WASHINGTON, D.C. — Results for Development (R4D) is leading two rapid feedback evaluations to strengthen programs in Tanzania and Senegal focused on increasing parent and community engagement in children’s learning. The evaluations are funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Rapid Feedback Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (RF MERL) is a rigorous yet flexible approach for generating timely and useful data for programs in the early stages of implementation. Rapid feedback evaluations allow implementers to use context-specific and timely evidence to inform ongoing program improvement.
In Tanzania, R4D will be working with the Tusome Pamoja (Let’s Read Together) program, a USAID-funded program implemented by RTI International, that aims to improve primary school children’s reading, writing and arithmetic in five regions of Tanzania. R4D will use quantitative and qualitative methods over a two-year period to identify which activities are most effective at increasing parent and community engagement and how this may vary by geography, socioeconomic status, or other key community characteristics. During the second year, R4D will also examine the relationship between community engagement and learning outcomes.
In Senegal, R4D will be working with the Lecture Pour Tous (Reading for All) program, a USAID-funded program implemented by Chemonics, that aims to increase the use of books by family and community members to foster a habit of reading among children. Over a one-year period, R4D will explore and test interventions to increase the use of books in families and communities.
Both initiatives are critical to encourage children’s learning outside of the classroom. Often, parents and community members are not meaningfully engaged in children’s learning for a number of reasons, including cultural norms, a lack of access to books and their own low levels of education.
“Together, these studies will significantly enhance the education sector’s understanding of how to increase parent and community engagement,” said Molly Jamieson Eberhardt, a program director at Results for Development. “In addition to quantitative data collection on parent and community behaviors, our approach includes significant qualitative data collection. This will allow us not only to understand whether certain activities have an effect on engagement levels, but why that is the case in certain contexts and not others, and how those activities need to be implemented to ensure success. We believe this work will therefore not only benefit USAID’s early grade reading programs in Tanzania and Senegal but also be a resource to inform others’ efforts to increase parent and community engagement.”
In both Tanzania and Senegal, R4D will conduct multiple rounds of data collection and share findings with the programs via “learning checks,” in which program staff and R4D come together to reflect on the findings, brainstorm ways to refine implementation and iterate accordingly.
The evaluations are part of the Rapid Feedback Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) initiative — an initiative launched by USAID’s Global Development Lab to improve rapid learning and adaptive management in the design and implementation of activities funded by USAID. R4D leads the Rapid Feedback MERL initiative, which also includes Mathematica Policy Research, Abt Associates and the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD). To learn more about the Rapid Feedback MERL initiative, visit: R4d.org/RFMERL .
About Results for Development
Results for Development (R4D) is a leading non-profit global development partner. We collaborate with change agents around the world — government officials, civil society leaders and social innovators — to create strong systems that support healthy, educated people. We help our partners move from knowing their goal to knowing how to reach it. We combine global expertise in health, education and nutrition with analytic rigor, practical support for decision-making and implementation and access to peer problem-solving networks. Together with our partners, we build self-sustaining systems that serve everyone and deliver lasting results. Then we share what we learn so others can achieve results for development, too. For more information, visit our website at: www.r4d.org.
Featured photo © Tobin Jones