Impact Evaluation of GEC Tiphunzire Project by Theatre for a Change Malawi
The Tiphunzire project assumed that by improving marginalized girls’ sexual and reproductive health, girls will be empowered to make better life decisions, remain or enroll in school and seek to improve their own learning and skills. By supporting schools to adopt child protection policies and practices the project also aimed to make schools safer places where girls who fear abuse or have been victims of abuse are likely to attend.
The project was funded by DFID's Girls Education Challenge Fund, which aims to help up to a million of the world’s poorest girls improve their lives through education.
At the impact level, the project aimed to improve the life chances of marginalized girls by supporting girls participating in the project to enroll and stay in school and to improve their learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy.
At schools, TfaC-supported teachers are known as Agents of Change (AoCs). AoCs are trained in TfaC’s unique method to promote behavior change, which uses aspects of participatory learning and interactive drama.
TfaC’s intervention was delivered in schools in the form of Girls’ Clubs and in communities through outreach activities.
Girls’ Clubs were organized once a week as an extracurricular activity offered by the AoC and are attended by approximately forty in-school (IS) and out-of-school girls (OS). The girls’ club curriculum incorporated interactive group activities to build self-confidence, drama-based activities to address real-life situations, and exercises to train literacy and numeracy skills.
Tiphunzire promoted education, gender and sexual reproductive health rights in communities through Community Listening Clubs and radio programming and organized periodical Open Days in schools to encourage school enrollment and parental engagement. TfaC developed strategic partnerships with local government and civic society organizations through the intervention model and institutionalized child protection policy (CPP) mechanisms in schools to make them safe and conducive to learning.
Scope of Work
After three years of implementation, the Endline Study aimed to obtain rigorous evidence to answer the following questions:
To what extent has the project reached and affected marginalised girls?
What impact has Tiphunzire had on marginalised girls’ learning?
What impact has Tiphunzire had on enabling marginalised girls to be in school?
What has worked, why and with what effects?
How sustainable are any changes the project has led to?
The study aimedto assess the project’s contribution to the changes in impact-level outcomes using a cohort-tracking design. This cohort-tracking design enables empirical observations on the changes in project outcomes, most notably in the changes in literacy, numeracy, attendance, and enrollment of marginalized girls over the course of the intervention. To measure a change in the level of learning outcomes, we relied on a cross-sectional approach for baseline-to-midline, and midline-to-endline comparisons.
Through a mixed-methods approach, this evaluation sought to study how the development of self-esteem and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) knowledge among girl participants influenced their education and improved their chances in life through better decision making.
Standardized literacy and numeracy data was gathered using the Malawi Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA). Attendance data was gathered at the individual-level from attendance registers made available to the data collection team at participating schools. Attendance registers were periodically verified through three random spot-check visits to the schools to ensure the validity and reliability of the data and assess whether attendance trends changed throughout the year.
The evaluation also relied on the administration of primary research instruments to collect attitudinal and demographic data for intervention participants using the Girls’ Semi-Structured Questionnaire, the Household Survey and ad-hoc questionnaires, key informant interviews (KIIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs).
From Baseline to Midline, the cross-sectional regression model found that the Tiphunzire project had an impact at the p<.05 significant level on literacy (p=.037). Tiphunzire accounted for 4.1 points of EGRA7 improvements made by the treatment group by the time of the Midline Evaluation. The model was able to explain 18.1% of variance in the data, which is a very good predictive power according to Cohen’s criteria.
From Midline to Endline, the regression model found that the Tiphunzire project had an impact on numeracy outcomes (p=.000) as measured through an overall EGMA percentage . Tiphunzire accountedfor 4.4% points of EGMA improvements made over and above the control group between the two periods.
From Baseline to Midline, the project made a significant contribution in affecting the chances a girl is enrolled in school. According to the logistic regression model, a girl was 6.2 times more likely to be enrolled in school when attending the Girls’ Club, compared to their peers in control schools.
Building the confidence and self-efficacy of girls positively impacts girls’ attendance and learning because they the enhance effort, persistence and resilience and promote a more positive perception of one’s self. Through the girls’ clubs, the intervention had a significant impact on the academic self-efficacy of girls. Girls in the treatment schools improved more than the girls in control schools and even score higher at Endline, despite the fact that their scores were lower at the start of the intervention. These variables are found to be very important predictors of learning outcomes, suggesting that the intervention had both an indirect and direct effect on the learning and access of girls to school.