Ethiopian Church leaders are hoping education can help fight some cultural traditions, such as female circumcision and beliefs that epileptic children are possessed.
They also hope that by building schools close to villages, parents will feel more secure sending girls to classes, because the proximity will make them less vulnerable to rape and kidnapping.
"We feel through education only we can make a difference . . . in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa," Ethiopian Archbishop Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa told Catholic News Service in late October.
"Education is the key, we feel, for development and peace."