How do project implementers design an intervention in a dynamic environment, when they don’t know how beneficiaries will respond? And how do evaluators design a flexible process to get decision-makers the information they need, when the theory of change is participant-driven and activities involve substantial grassroots initiative? One recent EnCompass evaluation explores these questions—with exciting results.
This case study examines two exemplary Zambian community schools where girls consistently achieve results above the national average in grade 7 national exams in order to build an evidence base for what works in improving girls’ performance in those exams. Several common factors emerged that contribute to an environment that has supported girls to perform above the national average in grade 7 national exams: free remedial lessons in grade 7, a sense of pride in the school by the extended school community, public recognition of good learner performance, support and mentoring of teachers
This case study offers a comparison of two secondary schools—one in which most girls are returning to school after pregnancy and one where girls are returning at a lower, and more typical, rate—identifies several key factors that create an environment conducive to girls returning following maternity leave. These cases may offer lessons to help the Zambian government and its partners increase the reentry rate, thereby improving the prospects for all Zambian girls to fulfill their right to education.
Community schools in Zambia are locally founded, financed and managed through a parent community school committee (PCSC). Despite the stigma and paucity of resources associated with community schools, evidence suggests that many produce better learning outcomes than government schools. Significant research shows parental engagement to be an important factor impacting school quality, although evidence is divided about the nature of the impact.
Part of USAID/Zambia’s education portfolio, the Time to Learn (TTL) project is a 5-year (2012-2017), USAID-funded project that collaborates with the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education (MESVTEE). The project seeks to improve reading among 500,000 primary grade learners by 2017 in all community schools in six of Zambia’s 10 provinces and increase equitable education services for orphans and vulnerable children in secondary schools in these provinces.
The USAID Education Strategy approaches education as both foundational to human development and critically linked to economic growth and democratic governance. Education raises individual incomes and improves health outcomes. Access to education is a crucial precondition to educational impact, but what matters most thereafter is the quality of education. Recognizing these important links to other powerful drivers of development, EnCompass has recently developed a number of resources focused on practical solutions and innovative approaches in education that empower girls and boys to create a better future in all countries.
The International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) at Carleton University contracted EnCompass to perform a strategic review. This evaluation served as a tool to help IPDET assess the relevance and sustainability of its current program, as well as to inform future strategy so that IPDET will be highly relevant to the needs of its intended audiences, effective in its delivery, and competitive in terms of its pricing. This evaluation used an iterative method of data collection through document review, semi-structured interviews, online surveys, and landscape analysis.