Increasing parent and community engagement in children’s learning in Tanzania

R4D is leading a rapid feedback study to inform the Tusome Pamoja early grade reading program in Tanzania as it works to strengthen community engagement in children’s learning.

The Challenge 

Children’s learning is not limited to the classroom. In fact, a robust evidence base indicates that children experience remarkable gains when exposed to rich learning opportunities at home and in the broader community. Unfortunately, many under-resourced communities in Tanzania have low levels of parent and community engagement in education. Poor transparency and accountability between schools and families, cultural norms, and parents’ perceptions of their own low levels of education as a limitation are a few of the barriers to generating meaningful engagement in children’s learning.  

The Opportunity

Tusome Pamoja is a program implemented by RTI International with support from USAID that aims to improve primary school children’s reading, writing, and arithmetic (the 3Rs) in five regions of Tanzania. To achieve this goal, one of Tusome Pamoja’s three strategies focuses on increasing effective parent and community engagement through community mobilization and action planning, creation of parent teacher partnerships, and capacity building of school committees.  

Rapid Feedback Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (Rapid Feedback MERL) is a rigorous, yet flexible approach for generating timely and useful data for programs in the early stages of implementation. The Rapid Feedback MERL Consortium, led by R4D, is conducting a two-year rapid feedback study to support Tusome Pamoja by examining how different program activities contribute to increased parental and community engagement, and how these are linked to changes in learning outcomes. This study is being carried out in close collaboration with Tusome Pamoja to ensure its relevance and utility for future programmatic decisions. 

Our Work 

Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, this study will follow a cohort of communities over the program’s first two years. During the first year, R4D will identify which program activities appear 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 examine the relationship between community engagement and learning outcomes.  

This study will collect frequent and timely data for regular “learning checks”, where all partners come together to reflect on the findings, brainstorm ways to refine implementation, and iterate accordingly. 

This study is one of several pilots R4D is carrying out in partnership with the Rapid Feedback MERL Consortium as part of the USAID Global Development Lab’s MERLIN program. 

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