Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa


INSPIRE means Integrated School Performance Improvement, Review and Engagement. The overall objective of INSPIRE is to develop integrated planning, multi-stakeholder accountability and the provision of effective support to bring about improvements in the performance of Malawian schools. This project is the culmination of Scottish Government and Link’s investment in monitoring school performance since 2006 and it represents a real opportunity for sustainable and scalable activity which can improve the quality of monitoring and support of schools, at the same time enabling wider community participation in education decision making. Central to the project are the rights and responsibilities of parents, informed by the school standard and school performance information and the opportunity to discuss school performance at school and district level.

Funder: Scottish Government

Total Funding: £600,000

Dates: April 2015 – March 2018

The Challenge

To improve school performance the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology needs accessible and accurate information so that resources and support can be directed where they are most needed. Resource and management constraints, coupled with a lack of experience with data collections and exchange, mean that reliable information about schools is often unavailable or is not made accessible to schools, districts or central Ministry in a coordinated way.

In 2013-14 the Directorate of Inspection and Advisory Services, facilitated by Link and Scottish Government funding, carried out School Performance Review which provided in-depth data for every primary school in Dedza. The District Education Conference in December 2013 was the first time stakeholders from school, district and central levels had come together to discuss education challenges and priorities in the district.

The Ministry of Education has now asked Link to co-design a scalable version of school performance review and to demonstrate it in a district where Link hasn't previously worked.  The project will include development of an electronic school report card with portal and web-based access.  Central to the project will be the new National Education Standards.

Project Aim

The project aims to demonstrate an integrated system for understanding how schools are performing against the National Educational Standards and planning for improvement at school, district and central levels. At the end of the project all 217 primary and secondary schools in Mchinji District will be achieving School Improvement Plan targets which align with the National Education Standards.

Project activities

  1. Support every school in Mchninji district to carry out a low-cost, participatory assessment of their performance against the National Education Standards.
  2. Develop IT systems for gathering, storing, analysing and sharing information about school performance with relevant stakeholders; install Solar Connect technology in rural areas of Mchinji district and deliver training to facilitate this.
  3. Support schools and their communities to access and use data which is gathered about their school using a school report card and computer technology where appropriate.
  4. Enable every school in Mchinji to produce an effective, relevant and realistic School Improvement Plan based on accurate data and active engagement by the whole school community.
  5. Build the capacity of district and central Education Officers to make Zone/ District Education Plans and national policies which draw on reliable data from schools to address the real challenges schools are facing.
  6. Enable communities to hold schools and districts accountable for meeting targets and delivering effective education through school-based community engagement meetings and District Education Conferences.
  7. Work with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to learn from the experience in Mchinji district and plan to replicate this throughout the country. 


Read the full final evaluation report.

Read the INSPIRE Project Case Study.

NGOsource equivalency determination on file Registered with Fundraising Regulator OSCR Scottish Charity Registrar