Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Tackling Education Needs Inclusively (TENI)

Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), in partnership with four local partners[1]  and the Ghana Education Service (GES) is implementing an eight -year (PHASE 1: 2009-2014)  (PHASE 2: 2014-2017) and education programme in northern Ghana called TENI (Tackling Education Needs inclusively). The project seeks to achieve systemic change in basic education by promoting retention, transition and completion of children particularly girls and children with disabilities.  Primary beneficiaries are children especially girls and children with disabilities and teachers while the secondary beneficiaries include parents, staff of education directorate, the District Assembly and communities.


Funder: Comic Relief

Partners: VSO and 4 Other Partners

Total Funding: £3,000,000

Date: March 2009 – Feb 2014


Funder: Comic Relief

Partners: VSO and 4 other Partners

Total Funding: £2,000,000

Date: June 2014 – May 2017

The challenge

Ghana has made considerable progress in increasing enrolment and improving gender parity at the lower levels of basic education. However the majority of pupils at all levels of basic education are not reaching even minimal competency levels, especially in literacy and numeracy.[1] Coupled with poverty and socio-cultural factors, this has led to unwillingness of poor parents to make the investments necessary to keep their children in school, pupils disinterest in education, high dropout rates especially among girls and very low transition to upper primary and junior high school.  There is also concern that even though there has been an expansion of basic education, the quality of provision of teaching is being undermined. Ensuring teacher supply, retention, improving infrastructure have all caused a financial burden on the government.

Project Aims

In the struggle to boost enrolment and retention rates, evidence is increasingly showing that improvements in quality, through professional development of teachers for example, are as significant as improvements in access in terms of reducing drop-outs and increasing retention rates. Therefore TENI will put the teacher at the centre and tackle the issue of quality of teaching and learning and teachers’ motivation which will result in improved performance, retention and transition for children, particularly girls, within the target districts.

TENI believes change can only be achieved when it comes from within an individual, community, family, organisation or district and the problem addressed holistically. TENI will engage multiple stakeholders and build on best practice to tackle underlying causes that prevent children completing and performing in school, including socio-cultural beliefs, poverty barriers, the school environment and quality of teaching.

Working in partnership with four local organisations, communities will have an increased role in managing their child’s education working alongside teachers and education managers, pivotal in the delivery of quality education. Additional teachers will be placed in target schools and teachers provided with continuous training and support to bring about improved performance. Working in three of the poorest districts in northern Ghana, TENI will reach 48,979 children (23,449 girls).

Project activities: TENI Phase 1 (March 2009 - February 2014)

Outcome 1: Retention of pupils, particularly girls, in 80% of primary schools in three selected districts of northern Ghana and their transition to junior high school will improve by 30% by 2013

  1. establish a community group per school cluster[1] to identify positive and negative socio cultural factors affecting girls’ education and to tackle some of these negative beliefs
  2. identify and support female role models to provide mentoring and support to girls at risk of dropping out of school and facilitate lobbying and advocacy at community and household levels on barriers to girls’ retention and performance in school
  3. study tours will be organised each year for approximately 100 selected girls from the target schools in the 3 districts to be linked with female role models in different parts of Ghana, particularly in Northern Ghana, thereby offering strong role models to influence girls future choices
  4. TENI will establish and strengthen girls clubs and peer groups in the target schools based on models piloted by other programmes; promote inter-school and inter-district girl club interactions through learning visits and competitions
  5. TENI will ‘meet peoples needs’, not only in the area of education but it recognises the link between poverty and children’s participation and retention in school. Therefore the three districts selected for this intervention will overlap with VSO’s complementary livelihoods programme operating in the three northern regions.
  6. support SMCs/PTAs through its capacity building activities, and work with other civil society organisations and education programmes, to advocate particularly with District Assemblies for the provision of girl-friendly sanitation facilities in schools. It will also support the Regional Directorates of the Ghana Education Service, District Associations of School Management Committees and the Regional Directorates of the Ministry for Women and Children’s Affairs to develop child protection policies for all schools

Outcome 2: 2,000 teachers (including national volunteer teachers) and 237 Head-teachers in 80% of basic schools in three selected districts of northern Ghana will have the capacity and motivation to support pupils, particularly girls, improve upon their performance and learning activities at home and in school.  

  1. increase the number of (female) teachers
  2. advocate for improvements to programs to enable untrained teachers and national volunteer teachers interested in becoming qualified professional teachers
  3. support the development of systems for integration of child centred and inclusive methodologies into pre service teacher training
  4. promote dynamic, innovative and inspirational training for teachers at the cluster level
  5. provide relevant leadership and strengthen supervision skills and coaching of Head teachers to ensure both volunteer and professional teachers are managed better
  6. facilitate Performance Monitoring Tests (PMTs) or School Education Assessment (SEA) and School Performance Appraisal Meetings (SPAMs) as tools to continuously assess and improve upon children’s performance. SPAMs work with the wider community, especially parents and community leaders to increase community involvement in school management. SPAMS bring together community, school authorities and children to analyse school academic results, aggregate them by gender and subject and begin to ask questions and jointly find solutions to bring improvement in academic attainment and gender issues.
  7. carry out specific advocacy based research entitled Valuing Teachers in the first year which will examine teacher motivation and performance, both key to delivering quality education.

Outcome 3: School Management Committees / Parent-Teacher Associations and community leaders in 237 school communities in three districts in northern Ghana and civil society organisations in general will have the capacity and be actively engaged with each other and with other stakeholders to address school- and community-based barriers to girls’ education. 

  1. strengthen School Management Committees and Parent-Teacher Associations to engage with school management and improvement.
  2. advocate for and support the implementation of relevant government/GES policies, which promote girls’ access to quality education in particular, and improvements in the quality of education in general. This will be done through documenting and disseminating TENI’s experiences
  3. facilitate greater engagement between SMC/PTAs and community leaders with District Assemblies.

Project activities: TENI Phase 2 (June 2014 - May 2017)

  1. increased retention, completion and transition of girls and Children With Disabilities (CWDs) from primary to JHS levels in public schools in Talensi, Nabdam, Jirapa, West Mamprusi and Mamprugu-Moaduri  Districts
  2. improved learning outcomes for girls and CWDs in selected schools
  3. improved accountability of District Assemblies and education managers towards quality inclusive education for girls and children with disabilities.
  4. strengthened responsiveness of national level policy makers regarding policies and plans promoting quality basic education for girls and CWDs

Key achievements to date

  • Established, strengthened and operationalized gender clubs through training 180 peer educators.
  • Majority of target communities in all project districts have been mobilised and a synergy has been created between schools and communities through the activities of SMCs/PTAs.
  • Built & strengthened the capacity of SMC/PTA coalitions in education resource tracking. All SMC 250 executive members were given refresher training and showed capacity to track key education resource flow.
  • Organized annual School Performance Review to gather data on girls’ performance. 1,400 people were involved in data collection.
  • Provision of school-based mentoring interventions. Community support for the mentoring process was significant and 90 mentors were involved.
  • The leadership and governance styles and arrangements of Ghana Education Service are improving through the organisation of quarterly District senior management team meetings.
  • The use of project strategies (capacity building, sensitisation, voluntarism, research and learning and policy dialogue) have worked well to impact on the lives of the beneficiaries in the provision of services, child rights and improved behavioural change.
  • The project has created an enabling environment for constructive dialoguing between duty bearers and rights holders through its policy dialogue workshops and capacity building. This has resulted in giving voice to the vulnerable and the excluded to demand for and claim their rights.

[1] TENI will operate across the 3 districts by focusing interventions around school clusters of approximately 5 per community.

[1] MOESS, 2008 sector review

[1] Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Professional Network Association (ProNET) North, Link Community Development (LCD) and National Service Scheme (NSS).


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