Damo Sako gives one of her kid goats to another deserving girl.
"I will from time to time, sell some of my goats to meet all of these needs, and my goats will keep on multiplying. Now I will no longer burden my poor parents,especially my mother who bore most of my burden."
It is proven that girls who attain more years of primary education are at less risk for child marriage and early pregnancy, and are more likely to have higher incomes as adults. However, in many parts of Ethiopia, families cannot afford to send their daughters to school.
IIRR began the innovative Goats4Girls (G4G) program to address theis exact issue.Girls who are unable to attend school are provided two goats, so that they can pay for their education by selling the kids.
Damo Sako is a 16 year old girl from Oromia Regional state in Ethiopia. Her father has two wives and 16 children, eight boys and eight girls. She is a very strong student, but at risk of dropping out due to her families economic situation. IIRR selected Damo to be of the first six beneficiaries of its G4G initiative at Mucha Primary School. She was in grade 7 at Mucha Primary School.
In 2014, she received her allotment of two goats and agreed to pass the first born kid to another deserving girl. Her father was supportive of Damo and managed to find a way to give an additional goat to care for. As her goats gave birth, her herd quickly grew to seven goats, and honoring her agreement, Damo gave her first born kid to a fellow classmate.
With her growing herd, Damo has completed Grade 8 and hopes to attend a good secondary school after passing her state exam. “I will be joining secondary school away from home which requires renting a hostel room. I need to buy food” said Damo.” I will from time to time, sell some of my goats to meet all of these needs, and my goats will keep on multiplying. Now I will no longer burden my poor parents, especially my mother who bore most of my burden.”
The school principal, Awol Bitata, told the IIRR team that, this project is a game changer and has boosted girls’ performance, which is usually poor. It has also motivated parents to become more supportive of girl’s education, which was not the case before. Since the G4G project was started, enrollment in our school has increased by over 30%. There are still many deserving girls who have dropped out of school, and I hope IIRR will keep up its good work.
One of the unique aspects of this program is that goat recipients are required to pass along one goat to another girl. This doubles the impact of the program without increasing any costs. It also allows the girl and her family to experience the joy of giving, which fosters pride, dignity and self worth and creates community cohesion. IIRR aims to enroll hundreds of girls in Ethiopia and other eastern African countries (Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan) in G4G who dropped out of school mainly for economic reasons.
“Our society doesn’t value girls and so our parents don’t support our education. In our community, all boys are given a gift when they are born, but we girl don’t get anything. The goats’ project is the first live gift we have ever received as girls, and it has restored our dignity and self worth. It has increased cooperation with our parents, and I feel we are more respected. It motivates us to work even harder in school. I would like to be a teacher and become a role model for many girls who. According to our tradition, marry when they are very young”- Damo Sako