In Oromia, there are significant gaps in educational opportunities between rural and urban centers. There are disproportionately fewer elementary and Junior high schools in rural areas. There are no high schools and colleges in rural areas. On the other hand, more than 85% of the population reside in rural parts of the country, while an overwhelming amount of services are concentrated in the urban centers.
When students complete junior high school (8th grade), they’re forced to move to urban centers to pursue further education. Only a few privileged children can afford to relocate to the city, where they would have to pay for rent, food, and school supplies. The vast majority of them stop pursuing education altogether. This especially true for female students when one accounts for cultural barriers.
Cognizant of this reality, UWF began its first mission by sponsoring two young men to pursue a “diploma program” in the city. Because of this effort, one the young man graduated and had a stable job. The second young man never completed the program. Disappointed with this result, the foundation later changed its strategy. Instead of sponsoring those who already completed high school, it decided to support high achieving students coming from Junior high to high school and follow them through to completion of the entire journey if necessary. To this effect, UWF has sponsored four students from Wotara elementary school for the last four years. The top-ranked three students plus a female student has been chosen. This group is now completing high school and will be pursuing secondary education next in the upcoming year. UWF plans to follow and support them. In addition, UWF plans to increase the recipient schools in the future, to produce similar results.
For the First time, UWF has also sponsored a medical student going to Negelle Arsi this year. The foundation plans to replicate these efforts as more eligible students are produced through its high school scholarship programs.
Uta Wayu Foundation has also supported academic endeavors through other means. In the 2013-2014 school year, UWF supported Wacora middle school by renovating a small library and donated nearly 6K to buy necessary reference books and school supplies for the library. We were told these small libraries and reference material have served over 1100 students since inception. These efforts are planned to be continued into different schools in the future.