Konso, SNNPR, Ethiopia December 9 of 2021 – Four districts of Konso zone Karat Zuriya, Segen Zuriya, Kolme and Kena are hosting a big event. Little children holding colorful balloons and welcome signs of decoration sing a song to welcome their guests while stomping the ground with their feet. It is a graduation day for four- to six-year-old children after completing a class called Accelerated School Readiness (ASR) under Bete project of UNICEF, which imagine1day had been implementing. A program aimed at enabling the students to have basic literacy and numeracy skills in an accelerated timespan than the regular education system to compensate the time they have left behind due to the conflict setting they have been in. The 1,931 students (1017 girls & 914 boys) from 10 internally displaced people (IDP) sites in Konso zone have been learning with play for eight weeks from 1st November to 9th  December 2021. Letters, numbers and knowing our environment are among the topics they have covered.

To commemorate the day, UNICEF and imagine1day’s country office representatives, Konso Zone and district education and women and Children affairs office heads, district administrators as well as the communities from the four districts are gathered. Opening speech, student’s show of what they have learned, community representatives’ opinion, student’s certification and closing remark were major parts of the graduation program.

Imagine1day has been giving ASR program under its emergency project since 2017. The Bete project ASR program is unique in that it is an integration of education, child protection and life skill services.

What is more, all the 1,931 graduates of the ASR program are classified to the nearest link school and 1,796 of them are attending grade one whereas the rest 135 are happened to be far from the available link schools. Per the indication of imagine1day team on the ground, the zone education office is looking for a way to manage creating access to these children. The fact that the zone’s academic year began being late for security concern has enabled the ASR graduates cope easily.

Apart from the integrated service, 300 of the graduates in Karat Zuriya district, the neediest who couldn’t otherwise have clothes to wear to attend even the class are provided clothes supported by the zone administration being requested by imagine1day.