- Now in the final year of the LEGACY Initiative, the IRC is working toward successfully completing its work while ensuring that its programs are sustainable.
- During year four of the LEGACY Initiative (October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010), the IRC made significant progress in its work to improve education and promote stability in Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, and Liberia. The IRC increased school enrollment, especially for girls, strengthened relationships with its partners, bolstered the capacity of local, district, and national governments and organizations to continue LEGACY's work, and influenced national education policy.
- In 2010, LEGACY provided tens of thousand of children and youth with access to education and training. LEGACY-supported schools and vocational training centers (VTCs) enrolled 18,403 students in the 2009-2010 academic year - an 81% increase from the 2007-2008 year. In addition, 8,557 girls (46% of total enrollments) benefitted from LEGACY, an increase of 90% from 2007. Since then, girls' enrollment has grown at a much faster rate than for boys in all three countries. Evening classes supported by LEGACY in Liberia were particularly important in providing learning opportunities for out-of-school girls and young mothers.
- LEGACY-supported civil registries in Côte d'Ivoire registered over 17,000 children, nearly half of whom were girls. Having official documents gives children access to public services such as health and education. In Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire, LEGACY staff continued to encourage girls and women to access vocational skills and trades that have been traditionally dominated by men, including auto mechanics, electrical work, and construction.
- Following are a few highpoints of 2010:
· With strong advocacy from the IRC, the Government of Sierra Leone finalized a new policy for teacher training and laid the groundwork for establishing a Teaching Service Commission responsible for teacher management. Both of these initiatives will improve teacher development.
· IRC and its partners have been working with the government to develop a new national education policy to replace the one created in 1995. As part of these changes, the government has recommended requiring early childhood education for all and adding an additional year to senior secondary school.
· Following advocacy from the IRC, the Ministry of Education developed a new comprehensive education policy that will strengthen its education system as it continues to recover. This new policy addresses the critical need for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for youth, which the IRC had recommended.
· The IRC continued to work to reform the TVET sector and develop a three-year implementation plan based on its national Education Sector Plan. A cabinet reshuffle unfortunately delayed the plan's implementation this year. However, the IRC is working to build strong relationships with the new Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Education as the IRC continues this effort.
- During this final year, the IRC will focus on documenting LEGACY activities and evaluating overall achievements in Côte d'Ivoire. It also plans to develop and share a documentary on its birth registration activities. IRC staff will document the process and model for accrediting non-formal vocational training and integrating life skills into teaching programs. An external reviewer will also evaluate LEGACY's curriculum work with non-formal vocational centers.
- As LEGACY comes to a close, the Liberia team will ensure that all community education plans are completed while continuing to monitor school activities. In addition, IRC staff will document and share lessons learned from LEGACY with key education stakeholders. The Liberia team will also continue its advocacy work to enact the new TVET law.
- In Sierra Leone, the IRC will focus on curriculum development and the Distance Education Module. The IRC will continue training teacher training college department heads and lecturers on the revised HTC curriculum and support DEM training at TTCs planning to pilot the program. Finally, the IRC will conduct a final evaluation of its work in Kenema and Kono, continue with advocacy work, and provide technical support.
Highlights from in country include:
- Provided 1,748 students without birth certificates with a temporary document called Attestation d'Identité Scolaire, which allowed them to sit for end of primary school exams.
- Out of 5,424 births registered at hospitals/health centers, 2 901 children (53%) aged between 0-3 months were declared at civil registries in project sites between January and September 2008. Declaration is the first step towards birth registration.
- Conducted 13 training sessions on topics such as child rights, advocacy skills, and different communication strategies. 298 participants (including 138 women) took part in the trainings.
- Successfully advocated for the creation of the National Working Group (NWG), made up of officials of government ministries, non-governmental institutions, Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) organizations, and private sector.
- Supported NWG as it conducted an assessment of girls' participation in TVET Advocated for revised admission criteria for targeted vocational and technical centers, which state that the centers should admit a minimum of 40% girls.
- Made agreements with communities in Tinsu, Telemu, Kpayaquelleh and New Yekepa, through which PTAs in those communities have now begun night/evening classes for girls who either have to work or fulfill domestic duties during the day, and have not had access to primary education.
- Initiated joint community visits with the Gender-Based Violence Program and Legacy staff in two communities (Yabaima and Sembehun) in Kenema District . LEGACY staff invited the whole community to these meetings in order to raise awareness among the community members and the students on the three Gender Acts passed by Parliament in 2007, as well as on gender-based violence in general. Meetings were well-attended, with an average of 200 persons at each meeting.
- Conducted reinforcement training in 52 village literacy centers from April to July 2008 in response to lower than expected results on the random exams.
- Identified Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as target countries.
- Launched a hiring process to establish local IRC staff in each country to administer the
- Following launch, this commitment is expected to impact the lives of a minimum of 35,000 children and youth, 19,000 teachers and educational leaders, and lay the groundwork for sustainable educational systems that will eventually serve all school-age children in West Africa.
The LEGACY Initiative helped meet immediate the educational needs of Liberia and Sierra Leone's most marginalized children and youth through providing tuition, school uniforms, and scholastic and skills training materials, which were made possible by the NoVo Foundation. In addition, the IRC employed and trained teachers, bought basic teaching supplies, provided students with uniforms and school supplies, and kept schools open so the refugee children remaining in the camp could continue their education.
In Cote d'Ivoire, over 10 schools - both primary and vocational education institutions - were reconstructed in communities hit hard by conflict. With the assistance of the LEGACY Initiative, the IRC was able to rebuild these schools and form community committees to sustain them in the years ahead. In addition to meeting immediate educational needs, the IRC conducted detailed situation analyses of educational contexts and the well-being of girls and boys in LEGACY Initiative countries. The resulting data provides a rich and detailed picture of the numerous challenges facing the war-torn nations of West Africa and assisted in the project design for LEGACY's future
Hosted the third meeting of the Funders' Group on Education in the Developing World. The purpose of this meeting was to cover strategy development as well as opportunities for collaboration and field building that could be undertaken as a group.
Took part in the second meeting of the Funders Group on Education in the Developing World. The IRC held a four day workshop where members reviewed the Legacy strategy and its relationship to their particular country contexts and programs, practiced how to communicate this strategy to external audiences, and determined the regional and country level management structures for the project. Team members also finalized next steps and point people for each action. The IRC has been able to identify cultivating and supporting local partners. These partners include persons from government ministries to those running schools, women's centers, hospitals, and other organizations that are essential to the rebuilding efforts in West Africa.
Participated in six day trip to Sierra Leone and Liberia with the IRC. The first part of the trip focused on Liberia where a meeting was arranged with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Additional meetings took place with IRC program staff and teachers, at schools and vocational education programs. The second part of the trip focused on Sierra Leone where meetings were arranged with IRC program staff, as well as visits to community-based schools, gender-based violence clinics and the Kenema Refugee Camp.
- Since the commencement of the commitment, 30,000 girls and boys have accessed education and/or been able to learn better due to the provision of school supplies, uniforms, vocational education equipment, and tuition in addition to 1,500 teachers being trained in how to use new pedagogical skills, such as child-centered learning, and how to better understand the needs of girls and especially marginalized children, such as child laborers.
- 150 schools and 25 vocational education institutions are better able to function now because of new school furniture, text books, teaching supplies, and equipment.
- In June 2008, NoVo Foundation convened a small group of funders who share an interest in Liberia to reflect on their grant-making and explore whether there are emerging opportunities for collaboration; at the meeting, NoVo shared information on the LEGACY Initiative for those funders interested in supporting the rebuilding of the educational system in West Africa.