(Continued from part 1)
It appears that, indeed, that kind man is the driver providentially sent by their host to collect them.
Through bumpy dusty roads and stunning landscapes they reach their accommodation and meet the rest of the HER CHOICE coordinators gathered in Hawassa for the Linking&Learning days.
While greeting each other, getting settled and preparing for the intense days ahead, they start enjoying the view on the marvelous Hawassa lake, superb Ethiopian coffee, delicious local food, lovely Ethiopian hospitality and the awesome local fauna.
Thanks to the excellent organization of The Hunger Project Ethiopia everything runs smoothly and comfortably since the first L&L day. Early in the morning the 30 HER CHOICE coordinators – half men and half women – start briefing each other on the current activities they run to eradicate child marriage in their countries, exchange good practices, challenges and lessons learned.
They learn a lot about the implementation of the HER CHOICE programme in other countries, as for instance:
– “how important it is to work as an alliance, because child marriage is a too big problem to be fought by single organizations” (Yared Degefu – Director of FSCE). They clearly see this reflected in the example of the 7 organizations working together under HER CHOICE in Ethiopia, and the important work they do on all 6 strategies of the Programme, with many women in the forefront of fighting child marriage in the country (Ayalew Gigu – HER CHOICE coordinator at ESD).
– the excellent work that The Hunger Project-Ghana does through training sessions for teachers and for community members on the bad effects of child marriage, awareness-raising girls and boys camps, the set up of confidential SHR centres in schools, and much more. They also hear about the good collaboration with the Ghanaian national and local government (Patricia Osei Amponsah – HER CHOICE coordinator at THP Ghana).
-the succesful peer education model implemented by The Hunger Project-Uganda, and the great example of girls from rural areas who – also thanks to the HER CHOICE programme – can flourish and develop their talents. Some of them gaigned so much confidence that went as far as holding a speech at the national parliament in the capital city. “When you look at them, you see that there is a lot of power in empowerement” (Joyce Nakato, HER CHOICE coordinator at THP Uganda).
The participants of the first HER CHOICE L&L day also get to discuss common challenges, such as: the difficulties of getting accurate local data about the actual number of child marriages; the sustainability of the projects once the HER CHOICE programme comes to an end in 2020; how to keep learning from each other while being on distance, and much more. Through fruitful brainstorming and building on each other’s ideas, some possible solutions to some of these challenges are identified.
Tired but satisfied they head towards a delightful Ethiopian dinner, looking forward to the days ahead.
It continues here…