Going Beyond Formal Access to Education
In 2013, in the Sudanese refugee camps of Eastern Chad, only 58% of young women who participated in the end of primary school exam were admitted; at the secondary level, only 9% of the young women registered were admitted. These low pass rates reflect the economic, social and cultural obstacles these young women face in the camps. Early marriage, teenage pregnancies as well as household responsibilities and domestic workloads significantly reduce women’s participation at school.
At RET, we are very preoccupied by this situation. Our approach consists of working with the community to identify relevant strategies to assist these young female students.
The 8th November 2013, RET, in collaboration with the Girls’ Committee (a structure put in place in all RET schools, providing a forum for young female students to meet, discuss and lead on activities targeting girl’s education), organised a workshop in Treguine refugee camp. Its goal was to raise awareness on the importance of girl’s education amongst the community. With the participation of 200 young women (students and non-students), the school Director as well as the President of the parent’s association, the workshop addressed issues such as the advantages of education for women, strategies for accelerated access to education for girls as well as strategies for increased retention of women in school.
RET presented two key success case studies to the community, to serve as inspiration and role models to these young women. The first of these case studies is Khadidja Mahamat Adam, a young woman who arrived in Farchana refugee camp in 2004. She completed her secondary education studies through RET’s education programme, obtaining her Sudanese Baccalaureate. In 2012, Khadidja was selected to receive a scholarship as part of RET’s Higher Education Scholarship programme and is now currently pursuing her second year of nursing studies at University in N’Djamena. The second of these role models, Amouna Issakh Yakhoub, was present during this workshop. Amouna, completed her secondary school with RET, obtaining both her Secondary Education through Distance Learning, as well as her Sudanese Baccaluareate. Since obtaining her diplomas, Amouna has dedicated her time to teaching the youth of her community at RET’s secondary school and playing a key role in the advocacy for girl’s education in Treguine.
At the end of this workshop, the Girls’ Committee, the school Director and the President of the parent’s association decided to increase community sensitisations on the importance of girl’s education, increase community support to teenage mothers and lead awareness raising campaigns on the detrimental impacts of early marriages.
RET will continue with the implementation of such workshops through all its zones of intervention in Chad in a bid to increase young women’s access to education, their retention as well as their pass rates. Little by little a real difference will be made.