has become participatory not only in her class but also in various clubs. Meron aspires to grow up to be a journalist and make a greater impact in her country by addressing issues of gender discrimination in Ethiopia. “Our country can develop only through the contribution of both women and men.,” she says.
Eden Muket, 17, is a friend of Meron, who also took part in the life skill training. “Because of the training I am now more aware about gender equality, I have become more confident and start to believe that I can achieve my big dreams,” says Eden.
She adds that, “Before the training, I used to just go to school with no goal in mind; but now I have become more intentional about my life goals, ” she says.
Eden and Meron are both members of the mini media, humanitarian, and blood bank club.
Gizachew Mebrate, 33, is Maths teacher and a leader of the mini media club at Chagni Secondary School who took part in GRP (Gender Responsive Pedagogy) and GRA (Gender Responsive Assessment) training and on Gender Audit training both organized by UNESCO-HNA.
Gizachew says that he didn’t have awareness about gender responsive pedagogy before the training. He says that he learned how to involve both adolescent girls and male students equally in classrooms and various club activities after the training. He started with having girl members in the club like Meron and Eden and revises the mini media messages to include topics on gender equity.
According to Wanaw Aysheshim, director of Chagni Secondary School 24 male and 23 female teachers were trained in GRP in 2016/17, and 19 male and 5 female non-teaching staff and 356 students were trained in 2017/18. The trained teachers have also given the training to the remaining 158 teachers in the school, and students from 9-12 grade. In partnership with the project teachers and club leaders in charge of linking the school curriculum with the activities of the club have received training on GRP. Thus, teachers like Gizachew have learned to incorporate gender responsive pedagogy and learned how to strengthen girls’ engagement through clubs.
Chagni Secondary School is one of the target schools for UNESCO-Hainan Foundation Funds-in-Trust Project on “Enhancing the Quality and Relevance of Education for Adolescent Girls in Ethiopia.” Established in 1970, the school currently has 1793 female and 3589 male students. Following the intervention of UNESCO-HNA project in Chagni, the number of students who passed the 12th grade national exam has increased from 67% in 2016/17 to 83% in 2017/18. According to Wanaw, and
The UNESCO-HNA projects aims at contributing to ensuring girls’ right to quality and relevant education whereby all girls’ access, stay, transition and achieve education for better lives/livelihoods.