“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandella
We are excited to officially announce our partnership with The Girls Gotta Run (GGR) Foundation, the latest inspirational organisation that will receive funding from the Soul of Africa Charitable Trust.
Based in Ethiopia, GGR invests in girls who seek to empower themselves and their communities by combining running training and education. This innovative approach to providing the foundations for girls to feel supported and inspired couples keeping the girls in education for longer with fostering a passion for a sport in which Ethiopia holds international esteem.
The GGR Foundation has been championing this mission since 2006. The organisation views early marriage, which is highly prevalent in Ethiopia, as a high risk factor for the future prospects of young girls. This falls in line with research led by The United Nations Population Fund (UNFP), identifying that early marriage is the single most important reason why girls’ education is undermined in all regions of the country. Though the Ethiopian government has outlawed marriage before the age of 18 and rates have significantly reduced, the practice still prevails owing to traditional norms and circumstances of family poverty. Importantly, girls that marry later are less likely to experience a multitude of personal difficulties including abuse and health problems (often relating to early pregnancy). Thus far, the foundation has successfully worked with 117 girls – none of which have married before the age of 18.
In 2013, the foundation introduced The Girls Gotta Run Athletic Scholarship Programme to support two schemes, each with a capacity of 60 girls. The teams currently consist of 35 and 20 girls, with a positive impact spanning 275 family members across 55 families. The project aims not only to equip the girls with the skills to become confident, promising leaders within their communities, but also to help provide their families with skills to improve their financial security though savings groups and entrepreneurship.
All in all, we were captivated by the mission of the GGR foundation from the ground upwards, and are thrilled to be able to support such a far-reaching and future focused cause. In November, Soul of Africa plans to visit their scholarship programme in Bekoji, a region famously the home of champion long distance runners, as well as competing together in the Great Ethiopian Run to raise contributions for the local projects that we support.