Getting Ready for School – An Inspirational Visit to Ethiopia

DSC02119Earlier this year, Director Tricia Young and Trustee Susan Durston were inspired by a visit to Ethiopia, where – as the guests of UNICEF – they were able to see first hand the scale up of Getting Ready for School (GRS). GRS was taken to scale by the Ethiopian government following the initial pilot with UNICEF between 2007-2010. It now comprises one of the four pillars of the national Early Childhood Development strategy. With government and community support, it has been possible to reach more than 500,000 children who would otherwise not had any form of early learning.

Tricia and Susan visited two very different regions, Tigray and Benishangul, and were able to observe numerous Young Facilitators in action with their Young Learners. As well as meeting children, they met parents and caregivers and community members, who spoke about the transformative impact of the programme and the fact that their children were able to access quality, inclusive early learning opportunities for the first time. They also spent time learning about the successes and challenges of the scale up from officials from the Education Ministry and UNICEF. Getting Ready for School has been adapted to respond to the issues in each context; it is also being implemented to provide early learning opportunities for children in pastoralist communities and in camps for internally displaced people. One of Tricia’s favourite moments was during a ceremony recognising teachers. A little girl asked why her teacher – her Young Facilitator – wasn’t on stage. Children really can change the world!

To read more about their trip and the impact of GRS in Ethiopia, read the executive summary of report they produced following this trip:

Executive Summary