Saving the Children and Reducing Education Inequality
One of the most frustrating aspects in country development is confronting the inevitable inequality that comes with it. Whether it be a discovery of natural resources leading to rapid economic changes, or the slow and measured progress a country has made in ensuring governmental and economic stability to promote foreign investment, a new influx of resources and opportunities into a country will unavoidably create a new collection of “haves” and “have nots.”
As farmers become factory workers, women will be left behind as most jobs will go to men. As education systems develop, young women will be left behind as societal gender bias’ towards males will be reinforced (i.e., parents believing their sons will have higher chances at better jobs than their daughters means a smart investment for a family with limited resources will be to send only their sons to school). In Ethiopia, this can be seen where the literacy rate of male youths (15-24 years of age) is 33% higher than that of female youths. As cities grow and rural areas depopulate, workers in the agriculture sector will only receive the new benefits of a progressing society as they may or may not trickle down. This leads to friction between the rural and urban sectors of society as governments will often actively transfer wealth and benefits from the city to the country.
Groups like Save the Children recognize these nuances of development and use targeted philanthropy to lessen, in the hope of completely eradicating, the inequality that comes with development. In regards to education, Save the Children’s goals in Ethiopia have concentrated on ensuring the basic education of those who would not ordinarily get schooling. These children include young women and youths in rural areas who have limited or no access to education. By targeting groups of “have nots” and by using their own inexpensive school models that provide flexible schedules, relevant curricula and active community participation in the educational process, Save the Children has been able to create positive change in Ethiopian education and Ethiopian development.