Gew Gew Dingente High School, Gemechis, Ethiopia

The Costa Foundation’s fourth high school in Ethiopia; Gew Gew Dingente High School is the most remote project ever tackled by the Costa Foundation. Situated in the Oromia Regional State, West Hararghe Zone, this school has been built on top of a remote mountain in an isolated village some 354 kms (219 miles) south west of Addis Ababa.

The village is so remote that the road leading up to the new school was built by hand by the communities surrounding it in order for the materials to be delivered. Indeed the rainy season was so severe here during building that most of the materials had to be delivered by donkey.

Construction started in April 2011 and was completed in October 2011 enabling 480 children to access a secondary education for the first time in the community’s 600 year history. The school has 8 classrooms, sanitation, fresh water and a fully stocked library.

Before this school was built the children faced a 47 km (29 mile) walk (including the mountain path) in order to reach the nearest high school and understandably the dropout rate after 2nd Cycle school was at 97%. With the new school in place, dropout rate has fallen to 12% and indeed many adults are attending lessons here with their children; something that they simply could not do before the school was built.

The school now holds extra-curricular lessons on the topics of HIV/AIDS awareness, gender equality and the environment. The lessons are run by teachers on a voluntary basis and attended by adults as well as the children.

The population of the District is circa 220,000 with the average family size being 5 persons per household. Farming is the main source of income here with coffee being the primary cash crop.


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