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Malawi, Joint Programme for Girls Education: Evaluation

Cover of the report
This decentralized evaluation was jointly commissioned by the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST); World Food Programme; United Nations Population Fund and United Nations Children’s Fund and covers the Joint Programme for Girls Education Phase 1(JPGE I) with financial support from the Norwegian Government (July 2014 – October 2017). The evaluation was carried out in 2018.

The evaluation was commissioned to document achievements and the potential to improve access to and quality of education for girls through JPGE's holistic and human rights-based approach, the operational processes, successes and challenges and JPGE’s contributions to Government capacity building and the potential to implement similar programmes in the future. It was intended for both accountability and learning purposes.  It focused on assessing the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, sustainability, coherence and as well as looking into the coordination and partnership between UN organizations and the Government.

The overarching evaluation questions were: (i) Are programme objectives still valid and appropriate, (ii) To what extent were the objectives achieved and what were the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the objectives? (iii) Was the programme efficiently implemented? (iv) What changes are there as a result of the programme? (v) To what extent are the benefits of the programme likely to continue after donor funding ceased? (vi) What programme management mechanisms enhanced the programme?

Some of the key conclusions of the evaluation included (i) The integrated approach to keeping girls and boys in school, incorporating food security and nutrition, quality of education and access to SRHR, has appeared essential. The approach facilitated combining resources and specific knowledge and expertise. It enabled the various UN agencies to cover the same target group with different forms of support. This helped achieve objectives such as enrolment, attendance and lower dropout; (ii) JPGE enabled multiplier effects by increasing income of parent farmers and simultaneously improving the school conditions, health access and providing food to pupils. School meals were appreciated but probably not sustainable based on lack of Government resources and (iii) JPGE did not manage to sufficiently engage parents. As a result, they were not fully committed to their daughters’ education, leading to the risk of achievements at school level being undone. The incidence of girls experiencing sexual violence had not decreased since baseline, and the worrying pregnancy rate of girls had remained the same, in spite of achievements of JPGE in output areas that were expected to have had a decreasing effect.

Key recommendations from the evaluation included:

  • Conduct in-depth studies and analyses into issues related to girls’ access to education to improve the effect and impact of the programme
  • Engage and create awareness for parents and mothers in JPGE phase 2 (JPGE II)
  • Improve coordination and fully engage central and local Government bodies responsible for education, gender, health and sports in all stages of JPGE II
  • Incorporate stronger or more innovative components into JPGE II to strengthen sustainability
  • Develop an M&E framework and system for JPGE II to facilitate synergetic data collection and decision-making