Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
November 12, 2009

Date: 11/12/2009 Description: Community gathers for Project Concern International town hall meeting to discuss ways to keep girls in school and school rehabilitation.   © Photo courtesy of Project Concern International
In the harsh climate of the rural Afar region of Ethiopia, DRL supports Project Concern International to promote women’s economic empowerment and protect women’s and girls’ rights. In mostly Muslim and pastoralist communities, over 750 community leaders, comprised equitably of both men and women, have received training on community mobilization techniques, the importance of girls’ education, and diminishing harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early marriages. The project has had a remarkable impact in the target region and has led to a 60% reduction in the performance of harmful traditional practices; a 10% increase in sustained school attendance by female students; and a 30% increase in women’s participation in community dialogue and mobilization efforts. The program continues to protect women’s rights and seeks to reach over 9,000 beneficiaries.