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Op-Ed Assignment- feedback needed please!

Dear all,

They say if you educate a man you educate an individual and if you educate a woman, you have educated an entire household or even community. If this is the case, why are they not educating as many girls as possible in Somalia so that it could get out of the big mess it is in today? For my Op-Ed assignment, I would like to write about girls education in Somalia and discuss challenges and opportunities including disability and displacement issues.

Is the Education For All Somalia Country program really for all or does it leave some people out? Assessments from the field will provide us with information regarding the multiple challenges and vulnerabilities girls face in accessing education including safety, security, gender-insensitive projects, gender-blind teaching and socio-cultural issues such as resistance to the idea that girls and women can be trusted with education.

What is being done for disabled girls so that their vulnerability is not only recognized but also minimized to as to access education and participate actively in society?. From a gender perspective, I will highlight some of the initiatives being undertaken to change thinking and cultural practices to enable girls to go to school and how particular consideration is needed in a country where there is none for girls with disabilities or displaced.

I will try to not only describe the situation but also present my opinion on the matter as well as present examples of how different actors are approaching the topic and its challenges (what works/doesn’t work), and to finally draw out some conclusions and recommendations. In so doing I am hoping to present an article with constructive information that can be as useful as possible to readers around the world who may be working in the same field or considering initiating programs and also to try to raise awareness among policymakers and donors.

Because I am approaching the topic from many angles, I feel perhaps they be too many angles! Please provide your usual and highly-welcomed advice and tips!!

I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you so much!


Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture


Great topic Sahro!

I think you can do this very well in an op-ed, but you'll need to focus in on just a few points and really make sure to include your opinion loud and clear. I would refer to the post that Michele made earlier in the group journal for some guidance. You only have 700 words for this piece, so you're going to have to focus on a few things which support your opinion. I really like that you are already focused on the solutions. I would suggest that you pick three of the most key supporting pieces of evidence to support your opinion/thesis. Remember that your personal experience can serve as one piece of evidence. Review Michele's post for the other types of evidence. Then, I would conclude with your solutions that support your thesis. If you have further questions, don't hesitate to contact (Michele's email) or our team.

Kind regards,


"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

micheleweldon's picture

Great idea

Really powerful idea. Yes, and you only have 700 words so please focus, as Rachael says, on aspects where you can provide solutions. Remember to give brief context and overview, but also your personal observations and opinion but backed up by statistics, anecdotes and solid numbers. Be specific with those.
And in a strong statement give your main idea or argument.
Focusing on girls with disabilities being left out seems ot be to be a natural and incredibly important focus. Offer ideas to include them. What would that mean practically? How can that happen-- are schools equipped for students with disabilities? Would families need to be convinced a disabled daughter should be educated? What are the surmountable difficulties and how would you suggest they be solved?
This is necessary and important. I am happy to help with your draft as you get farther along.

Michele Weldon
Author, Journalist, Northwestern University Medill School Assistant Professor,
Workshop Instructor, Keynoter, Multimedia Expert

jbaljko's picture


Hi Sahro,
Just saw this post. You'll see in your email inbox some additional suggestions, but wanted to add my whole-hearted agreement with Rachael and Michele. Their advice and suggestions will certainly help strengthen your draft. Also worth emphasizing is the subjective-objective nature of op-ed pieces. Although they are based upon personal experience and opinions, case studies, definitive action/solutions-oriented ideas, strong, relevant statistics or research, and additional news or input from credible sources give op-eds a more objective and global feel, something readers everywhere can relate to.

Send me a note if you'd like to chat more about this or the email.

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and the secret of freedom, courage."
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