The Girls Gotta Run Foundation is a non-profit organization which uses the sport of running as an innovative approach to creating safe spaces in school, ending child marriages and expanding access to secondary school for vulnerable girls. Their Athletic Scholarship Program consists of a running team of approximately 35 girls in Grades 5 to 7, implementation of a life skills program and the provision of scholarships for the girls on the team to continue their education at the Abba Pascal School for Girls in Soddo, Ethiopia.
The team meets three times a week after school and in the morning on Saturday. During the school week, the girls attend class, attend the 60-90 minute long practice after school and receive a snack. On Saturday, the girls meet for two hours in the morning. One hour is spent doing athletic training and the second hour is spent eating a meal as a team and participating in a life skills workshop.
Program participants complete the life skills program after the first year of the program. In the second year the girls complete leadership and peer education and in the final year, the girls and their families complete business and financial literacy training to help them start or enhance their own business. The work with the girls’ families consists of two parts. The mothers receive entrepreneurship training where they learn to set up a small business such as selling coffee and tea or a barbershop or to continue a business they have already begun. The other part of the training consists of a savings program where money is saved into a group fund which can then be used as grants or loans for the women. Some of the mothers use this money to send their other children to school because they recognize the value of an education for their children.
The girls are chosen for the program using 3 main requirements:
- Their interest and passion for higher education.
- Their interest in running.
- Their economic status.