Based on the research and testing we conducted in 2016, we think we know what will help girls to stay in and finish school. The Binti Shupavu curriculum has been specifically developed to provide knowledge, skills and support to vulnerable adolescent girls so that they don’t drop out of school. We do this through weekly lessons in the class room, mentoring, encouraging parental engagement and support, and providing access to an emergency fund for girls who are experiencing acute financial distress of the kind that will inevitably lead to them dropping out.
But how will we know that we’re succeeding?
The cornerstone of our monitoring, evaluation and learning system is data on school dropouts. With cooperation from individual Partner School administrations, as well as the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, we will be able to compare the retention and completion rates of Binti Shupavu Scholars with other girls at their school, as well as girls at regional and national levels. We’re also measuring learning and other outcomes across the duration of a Scholar’s engagement with the program, using a number of survey instruments.
Because parental support has been identified as a critical piece of the puzzle, we’re also seeking to impact parents. To that end, we’re holding annual parental engagement events to build advocacy and support for girls’ education. To date, these have been extremely well received and 148 parents have attended events so far this year, with more events planned. It’s been really heartening to see how willing so many parents are to try and get good educational outcomes for their daughters. Many are now lobbying their friends and neighbors to do more to help their daughters stay in and finish school! We’re using annual surveys to capture our results with parents.
In addition to Scholar and parent surveys, we’re also undertaking an annual review of the curriculum content and delivery model. Each Mentor will provide feedback on her classroom experience and the curriculum content. They’ll evaluate what has worked and what hasn’t, the key successes they’ve had throughout the year, and the key challenges they’ve faced.
Binti Shupavu Scholars too will have their say. Each Scholar will be asked to complete an evaluation form at the end of each year so that we can hear what they think about the content, the activities, and the Mentor. We hope this will allow us to continually improve the program, making it more relevant and therefore more effective.
The initiative is in its early days, but we have high hopes and look forward to being able to share our results as the program progresses.