Providing tools to shift mindsets and promote gender equality


Teacher in a classroom

Alemitu has always been committed to teaching, but she admits she was following an outdated model that failed to provide the extra help her female students needed.

A married mother of two, Alemitu, 35, has a degree in Civics Education from Bahir Dar University and currently works as a civics teacher at Menge Secondary School in the Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia.

Like many of her colleagues, Alemitu quickly placed students into three categories ― below average, average, and excellent. She acknowledges this approach rarely focused on helping girls overcome barriers to improve their education.

Wanting to make a bigger difference in her students’ lives, Alemitu joined Cuso International’s U-GIRLS 2 program ― an initiative that began in 2019 and provides young girls and women with resources, trainings, and a financial stipend so they can focus on their studies. The program also includes gender sensitivity training for families and communities, including educators like Alemitu.

Through the trainings, Alemitu learned how to approach students’ problems from a positive perspective. She learned the model of putting students in the three general categories was generally ineffective, and that she needed to place added focus on her female students.

Alemitu now better understands how to recognize and overcome students’ challenges, and has learned how to tailor her teaching techniques to address the needs of each student.

“Before the training, I had never thought about helping the girls,” says Alemitu. “Now, I know how to help them with their challenges at school and at home. I give them more opportunities to participate in class. I tell them that if they attend their classes, they can reach a better place in life.

“There is a low motivation to attend school in this neighbourhood,” adds Alemitu. “The attitude towards education is negative. The support given to students from Cuso International and the U-GIRLS 2 program is helping to change this negative attitude. Since the female students have received their tutorial classes, their performance is improving, which will increase their enthusiasm to continue to learn more.”

Extending well beyond Alemitu’s class, the U-GIRLS 2 program has helped 400 girls and women over the past year in the Benishangul Gumuz region. Cuso International has partnered with the Benishangul Gumuz Regional Education Bureau and five secondary schools, along with the Institute of International Education.

For Alemitu, U-GIRLS 2 has given her both new tools and a new mindset to help female students succeed, while changing attitudes and promoting gender equality in her community. She’s not only teaching her female students important subjects – she is teaching them to believe in themselves and that anything is possible.

Help more women like Alemitu help young girls succeed. Donate today.