Our 2021 Update
Gendit is a small village 35km outside of Gondar in rural Amhara. When Together We Learn first began working with Gendit school, it consisted of one mud and wood classroom with a blackboard but no desks or chairs. In Ethiopia, the government is committed to universal primary education and works with communities who are able to fund a classroom to provide a salaried teacher. The Gendit community had worked together to build its own classroom but it was now in severe need of repair. They wanted the help of Together We Learn to transform their classroom into a true primary school.
Background of the Project
Together We Learn has worked with Gendit over the last seven years, helping the school to build four new classrooms. Our plans accelerated when we were partnered by Sue Eland and Building Futures Ethiopia in 2018. Sue’s vision was united with that of parents in Gendit – to build a new school that would improve life chances for children living in poverty. Working with the school and the local community, we outlined a plan to expand the school to cater for kindergarten up to grade 6. As well as new classrooms, the project will provide toilets, water taps and library and staff facilities. Beyond these facilities, we wanted Gendit to become a model school for the district. To that end, the project also includes a teacher training component, helping teachers deliver effective lessons for students who often have little support at home.
2018-19 saw the first year of our plan completed, with four concrete classrooms and a new toilet block ready for students at the beginning of the new school year. The school was able to expand to grade four, allowing grade three students to progress at their local school. The school also provided a pre-school class for the first time, facilitating early childhood development to increase the chances younger children will stay the course in school.
2019-20 saw us move into phase two of our plans – that was until the Covid-19 pandemic struck and schools in Ethiopia were shut down in March 2020! The construction work was disrupted by the national lockdown measures and by the lack of access during the rainy season over the summer.
We resumed work as soon as possible in September 2020 and we relaunched our teacher training, building on what had been started the previous year. In 2021, we refurbished four classrooms, making structural repairs and replacing the furniture. Alongside this, we installed a new water station near the toilet block, providing hand washing facilities and clean drinking water for students. We also completed construction of a fence around the school compound which will safeguard school buildings and enable the school to run income-generating farming activities on the grounds to support school costs.
We worked closely with the teachers and the director at the school, providing training on teaching English with phonics, lesson planning, and creating teaching aids. This years’ achievements were celebrated in October 2021, the start of the next academic year, with a community celebration including rewards for teachers and students, the official opening of the new facilities, and the welcome of the school’s first ever grade 5 class.
The Year in Numbers
227 students were enrolled at Gendit School
87% of children progressed to the next year of education
49% of pupils achieved above ‘good’ or above in their end of year exams
The number of girls achieving ‘good’ or above went up by 104% creating gender parity
At the community meeting, ambitions were also set for the year ahead, 2021-22, when we will build a new block to provide a library, another classroom and an office for the director. We will also begin our new teacher training framework with targeted training and mentoring to support the teachers at the school.