The Girls Gotta Run Foundation has set up a Savings and Entrepreneurship Group for the mothers of the GGRF athletic scholars in Bekoji, Ethiopia. And Good for Girls is so proud to have a hand in supporting this awesome initiative!
In 2015, GGRF started an Athletic Scholarship program for 20 girls in Grades 5-8. This program is an expansion of the successful pilot being implemented in Sodo. The program will take place over 3 years, and will eventually involve 60 girls whose scholarships allow them to stay in school, participate on a running team and complete a life skills and leadership curriculum, which includes entrepreneurship and financial literacy. The median marriage age in Bekoji is 15, so adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to being taken out of school and married off. The scholarships help remove financial pressures on families and encourage more positive attitudes towards girls’ education and delayed marriage. The girls complete the program after 3 years armed with skills and knowledge to better tackle challenges they may face as they grow into adults.
The newly set up Savings and Entrepreneurship Group for the mothers of the athletic scholars is meant to complement the program and also ensure a holistic, inclusive, and community-wide approach to tackling some of the broader cultural barriers and gender discrimination faced by women and girls in Ethiopia. Since many women cannot discuss or participate in financial decisions in their families, this group offers a safe space for such discussions, and a means of learning how to start and grow small businesses. The hope is that both the girls and their mothers benefit together from new knowledge and skills that foster resilience and give them a greater voice in their families’ financial futures, and that in turn, this will help change cultural attitudes towards early marriage and girls’ education.