Pre-school coverage in Ethiopia is one of the lowest in the world. In particular, most rural children join primary Grade 1 with few or none of the core skills they will need to succeed there. Several studies confirm that the absence of pre-schooling has an impact on the later learning of children. Given that most dropouts in Ethiopia (as in much of Africa) occur in the first year, the basic concepts and confidence offered by pre-school education provide children an undeniable advantage. To address this problem and prevent more out-of-school children in the future, Geneva Global adopted UNICEF’s Child-to-Child program (C2C).
The C2C component aims to help children from 4 to 6 years old get ready for school. Locating C2C groups in link schools, the program trains and supports primary school teachers to, in turn, train and work with students from Grades 6, 7, and 8 who act as young facilitators for the C2C learners. These young facilitators go to their villages to recruit around five 4- to 6-year-old children from their neighborhoods, who can include their own siblings. Each young facilitator sets a daily after-school schedule during which s/he engages her/his young charges in fun activities to start learning the letters, numbers, and other skills that will serve them upon entering the Grade 1 classroom.
Success is evident in the number of C2C children who enter the formal Grade 1 class and succeed there as well as in their subsequent school years.