GIRLS GOTTA RUN – SODO ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
(Girls from the GGRF Sodo Athletic Scholarship Program. Photo: GGRF)
Good for Girls partners with the Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF) to support their athletic scholarship program in Sodo, Ethiopia. The pilot initiative, which launched in the spring of 2014, started with a group of 15 secondary school girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who attend the Abba Pascal School for Girls.
The girls participate in a running team and a life skills programme (developed in collaboration with the Center for Creative Leadership Africa). Each girl receives a full year-long scholarship to alleviate financial constraints that may force her to drop out of school. The scholarships take care of daily meals, uniforms, books and tutoring, access to school clubs/library, showers and hygiene supplies, and space to wash clothes on the weekend. Scholarships also include healthcare for the girls and their mothers, running gear, fees and transport to races during the year, and oversight by a coach and running mentor.
Athletics as a national sport plays an important role and is a source of pride in Ethiopian society. Using running as an entry-point to reach out to adolescent girls is an innovative way of engaging with girls, their families and the wider community to challenge harmful gender stereotypes and practices such as early marriage.