Ethiopia

A project offering weapons beyond education to defeat challenges in conflict setting

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“My daughter wouldn’t be able to attend school otherwise as we can’t afford buying her school supplies. The fact that we have been in conflict setting, the opportunity isn’t even merely creating access to education it rather has enabled my kid cope with the trauma from our journey of displacement. She was depressed, lonely and shy but not anymore after she has started attending school. She is active, happy and comfortable of being with anyone. I am forever grateful to UNICEF and imagine1day for the comprehensive intervention in providing necessary scholastic materials while creating access to quality education, with ‘My Home’ project” says Keise Shemba, Serawit Zemedkun – Accelerated Learning Program of imagine1day’s ‘My Home’ project student’s mother.

Imagine1day has been working on emergency projects since 2017. It has embarked a brand new pilot project called ‘My Home’ in partnership with UNICEF in August 2021 with around 2 million USD. The project is started in ten districts of six zones in Oromia region as well as four districts of one zone in SNNPR. It is unique in that it is integration of three pillars which are learning, child protection and life skill. An approach aimed at giving package solution of shielding the internally displaced people (IDP), host community and returnees - a home to providing response to unfortunate consequences of the conflict setting they are in. What is more, referral pathways are facilitated for additional services other than the three pillars so that the intervention is complete.

Health service, WASH, nutrition and Justice are among major services the beneficiaries are referred to. The fact that the facilitators are trained on the three pillars has elevated the intervention power for it eases Identification and response at all level. A strategy designed to empower the learning facilitators to be able to give both child protection and life skill services and the other way round.

After successful implementation of the pilot project for seven months it is stretched to Amhara, and Tigray regions as well.
Over 300,000 people are reached with the three pillars in the four regions so far.
Serawit is one of these beneficiaries - a nine years old returnee in SNNPR who had displaced from komola community following the ethnic conflict between Konso and Ale. Serawit and her six siblings were attending school by the time the conflict broke out.

Serawit says, “Our home was burning and my mom was crying while I came from school. It was so scary that I couldn’t even forget that day. We displaced to Lehayte – 15km far from our home. The journey was so tiresome and stressful. We had nothing to eat, nothing to wear and no neighbors to go to play with at Lehayte. I had quitted my education, which I had been attending for two months before the conflict occurred. Our life was so boring until we came back here.” Serawit and her family returned back to Komola after five months stay at Lehayte. Her parents who are recognized as models in sending their kids to school before the conflict didn’t waste a day to make the greatest out of the access to school opportunity that find its way to them after the conflict.

Keise says, “Some people were afraid of sending their children to school after the displacement thinking they may get lost if the conflict happens again. But me and my husband let all our kids get back to school at the earliest convenience. Serawit is among the students who have enrolled earlier. I want my children to have a better life than ours and I have learned from the monthly coffee conversation imagine1day facilitates that education is the only option to realize this dream of mine. I will keep to support Serawit and the rest of my kids to be great at their education until my last breath.”

The learning pillar, that has created an opportunity to schooling in conflict setting is aimed at creating access to education for beneficiaries under three age groups with classified respective modalities know as Accelerated school Readiness (ASR), Accelerated Learning Program(ALP) and Accelerated Primary Learning Program (APLP).

ASR is a two months modality developed for children in 6 to 7 age range. It enables the pupils to have basic literacy and numeracy skills that will make them ready for grade one. The program will also help the children cope with trauma on their journey of displacement for it is a play based and one way of socializing with their peers and the school community.

Over 70% of the ASR graduate children have joined grade one with referral pathway facilitated to nearby link schools. Aster Karatita is a seven years old ASR program graduate attending grade one in SNNPR.

“I am able to make friends again after seven months whenever I started the ASR class. I like coming to school more than anything. I enjoy learning via song, picture and puzzle. Playing and studying with my friends is what I like the most about my school though,” says Aster.

The second modality, ALP is an approach designed to give condensed learning of grade one and two in 10 months - five months each.
APLP is the other program of the learning pillar aimed at reaching children in 10 to 14 age range with accelerated learning of grade one, two and three in ten months. Three months each for grade one and two and four months for grade three.

Ensuring resilience while creating access to learning

Child protection concerns and gender based violence case management as well as psychosocial support are major components under child protection pillar ‘My home project’ that has intended to make sure the children who have got access in the conflict setting can cope with the trauma.

A pillar targeted at managing cases of separated, unaccompanied, child headed household, orphan vulnerable children and children with disability. Giving psychosocial support and mental health psychosocial support considerate to the level of the cases both for the children with child protection concern and gender based violence is other red-hot part of the intervention.
The last but not the least pillar of ‘My Home’ project is Life skill. an approach intended to make the intervention sustainable – the art of ensuring the IDPs, returnees and host community’s selfreliance. The pillar is implemented in two levels as foundational or basic and employability skill training.

Boosting confidence, decision making ability, communication skill, empathy, resilience and problem solving power are major skills targets are trained on with foundational life skill. It helps trainees cope with their past experiences and move on to new life.

The employability skill training is given on vision and goal setting as well as need based local means of incomes considerate to local knowledge. Bee keeping, animal husbandry, soap production, carpentry and handicraft are some of the employability skills trainings are given on. 15,675 people are reached with foundational life skill training and 7,587 people are reached with employability life skill training so far.

“The beekeeping group under life skill component of ‘My Home’ project isn’t just an opportunity to team up with a group of people, it is a hope to better life for me and my family,” says Mohammed Hassen, a father of five, employability life skill trainee in Kubura site, East Bale zone, Oromia region.