Education and Youth Empowerment

Learning Interventions

The Center, as one of a handful of institutions conducting research on education in sub-Saharan Africa, has made substantive contributions to the understanding barriers to schooling, quality in teaching, and measurement of
learning outcomes – especially among poor and marginalized populations in both urban and rural East Africa. Intervention models piloted during the last strategic period looked to improve retention of adolescent girls and boys in school and to encourage transition to secondary school among some of the populations most vulnerable to discontinued schooling: residents of urban slums.

There are, however, huge gaps that remain in understanding the role of quality education in meeting the development challenges confronting sub-Saharan Africa, and the extent to which education, vocational training and skills building can contribute to substantive and quality human capital to deliver on the promise of a demographic dividend. We need better understanding of what is needed to build the necessary human capital in order to fully
harness the potential of Africa’s young people to meet development goals. This calls for a broadening of the research agenda beyond basic formal education to other forms of training aimed to build the skills of young people as they prepare for the world of work.

The overarching goal of this Unit is to generate evidence that will promote stronger, more inclusive education systems across Africa, in three programmatic areas:

The signature issue for this Unit is understanding how to make Africa’s education systems more inclusive and equitable. We will seek to consolidate evidence on access to schooling and quality of learning among marginalized populations and explore the influences of management and administrative practices in schools. This includes developing and evaluating interventions and instructional approaches for improving quality and learning outcomes.

The unit will also aim to understand pathways to productive human capital in Africa by examining structural enablers in the transition from education and training to the world of work for youth, and the match (or mismatch)
between skills required in the labor market and skills output from existing education systems.

The third program of work will examine the alignment of education policies to national development goals. This will entail an analysis of education policies in sub-Saharan African countries for concurrence, contradictions, duplications and overlaps, and relevance to national and global development goals. Working with the Research Capacity Strengthening division, this program will also examine the role and contribution of higher education to
national development in Africa.

Featured Project

Advancing Learning Outcomes and Leadership Skills among Children in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements through Community Participation (A LOT-Change)

Program: Education and Youth Empowerment

Advancing Learning Outcomes and Leadership Skills among Children in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements through Community Participation (A LOT-Change) project is a three-year study seeking to increase efforts towards securing the future of children in the urban informal settlements by improving learning outcomes, transition to secondary schools, leadership skills and positive social behaviour among girls and boys aged 12-19 years who live in urban informal settlements. To achieve these outcomes, the study will undertake the following activities: afterschool support on numeracy and literacy, mentorship on life skills, provide subsidies to children in the program in 2019, expose parents to guidance and counselling, and expose girls and boys to opportunities to enhance leadership skills. This follows the successful implementation of the pilot phase in 2013-2015 that was titled: “Improving learning outcomes and transition to secondary school through community participation and after school support among disadvantaged girls”.

The study aims at securing the future of children in the urban informal settlements and below are the specific objectives:

  • To establish whether there is a differential effect of the proposed intervention on learning outcomes and transition to secondary school between boys and girls in Korogocho and Viwandani.
  • To examine whether mentoring in life skills impacts differently among girls and boys in terms of positive behaviour, aspirations, interest in schooling and self-confidence.
  • To establish the impacts of leadership skills on various outcomes (learning outcomes, role modelling, taking up leadership) among boys and girls in the study communities.
  • To establish whether parental sensitization component of the intervention increases parents and community leaders support towards children’s education in Korogocho and Viwandani.

It is expected that this project will inform the development of an effective and scalable model for enhancing learning outcomes, transition to secondary schools, leadership skills and positive social behaviour for children residing in resource limited settings across Kenya and indeed the sub-Saharan Africa region.

Partner Institutions: 

U-Tena Youth Organization and Miss Koch Kenya will be responsible for the implementation of the project in Viwandani and Korogocho respectively.

Project Period: 

2016 – 2018

 

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