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Breaking down negative barriers for girls in Riberalta

In partnership with Oxfam IBIS, we are working in alignment with SDG4 with the intention of breaking down barriers for girls from indigenous communities in vulnerable areas of Bolivia, and ensuring that children have access to quality education.

  • Where
    Riberalta, Bolivia
  • Focus area
  • Duration
    2019 - 2024
  • Economy
    Hempel Foundation: DKK 9 million
Prime partner: Oxfam IBIS

In partnership with Oxfarm IBIS, we will work with SDG4, with the intention to break down barriers, in order for girls from indigenous communities in vulnerable areas of Bolivia to have access to quality education. The project will work on an intercultural gender education model, aiming to strengthen the academic basic for 6000 girls and boys from 20 primary schools in rural areas of Riberalta. The aim of the project is to overcome challenges related to poor educational outcomes, such as early pregnancies, drop-outs, etc.

The situation in Bolivia

The quality of education is very low for children from indigenous communities in Bolivia and especially for girls and underage girls. This means that many children do not learn the most basic, leaves school prematurely and thus are unable to go further in the education system. In Bolivia, only 25.6% of the girls from indigenous communities completed primary school in 2012 and for non-indigenous girls it was 41.2%.

In addition to a massive shortage of culturally adapted educational content, girls and young women from indigenous communities also meet widespread gender discrimination and violence. In Bolivia, 3 out of 10 female students have been subjected to sexual harassment or rape in school, and 62.1% of Bolivian women are subjected to domestic violence. These forms of repression are rooted in cultural norms and a patriarchal system, often leading to early pregnancies and fewer opportunities in the life of women.

Why Riberalta?

In the Riberalta region, about 98% of children are enrolled in primary school, but the percentage falls year after year, to the last year of secondary school, where only 48% are enrolled. Only about 50% of young girls in the Riberalta region are enrolled for the first year of secondary school, which is below the national average of 60%.

Our approach

The approach will rely on a thesis that intercultural and gender-oriented education will have an impact on the extent of school-related, gender-based violence and early pregnancies.

By reaching out to both girls and boys at an early age, where they have not yet taken a certain view of gender roles, it will be possible to increase their awareness of gender-specific violence and thus to give girls more opportunities for action. Children must be taught intercultural and in their mother tongue about equal rights, gender norms and roles and about the right to their own bodies. This is expected to bring greater participation in and benefit from education, as well as less violence and discrimination. Specifically, the project will consist of teaching teachers how to include gender, violence, natural resources, cultural diversity, etc.. In addition, computer programs will be used to enhance students ' learning in mathematics, reading and writing, and students will learn through teaching materials, specified to local natives, with an intercultural approach.