Girl Ambassadors Take Reins of Own Education

Plan International USA and Because I am a Girl encourage girls to take control of own education

Betelhem, 14, is a girl ambassador.

For girls like Betelhem, just attending school can be a struggle.

She walks 30 minutes every morning to get to her classes. Her school, the Kilinto School, is located in a government housing complex on the outskirts of Addis Adaba, Ethiopia. Some girls have to walk up to three hours one way to get there.

But, with the help of Plan International USA and the Because I am a Girl campaign, Betelhem and other young leaders are helping to improve the situation for their peers.

Although the school did not used to be a friendly place for children to learn, these students now have uniforms and school books. Kilinto has a water tank with clean water so that students don’t need to carry drinking water in plastic bags. There are books in the library and experiment materials in the science classrooms – Betelhem’s favorite place.

“I want to be an engineer when I grow up,” she said.

In addition to taking the reins of her own education, Betelhem, a Plan ambassador, is encouraging others.

“I was so happy to be chosen as an ambassador,” she said. “You see, we are the ones who know the problems and situations of our classmates, because we live here, and we can help the project to help the people who need it most. If I could give one message to all girls, it would be that girls are not worth less than boys! I want all girls to understand this and change how they think. They can do just as well and achieve the same things that boys can.”

The specific needs of girls in different areas always vary. That’s why the role of girl ambassador is so critical. In all Because I am a Girl projects, there are up to 12 girl ambassadors who motivate their peers to get involved in the programs offered, to spread awareness about the new materials and services provided, and to confidentially report to the project team on girls who may need special attention or support.