Leave No Girl Behind: Evaluation of Teach and Educate Adolescent girls with Community Help (TEACH) projectPakistan
Teach and Educate Adolescent Girls with Community Help (TEACH), was a 4-year project which targeted 29,000 out-of-school (OOS) girls aged 10 to 19 years in five districts namely Chaghi, Nushki, Pishin, Killa Abdullah and Kharan, in Balochistan province, Pakistan. The project offered two age-appropriate intervention streams; LEARN stream which aimed at improving learning outcomes through an accelerated learning program (ALP) and enabling the transition to formal or non-formal education for girls aged 10-14 years, and the EARN stream which adopted skills-based approach for older girls (15-19 years) to equip them with market-relevant skills, enabling their transition into self-employment. We adopted a quasi-experimental pre-post, longitudinal, mixed methods research design for evaluation studies to identify the changes in the learning and transition outcomes. The studies aimed at answering the following research questions:
- Learning: What are the outcomes in the learning (literacy, numeracy, life skills, and financial literacy) of girls who participate in TEACH, and to what degree do the project activities help them catch up with their in-school counterparts?
- Transition: How the interventions affected girls’ transition to formal education and/or safe and fairly paid self/employment?
- Intersectionality: How do the effects of TEACH on girls’ learning and transition outcomes vary for different subgroups of girls, specifically, girls with disabilities; young mothers or pregnant; married early; from the poorest households; orphan girls and girls whose home language is different from the language of instruction?
- Stakeholders/operational environment: What are the variety of experiences of different stakeholders with the intervention, and what are their perceptions of the different components of the intervention?
To answer the above research questions, we conducted various research studies and evaluations. These include:
- TEACH Program Evaluation
Using a cluster-based multistage sampling method, a sample of 2024 girls aged 10–19 years was tracked over time ensuring inclusion of highly marginalized sub-groups such as girls with disabilities, married, pregnant, orphan, and those with language barriers. We compared their learning (literacy, numeracy, life skills, financial literacy & SEL) & transition outcomes both at the baseline & end line. Additionally, we established literacy and numeracy benchmarks at baseline by collecting data from a sample of 250 girls aged 10-14 years who were in formal school (in grades 1 through 5). At baseline, 63% of the girls had never been to school, while the remaining 37% of girls dropped out of school, thereby indicating that the project had targeted educationally marginalized girls. Furthermore, 15% of the enrolled girls had a disability, and 19% were engaged in income-generating activities. We identified different barriers to girls’ education and highlighted a lack of vocational centers and poor chances of employability.
At midline, there were observed improvements in literacy, numeracy, SEL, & financial literacy outcomes of girls aged 15-19 years. Compared to the girls’ baseline scores, we noted a 45.49% increase in their literacy scores, a 35.83% increase in their numeracy scores, a 54.18% increase in their financial literacy scores, and a 47% increase in their SEL results. The end-line findings indicated that there were statistically significant improvements in both literacy and numeracy skills of all 11,941 girls. About 85.8% of the girls had shown an increase in their SEL scores, with a better performance observed among girls who were married, Pashto speakers, and those aged 15-19 years. The TEACH project successfully transitioned 49.7% of the girls in the LEARN stream into formal education, whereas 746 girls in the EARN stream successfully transitioned to self-employment.
- Tracer Studies
We also conducted a mixed method First Tracer study and a follow-up Tracer studyto assess the effectiveness and impact created by the EARN component of TEACH’s project on employment, income generation outcomes, and empowerment. The girls who completed the EARN interventions package felt ‘moderately empowered’ and reported that the training toolkits and the business grants were very effective in enhancing their skills, increasing their clientage, improving their efficiency, and increasing their income. The tracer studies also demonstrated that adolescent girls were better off self-employed than working on salary and wages, with 95% and 71% (first and follow-up studies respectively) of the girls in the TEACH Earn program successfully transitioning into self-employment and earning 50% and 93% higher income (first and follow-up studies respectively), than what they would have earned if they were employed.
- Alternate Education Delivery Platforms for Hard-to-Reach Areas of Balochistan
During the Covid-19 lockdown period, TEACH project introduced alternate methods to support learning of the targeted girls. We designed a remote learning program using radio lessons for hard-to-reach girls and complement the learning in the home-based centers. To understand the effectiveness of radio-based learning programs in Balochistan, we conducted a mixed-method study with 392 girls enrolled in the radio program. The study findings indicated that 60% of the girls agreed that radio lessons increased their learning skills (reading, listening, and comprehension), knowledge, and abilities. The radio lessons remained effective in increasing the clarity of concepts learned in the Home-based centers. More than 70% of girls indicated that WhatsApp was a better medium of delivery as they were able to refer back to lessons multiple times for better clarity. The girls recommended a mentor (listening buddy at home) who would explain the lessons’ content for better clarity.
- Role of Public Awareness in Girls’ Education
The IRC conducted a mixed-method study to evaluate the success of awareness campaign strategies to increase public awareness on the importance of girls’ education in project targeted districts. The study findings indicated that the public awareness campaign strategies created an enabling environment that boosted girls’ enrollment. At the awareness-raising level, 92% of people were aware of the key messages about girls’ education, and 40% of people became actively engaged through village support groups and tea/coffee gatherings. Additionally, 85% and 73% of the people reported changing their behavior and social norms respectively in relation to early marriages and girls’ education. About 3 in every 10 - both male and female reported attending community meetings to press governmental decision-makers to act in their communities’ best interests, particularly in relation to girls’ education. We also found that conventional engagement techniques such as Men ‘engaging men’ for awareness and using ‘locally educated girls as role models for improving girls’ education’ were generally superior to digital methods in the study areas.
- Gender Transformations with Livelihood Interventions of TEACH Project
The IRC also conducted a mixed-method study to examine gender transformative changes among adolescent girls brought by implementation of EARN stream. In this study, the target population was 2406 girls aged 15-19 years equipped with income savings & generation skills, and seed business grants to support them in transitioning to self-employment or employment. The study findings showed that these interventions improved longer-term life chances for girls such as self-reliance, income generation, and influencing individual and collective agency of women, girls, men, and boys. The TEACH program played an essential role in advancing gender-responsive community engagement, establishing 122 community-based vocational training centers registered with Trade testing board, provided Seed Grants, Trade Specific Toolkits, and established 25 Production Centers, and promoted localization through recruitment and capacity building of 827 female instructors within the targeted communities.
The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.