In mid-January of 2023, Geneva Global Ethiopia (GGE) hosted a joint delegation of officials from the government of Japan and representatives from UNICEF to Speed School classes funded by ECW. The delegation visited Jajaba primary school in the Somali region of Ethiopia to observe the impact of funding, especially as ECW is transitioning its funding from an initial seed period to Multi-Year Resilience Programming (MYRP).
The delegation first heard from the village chief and school director about the major accomplishments made possible through ECW funding. To the school building itself, critical improvements included the construction of eight new classrooms to accommodate hundreds of students affected by conflict as well as the rehabilitation of basic facilities such as latrines and water points. Beyond improvements to infrastructure, the Speed School approach has equipped the school to better address gender equity and inclusion of children with disabilities. Thanks to these developments and others, the school has been able to reach more students and improve their educational outcomes.
The delegation then visited a Speed School classroom to observe firsthand the benefits of the Speed School approach. Joining in on a lesson, the visitors witnessed Speed School’s activity-based pedagogy which provides a condensed curriculum of three academic years in one year for out-of-school children. Engaging in the activities, the visitors heard from students themselves about the merits of the program. One 13-yeard-old girl shared how, by enrolling in Speed School, she was able to convince her parents of the merits of an education and escape early marriage. Following the classroom visit, representatives from the community shared with the visitors how they support the students’ education and contribute their fair share to school infrastructure projects.
After this, the delegation conversed with students from the Girls Club in the gender peer support room. The students explained how the room functions as a space for female students and teachers to discuss gender related issues. Additionally, the room serves as a safe place to attend to feminine hygiene care and to rest or lay down. The delegation was impressed with the way the room is set up for this purpose and spent quite a while conversing with the students. To conclude the visit, the delegation joined the students for a school meal, learning about the importance of the feeding program to school attendance and retention. The delegation also learned about how ECW funding made possible the provision of one more meal for students who stayed longer than the regular learning day.
GGE was glad to host the delegation and share the many great accomplishments made possible through ECW funding. The visitors were impressed with the results and shared encouraging comments. Moving forward with MYRP funding from ECW, GGE is excited to improve the capacity and reach of the Speed School program to support more students impacted by disasters and conflict in rejoining formal schooling.