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Community Based Education Intervention (CBEI): Mid Term

Background Countries: Uganda, Tanzania & Rwanda. Community Based Education Intervention (CBEI) that Strømme Foundation supports through several Partner NGOs (14 in three countries) essentially aims at strengthening Primary Education with strong emphasis on effective participation of stakeholders right from the project identification stage through Preliminary Participatory Studies (PPS) to implementation, emphasizing local resource mobilization and participation. CBEI also fits well into the country education contexts, policies, and targets for primary education as well as the Millennium Development Goals.Based on a number of assessments carried out to review different Children at Risk (CaR) interventions used in the past e.g. Child Sponsorship, Children's Homes, etc. between 2001-2002, one recommendation was that Participatory Preliminary Studies (PPS) must precede commencement of any education intervention. All education partners supported by Strømme Foundation therefore adopted this new approach that ensured effective community (teachers, children, parents, local leaders, and other community groupings) participation (through PPS) in project identification through implementation. The major tenets underpinning Community Based Education Intervention are:a) Strong Community participation in project identification through Participatory Preliminary Studiesb) Local Resource Mobilization (both cash and in-kind depending on the community context)c) The entire school community benefits from the intervention undertakend) The holistic approach to build a child intellectually, socially, morally, physically, and politically. Purpose/objective The objectives of the evaluation were:- To understand the impact created by these projects on enrolment of children in the implemented schools, retention of children in schools, number of girls attending and completing primary school and number of children completing primary school.- To assess performance of the different partners using a scale ranging from A to E- To assess the strength of Community Based Education Intervention- To assess the level of involvement of the different stakeholders e.g. local government leaders, the local community in the different CBEI's and the impact of these projects- To identify the impact of CBEI on children at risk- To identify elements which can help strengthen CBEI- To assess the current staff capacities, numbers, quality etc in each project and staff needs for successful implementation of CBEI- To assess the role and facilitation of CBEIs and suggest recommendations for the future- To assess the quality of CBEI projects, such as the quality of structures built, quality of training provided and any other interventions supported under the CBEI.- Based on the field findings and observations, document 'best practices' for recommending for future use in implementing CBEI. Methodology The review involved consultations with all implementing partners in the three countries and this was done through a consultative process that involved in-depth discussions with partners, local government administration, School Management Committees (SMCs), Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs), Senior Women Teachers (SWT), school children and the general beneficiary communities at project level. During the consultations, participants were encouraged to express their views and concerns openly. The specific methods, tools and techniques used were: Document Review, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), Key Informant Interviews (KII). Key findings i) Institutional capacityIn terms of staffing capacities for the majority of the partners it was sufficient except in ECAM and KAD. In terms of infrastructure and equipments, all partners had reasonably adequate office space and computers. The major challenge for majority of partners was transport.ii) Level of involvement of the different stake holdersMany stakeholders such as parents, teachers, local government leaders, confirm their readiness to support the priority interventions identified. This enables the partner in conjunction with the local resource mobilization task force to follow-up these commitments. All partners confirmed that the sensitization and mobilization activities undertaken at the start of CBEI projects have helped instill among communities a sense of responsibility for continued and sustained support to the projects.In addition local governments have been very supportive of the interventions. One key reason for this overwhelming support by the local leadership has been the approach taken at project identification stage (the PPS) that has attracted the local community.iii) Local Resource MobilizationThe policy on local resource mobilization has been positively accepted by all partners in the three countries. While communities have been positive to local resource mobilization they should be informed in time of the standard percentage they are expected to contribute and this should be respected for every project undertaken.iv) Quality of CBEI projects undertakenFor all those projects where partners had close supervision the quality of CBEI projects has been satisfactory. Where partners neglected their supervisory role had resulted in poor quality responseOn the quality of training conducted, it was found to be satisfactory although there was no evidence of standardized training materials available as agreed. While it may be argued that in most cases the training conducted was tailor made to fit the local context, there is still a need for standard training materials such as those used in training School Management Committees.v) Project design IssuesThere has been a consistent lack of clear and measurable indicators e.g. input and output indicators, impact/outcome indicators, in majority of CBEI projects undertaken. It was noted that often times staff has been confused about the concepts e.g. impact assessment with monitoring.vi) Linkages with local government contexts and prioritiesAll partners have made efforts to link the interventions made to the respective local government contexts and priorities. There was evidence of effective collaboration with the education sector at local government level. Recommendations - Monitoring by both project implementers (partners) and community project structures in all the three countries implementing CBEI, requires further strengthening.- Project design for all projects undertaken by all partners should provide clear and measurable indicators. It is a good practice to progressively measure impact of project interventions. In addition partners should be required to report based on impact indicators in their progress/quarterly reports.- Conducting feedback surveys at regular intervals will be important in order to strengthen the Community Based Education Intervention. These will help both partners and community monitoring and supervision committees to measure impact and eventually inform the design and implementation processes.- In order to strengthen CBEI, sustained local resource mobilization should be considered as the cornerstone for successful implementation and sustainability of CBEI. However when in-kind contributions are made, these should be correctly valued and quickly shared with the beneficiary communities to avoid unnecessary suspicions.- All partners implementing training of teachers in English language, must ensure that the approach to training effectively caters for all the four major skills of language learning i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing. This can be achieved partly through the approach of using audio-visual teaching/learning materials.- Partners involved in construction activities should conform to country construction standards.- Children's routine counseling and guidance on physical growth challenges and life skills, should be included in all projects. In addition the challenges facing privacy needs for girl child while at school should be addressed.- Mentoring and guiding communities to make informed decisions during PPS should be emphasized. Some of the projects did not reflect realistic community needs. Comments from the organisation The report findings were presented at the Regional Education meeting held in Kampala with participants from all partners from the region and also staff from Strømme Foundation Kristiansand. Good practices were highlighted and generic problems identified and partners' performance rankings were given. Two of the poorly ranked partners were eventually terminated i.e. African Inland Church Tanzania (AICT) and Kampala Diocese of the Church of Uganda. Further training, facilitation, administration and technical support needs were identified for further action for the partners including developing new strategies to meet the challenges.