HER Parent Group Meetings Show Changes in Parental Attitudes for Girls Education

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.

To gain additional parental support for ongoing education of the HER girls, the IIE Addis office recently held two HER parent meetings, one at each of the high schools.

These meetings are the first in a series that we will hold with the parents, enabling them to meet as a group to discuss their children and their education. Our first meeting was a great success with over 50 percent of the parents in attendance. They discussed the HER program and its effect on their daughters and families. In particular the parents were concerned about the following:

Eye Care – many of the girls needed eye glasses and medical attention, and many of them were receiving this care for the first time. The parents wanted to know more about how they could ensure that their girls were receiving the medical support they needed. The conversation also focused on the need for healthy eating habits and proper sanitation. Many of the parent’s commented that they were making the link between these factors and their girls succeeding in school for the first time.

Study Time – many of the girls, prior to HER, did not have enough study time to succeed in school as they continually had to do household chores. The parents agreed that they needed to provide more space and time for school studies and would take on more of the chores or shift them to some of the younger siblings.

Reproductive Health – all of the girls will be taking a summer reproductive health training program. We discussed the content of the training and the need for parents to reinforce healthy habits at home. All agreed, and they were excited that the girls would then be able to share what they are learning about reproductive health with their siblings and other girls in the surrounding community.

Finally, the HER girls will be taking a financial literacy and budgeting workshop later this year. We have invited the girl’s mothers to attend this training and all are excited about the opportunity to learn more about financial planning and budgeting.

IIE applauds the HER parents’ participation and looks forward to an ongoing series of meetings focused on the importance of completing high school and looking towards university.

The HER program provides 100 girls entering the 11th grade with scholarship support combined with innovative leadership and life skills training to help them complete their secondary education and equip them with the tools needed to continue on to university. The program recently awarded its second round of 100 HER scholarships to 11th grade girls from Fitawrari and Addis Ketema schools.