The beauty of the Tangible Hope Foundation’s (THF) model is its ability to achieve high social capital returns with minimal financial resources. The program works on two tiers beginning with the selection of the girls who must meet specific criteria to enter the program: Their families must be considered the poorest in the region, the girls must be 6-8 years old, unmarried, and cannot be married off or have children while in the program. Once in the program, the girls get immediate medical attention as all of them have parasites due to the poor water quality. THF provides their school uniforms (mandatory to attend school), back packs filled with school supplies, shoes & socks, underwear, hair oil, soap etc. Finally, they receive after school tutoring three times a week throughout the entire program to ensure academic excellence.
The second tier works by incentivizing the family (especially the father) to allow the girl to enter and stay in the program through providing grains, cooking oil, and soap in bulk to the families every three months while the girls are enrolled in the program. THF has employees on the ground to check-in with tutors and conduct home visits to ensure families follow THF policies.
For a total of $1.50 per day per girl, the results of this program are extraordinary and tangible. The young girls transform from parasite ridden children with very little hope for the future to empowered young women with confidence and leadership capabilities.
Furthermore, we are seeing effects well beyond the personal lives of the young girls. Patriarchy in these families is being broken down with the ideologies of the father’s being challenged and reprogrammed now that the young girl’s education provides food, oils and necessary staples for the family. This also prevents child marriage, child pregnancies, and rape since the young girls are now more closely monitored. Moreover, due to the Founder’s insistence on only allowing one girl per family in the program, multiple tribes in the region are now participating in the program which is helping dissolve regional tribal barriers. Lastly, the girls must stay in their villages throughout the program, so their transformation resonates at home and in their communities and not in a far-off boarding school.
Considering that this is not only working but thriving in the region with the government awarding Tangible Hope Foundation as the most effective NGO in the region, we feel that this model can be exported into other regions around the world and possibly domestically in the US as a way to empower women and break down social norms exacerbating women’s inequality. We feel that there’s a world of possibilities for partnership and scalability that could have a far-reaching resonance in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment across the globe.
Tangible Hope’s Small Steps Big Difference Approach Is Getting Results.
Tangible Hope is currently serving 100 young girls in Kofele, Ethiopia. By continuing to grow our sponsorship base and forming new partnerships, our goal is to increase the number of girls by at least an additional 50 girls yearly so we can continue to provide and expand our after school programs as well as improve hygiene and provide a nutritious meal daily in the years to come. By also engaging the girls families socially and monetarily, by suppling grains and cooking oils, the families are more willing to keep the girls in Tangible Hope Foundation’s sponsorship program instead of making their daughters abandon school to help support the family. Using this model Tangible Hope strives to empower young girls to realize their full potential and to help put an end to the social norms in Ethiopia.