Over the past two years I have had the privilege of working on the pilot evaluation of the Higher Education Readiness Program (HER), an IIE initiative that provides secondary school pathways to underprivileged girls in Ethiopia. HER girls continuously inspired me with their hard work and determination to achieve their dreams. Here are some examples:
Mihret is from a semi-rural area of Ethiopia where she passed her 10th and 12th grade national exams successfully. She is now studying at Adama University, pursuing her dream to be a doctor. In her own words: “In 7 years’ time, I will be a doctor and work in a hospital and save lives. I also plan to go abroad for a graduate degree and visit my country to help orphan children.” Mihret is one of a 100 girls in Ethiopia that IIE is helping stay on a pathway to success through the Higher Education Readiness (HER) program. HER is just one example of the Institute’s targeted approach to increasing female access to education and developing leadership skills. Last year alone, IIE-managed programs directly impacted the lives of 20,000 women and girls all over the world.
There is a lot going on in New Hampshire these days.
The University of New Hampshire joined us as a Generation Study Abroad partner, aiming to increase from about 750 students currently studying abroad to 1,500. This is part of the UNH Global 2020 strategy aiming to make international learning and experience central to education.
This past September IIE joined the Clinton Foundation and the Brookings Institution’s Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls’ Education (Girls CHARGE). Girls CHARGE is a collaboration of over 50 companies, civil society organizations, multilaterals and governments all committed to improving learning and leadership opportunities for young women and girls globally. IIE and our Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives are excited to be a part of such a powerful collective voice in advancing global action on women and girls education. Girls CHARGE partners have committed over $800 million to reach more than 15 million girls by 2019. IIE’s initial commitment is centered around expanding our HER program to help university become a reality for more than 60 girls in Ethiopia. Three of the HER girls received the highest university entrance exam results at their respective schools!
There were no fancy accessories, no expensive props, and no high expectations. The simple, honest exhibitions of dance, song, testimonials, and speeches could only witness joy, pleasure, pride, and a deep desire to continue to excel.
Two hundred girls in the Addis Ketema and Fitawrari high schools have now been awarded HER! An important component of the Higher Education Readiness (HER) program is communication and involvement of the parents, because as we know, if they are not supportive, the likelihood of the girls staying in school is minimal.
How do you engage secondary school students in a dialogue around the world?
We asked ourselves this question a year ago, and our search for the answer has led to an exciting new virtual exchange initiative called My Town. The initiative engages thousands students from around the world in interactive, competitive projects, that encourage students to explore aspects of their own towns and cities while learning about towns and cities of their peers.
Today, women make up 12 percent of all computer science grads. Just three decades ago, they represented 37 percent. They’re half the workforce, but hold only a quarter of technical or computing jobs.
Every year in March, IIE celebrates International Women's Day by sharing about the bright young participants of IIE's Center for Women's Leadership Initiatives.