Evaluation of project Miara-Mianatra Madagascar
Background Madagascar has made a number of commitments to improve the wellbeing of children which support the political commitment of the Government of Madagascar towards Inclusive Education. In 2015 a Cooperation Agreement was signed between the Ministry of Education and the Malagasy Lutheran Church to make inclusive education among the top priorities of both institutions and to make this initiative of inclusion happen in Madagascar. The national education sector plan (2018-2022) defines the overall vision of the country for the development of education, particularly, Sustainable Development Goal 4. The NMS-Miara-Mianatra Project, MLC ( Malagasy Lutheran Church) Inclusive Education Project started its first phase in 2018. The Miara-Mianatra ( learning together) is based on a previous project by MLC – Mampiaty Programme with the same vision, mission and core values but a different management structure. It draws on the extensive experience of MLC in specialized education for blind and deaf persons (since 1924) and the Ministry of Education’s ongoing effort to draft and implement an Inclusive Education Policy. The overall objective of the project is to integrate children with disabilities, with low or average level of impairment, in mainstream schools across four target areas in Madagascar: Atsinanana (Toamasina), Vakinankaratra (Antsirabe), Amoron’Imania (Ambositra) and Matsiatra Ambony (Fianarantsoa). Purpose/objective The purpose of the evaluation is to determine the extent of success of Miara-Mianatra project (2 years into a 3-year project), target activities, and provide a targeted focus the outline of a future 5-year project document. Methodology The evaluation was conducted using a mix methodology: Desk review Key informant interviews Focus groups discussions in all 4 geographical areas. In order to achieve the objectives of the evaluation, qualitative data collection methods were used during the visits to the selected localities. Interview and focus group discussions with; Community Agents, Teacher trainers, Teachers, National Platform for Inclusive Education Health workers, Parents of children with and without disabilities and Children with and without disabilities. Throughout the 12 days of field work, 34 semi-structured interviews were conducted in focus groups discussions. Key findings The evaluation revealed that project results have accomplished the Digni indicators related to Strengthening civil society, Gender equality, and Quality education. The project team has established and well-kept the contact with the mains stakeholders: governmental institutions, Malagasy Lutheran Church, schools, and key stakeholders within target communities. The feedback of the participants of the project indicate that the project team implemented numerous activities in an efficient manner The project has proved the necessity to replicate the Inclusive Education Model in other regions; establish relationships between special schools and mainstream schools to ensure integration of children with disabilities into mainstream schools, through an optimal and competent collaboration between the relevant educational and social services and other actors (government, church, civil society, school, parents) based on a shared understanding of quality inclusive education practices. The effectiveness of the initiatives implemented within the project is proven by the increased level of educational and social inclusion of children with disabilities in the mainstream schools. At the same time, the evaluation identified concerns about limited human resources to implement complex activities of Miara-Mianatra Project The evaluation revealed that project’s impact is multidimensional through many categories of population from four target regions of the Project: (i) children with disabilities; (ii) school teachers and principals; (iii) doctors; (iv) parents raising children with disabilities; (v) parents of children without disabilities; (vi) civil society; (vi) other community members. Recommendations The evaluation report recommends continuation in a second phase aiming at ampifying the experience obtained this far by replicationg best practices of inclusion education model in other regions. The team give both short- and medium term recommendations to Miara Mianatra on the 4 modules. The evaluation report has 3 pages of recommendations. The recommendations are primarily about follow-up and strengthening the activities that are already done. MM should work with SFM and transform it into an Institute of Inclusive Pedagogy. Develop practical modules on Inclusive Education with more focus on Child Centered Education (list of 5 topics). The modules are also one of the things Paula (the senior consultant) has focus on. Special schools. The evaluation also recommend that Miara Mianatra should work with the special schools and each year together identify 10%-20% of the students here that can be included in mainstream schools and initiate the inclusion of these students. In order to strengthen the management and ensure the effectiveness of Miara-Mianatra project implementation, it is recommended to hire a Project assistance within Miara-Mianatra Project. Medium term main highlights; Advocacy and Awareness;Develop a joint plan on communication, develop awareness-raising module for mainstream pupils,a practical course for parents and a training module for journalists. Carry out a mapping of activities on inclusive education implemented by other NGOs Teachers training in 4 regions;Organize training for teachers from public and pricvate schools, train representatives on district level of Direction of education, transform the FLM Teacher Training School into an Institute of Inclusive Pedagogy, Develop and deliver practical Modules on Inclusive Education. Social inclusionCreate teams from each of the 4 regions to provide a rapid assessment and identify children with disabilities in each locality, follow up the monitoring of children with disabilities from four target regions, provide support for integration of children with all types of disabilities from four target regions into mainstream schools, at the community level make sure to include professional knowledge (education, health, social work) in each team in order to communicate/provide support properly within the community, provide basic health equipment at community level. Education InclusionEnsure special schools shift their paradigm to support Inclusive Education, by transitioning every year 10% to 20%. of the students from special schools to mainstream schools with adequate planning and support, provide each child with a diability individual plans, consider converting special schools into competence centres, Develop support materials on life skills education Recommendations to NMS Provide financial support to special schools which are actively engaged in transforming their role from segregated settings for children with disabilities into support services for inclusion. Encourage partnerships between mainstream schools, special schools and parents of children with disabilities. The regional focal point on Inclusive Education should receive extra training on integration of children with disabilities into mainstream schools, and act as a link with the special schools and mainstream schools to ensure the transition of children with disabilities from special school into mainstream schools. Comments from the organisation NMS: The report will indeed help us prepare well a second phase to sustain and develop further the projects multidimensional documented achievements. The scope and complexity of Miara-Mianatra will increase, and this indicate a need to assess what to address on the management, in particular the financial continuous monitoring. We also notice the specific recommendations to NMS to encourage the transformation process from supporting special schools towards service for inclusion. We will ned to clarify and review our policy for support with regard to the 11 FLM special school institutions. Digni: The report concludes saying The Miara-Mianatra Project has been very effective in promoting social and educational inclusion of children with disability from the four regions. The effectiveness of the initiatives implemented within the project is proven by the increased level of educational and social inclusion of children with disabilities in the mainstream schools. The implemented model has had a positive impact on the attitude of government specialists, regional and community specialists, Church leaders, managers and teachers, doctors to the Values and Principles of Inclusion. Digni will follow up closely the future plans for the project and the following up of the evaluation.