Garrett Ash, Malcolm Anderson and Patricia Ortmans
Institution: Running Across Borders
Supporting Impoverished Ethiopian Girls Who Are Training to Become Professional Runners: Successes, Challenges, and Future Directions
Ethiopia is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world, but some Ethiopians earn income 4 to 1500 times the national averages through careers in long distance running. Seven of the 10 top earning Ethiopian runners are women, and girls who participate in running are more likely to finish school and less likely to experience early marriage, childbirth and domestic abuse. Since 2006, the Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF) has supported 50 impoverished Ethiopian girls who are training to become professional runners by providing financial grants of varying amounts and for varying purposes to girls in four different programs/teams. While all the programs focus on both running and education, they differ in other important ways. For instance, some programs support girls living at home while others facilitate a supervised shared residence. Additionally, girls enter the programs from a wide variety of backgrounds, and with various levels of educational attainment and running!
ng experience. Many of the girls have achieved significant educational success and several have experienced significant success in professional running. This paper will describe the successes of the girls/programs, the challenges GGRF and its partner organizations face(d), and plans and questions about future directions of GGRF’s work.