Frances G Cosco Foundation (FGCF) works to improve the lives of under-served youth through quality education. FGCF follows a holistic approach to addressing the multiple barriers children and youth in poor communities face in accessing and succeeding in school.
Since 2015, DKM has supported FGCFs work in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. All of FGCF's projects are initiated and supported by the communities they work with.
Poor achievement in rural schools is primarily a result of substandard learning environments and poor quality of teaching. Inadequate learning materials and health risks from lack of latrines and clean water exemplify existing school conditions. FGCF's holistic approach addresses all of the factors that contribute to the lack of access to quality education in the region. Facilities improvement, a school greening program, ongoing teacher training, WASH training, and a focus on outcome measurement and research are all components of FGCF's holistic model. FGCF strives for each of their schools to be a center of excellence in the communities they serve.
Sebatamit is a farming community where annual per capita income is roughly $200. Nearly 22 years ago, villagers built an elementary school entirely from community cash contributions to accommodate a growing student population that would otherwise have to travel 7 kilometers to the nearest school in Bahir Dar. All of the buildings were made of mud block without any foundation, doors, or windows. In 2015, FGCF's first project was to demolish those old buildings, replace them with new cement block ones, and apply their holistic model to Sebatamit's education program.
The teacher training program is ongoing, as is the greening program. The orchards and vegetable gardens are beginning to flourish, and the planted tree canopies are providing shade to classrooms. A wide selection of vegetables was planted and cared for by students as part of their classroom curriculum. Water is now being pumped from the nearby river into a 20,000-litre water tank, providing irrigation for the gardens and trees, and washbasins in the schoolyard.