The great challenge in pastoralist children’s education

Educational opportunities for girls in Ethiopia’s remote Afar region are limited beyond primary school, due to some community resistance against educating girls.
Image: Christof Krackhardt

For the nomadic pastoralist communities of the Afar region in Ethiopia, education is a major challenge. Anglican Overseas Aid’s project partner, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA), began its literacy program back in 1996 with the initial training of 21 teachers. Since then, the program has grown significantly. There are currently 231 teacher-sites in 14 of the region’s 29 woredas (districts).

During this time, APDA’s program strategy has evolved to improve coverage and quality of education, assisting the regional government to devise policies and to implement appropriate education options in the pastoralist setting. While primary level education is being achieved in many nomadic pastoralist communities through a combination of mobile and static education, the question now is how these children will continue on.

APDA is piloting a strategy that will ensure more children in the isolated Afar region gain access to education on an ongoing basis. Students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to continue schooling, move to a town to live in student hostel accommodation. They are supported to live while they attend the local government school from grade five onwards.

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Go Bare on September 14

Go Bare on September 14 and help raise awareness for the millions of women and girls in Africa who are going without the basics.

For those born into a life of extreme poverty, basic essentials such as health care and education are too often out of reach. Many women in developing communities lack the rights to make decisions about their own bodies and lives.

Go Bare is an initiative of CARE Australia and Marie Stopes International Australia, supported by AusAID.  It recognises the importance of basic choice and highlights the work being done to reduce poverty as part of the Australia Africa Community Engagement Scheme.

This Friday, we encourage you to join the movement: pare back on the excess, spend your day makeup free, or leave your jewellery at home. Put aside those everyday luxuries you can live without. Invite your friends, family and colleagues to do the same, by letting them know why it’s important to you.

By getting back to the basics, you’ll be helping to shine a spotlight on the access inequalities that are a daily reality for women and girls in Africa.

What bare essentials will you go without?

To get involved, please visit