Young Ethiopian women are leading the way for the next generation of girls and overcoming harmful traditional practices and discrimination.
Why we care: Young women entering university are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure and gender-based violence, including rape.
How we're solving this: Pathfinder works in collaboration with 10 university campuses to provide accessible information on sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence, and reproductive health.
“I never dreamed that I could be part of the university as a student…I was thinking that the only challenge that I would face in university will be studying very hard, but I noticed that there are different problems from what I had before. Every step of my walk has difficulties - the peer pressure, shortage of supplies, clothes, shoes, etc. I really don’t know how to continue my education.” – Female university student
Young Ethiopian women are leading the way for the next generation of girls in Ethiopia—they are working hard to be able to attend university, seek employment, create opportunities for themselves and their families, and are advocating for changes in their communities. However, all of this is not without challenges.
Young women entering the public university system are often unprepared for the social and financial challenges associated with their continued education. Students are regularly assigned to universities that are far from their families and support systems, placing additional financial, cultural, and linguistic barriers on these young women.
Like any university student, these young women are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure and gender-based violence, including rape, and without youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services available to them, they drop out in large numbers. Many current students report that they don’t feel safe on campus and that services for victims of sexual and/or verbal harassment are inaccessible.
Additionally, many young women and their families struggle to pay for books, school supplies, photocopying, clothing, and shoes. In extreme cases, some young women resort to sex in exchange for money or gifts in order to pay for these basic supplies. Young women also report not attending class during their menstrual cycle because they cannot afford personal hygiene products. As a result of all of these factors, academic performance declines.
But you can help change that.
By contributing to Pathfinder International’s project, you can help young women gain access to the sexual and reproductive health counseling and services they need to succeed.
We work in collaboration with university student centers, gender offices, and the student clinics at 10 university campuses across Ethiopia to provide technical training on how to provide accessible information on sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence, and reproductive health. With your support, Pathfinder will:
- Provide appropriate guidance and counseling services and educational support for 500 female students to help them succeed in their educational achievement.
- Provide a monthly stipend for basic supplies (school supplies, shoes, clothing, etc.) to 115 freshman and sophomore female students in the Mekele, Adama, Hawassa, Dilla, Medawelebu, and Jigjiga universities.
- Provide subsidized sanitary napkins for 115 young women.
- Build the capacity of 500 female students from the target universities to become peer educators, mentors, and advocates for access to educational opportunities and gender equity on campus.
The students we are supporting have succeeded in so many ways: they have worked hard and earned a place at university. But they need continued social and economic support and health information and services to ensure that they finish university and have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.