Following the success of the MSIP, the Malawi Inclusive Education Programme (MIEP) 2008-2011, funded by the Scottish Government, focused on specifically addressing the educational needs of girls, aiming to improve access, retention and performance of girls in primary education within Dedza and Mulanje districts.
Throughout the project, Link assisted in establishing Mother Groups in every school in Dedza and Mulanje, an initiative by the Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) to support girls’ education. Link provided orientation training for newly formed groups and ongoing training for existing groups on a range of themes including adolescence counselling, HIV/AIDs mitigation, resource mobilisation and ways of supporting orphaned and other vulnerable children.
In addition to supporting Mother Groups, Link assisted in developing Female Teacher Networks, which consist of female teachers from across each zone in Dedza and Mulanje districts, and supported Female Teacher Networks and Mother Groups in completing exchange visits between zones as a means of sharing ideas and best practice. Support was also provided to facilitate collaboration between Mother Groups, Female Teacher Networks and other school community groups, such as School Management Committees and Parent Teacher Associations with the aim of increasing community involvement in schools.
Link revived the District Education Network in Dedza, which had previously been inactive, and assisted in establishing a District Education Network in Mulanje where there had not been one previously. We formed a partnership with both District Education Networks and used this as a platform to raise awareness of the importance of girls’ education and the need to focus on the quality of education among district education staff and other organisations working in relation to education in both districts.
Link continued to address areas of concern in relation to the quality of education being delivered by providing support in 15 schools that had been identified as ‘weak’ during interventions of the MSIP project. In collaboration with district education officials, in-service training was provided for headteachers, teachers, community school groups (Mother Groups, School Management Committees, Parent Teacher Associations and village leaders) to address specific needs of the schools, focused on girls’ education, literacy and numeracy, teaching methodologies, school governance and leadership.
We produced a School Performance Review guide and distributed to all schools and Primary Education Advisors (PEAs) in Dedza and Mulanje in order to provide further assistance to district and school staff in collecting and using data as a means to improve school performance.
Throughout the project, Link continued to work in partnership with the MoEST at national level and remained a member of the Basic Education Technical Working Group, thereby playing a key part in informing policy in relation to basic education. Link worked in collaboration with staff at MoEST to make revisions to the national Mother Group Training Manual to ensure consistency in training provided to Mother Groups nationwide.
- With support from Link, all schools in Dedza and Mulanje had a functional Mother Group at the end of this project, with 144 new groups established in Dedza and 82 in Mulanje and support given to the 146 existing groups.
- Female Teacher Networks were established and trained in all zones in both Dedza (19) and Mulanje (13) and provided training for a total of 967 female teachers across both districts.
- Throughout the project female dropout rates fell by 5% in Dedza and 4% in Mulanje, demonstrating an improvement in female retention in schools.
- School Performance Reviews were conducted in a total of 209 schools, led by district officials with support from Link, and the data collected demonstrated considerable improvement in areas of school leadership and management as well as child-friendly schools and inclusion.
- The MoEST developed a Primary School Improvement Programme (PSIP) to roll out school improvement planning and direct support to school across Malawi, which was greatly informed by Link’s work throughout the MIEP and MSIP projects in Dedza and Mulanje.