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Past Projects

Improved Quality of Education in Mali (IQEA)
(2003 to 2008)

In 1999, the Malian Ministry of Education began an ambitious endeavor to reform and decentralize the national education system, and to improve the quality of basic education for girls and boys in Mali. To support this reform, World Education implemented IQEA, USAID's largest education initiative in Mali. This project was designed to support the Ministry's 10-year plan for development within the education sector (called PRODEC). World Education implemented IQEA in partnership with seven Malian NGOs, and the project and all activities were planned and implemented in close coordination with the Ministry, with input from USAID. IQEA initiatives focused particularly on three major components:
  • Improving teacher performance through in-and pre-service training
  • Curriculum development and testing for grades 3 to 6
  • Improving quality and equity in education through increased community participation
This project administered grants and provided technical assistance and capacity building to parents associations (APE), APE federations, school management committees, mothers' associations, and local NGOs. Important issues, such as gender equity and HIV awareness in education, were addressed throughout each of the three project components.

Over the course of the 2007-2008 school year—the fifth and final year of this program—the program achieved the following results:
  • 95% (663/699) of targeted schools met the "quality school" criteria. A quality school is one where at least four of the following six criteria are met:
    • The school director has been trained in planning, management, and monitoring & evaluation
    • 80% of teachers participate in 80% of the communities of learning (CA) meetings
    • 60% of teacher use appropriate teaching methodologies, student-centered learning, and classroom management techniques
    • 60% of teachers use gender-sensitive methodologies
    • Repetition rate for grades 1-5 is less than 10% (for each gender and combined)
    • Average daily attendance rates are no less than 90% (for each gender and combined)
  • 97% (680/699) of targeted schools met the "effective school" criteria. An effective school is one where at least five of the following seven criteria are met:
    • An annual improvement plan is developed and at least 70% of the activities are implemented
    • 90% of teachers are in school daily
    • 90% of students are in school daily
    • The director monitors and evaluates teachers pedagogic techniques at least once a month
    • 60% of teachers regularly evaluate and correct students' assignments, giving feedback for improvement
    • 60% of teachers conduct regular learning evaluations
    • 80% of teachers apply content of what they learned in the Communities of Learning
  • 99% (700/705) of the program's targeted schools completed 80% or more of their annual school improvement plan activities
  • 94% of teachers applied child-focused teaching methods
  • 95% of targeted school management committees (CGSs) met the functionality criteria
The CAs and the CGSs parents' associations, such as Mothers of Student Associations (AMEs), improved based on the program criteria measurements after about four years of implementation. In the last year of the program, a private sector/public sector partnership project was created between the gold mine Morila SA, the rural community of Sanso, and USAID. The educational activities of this tripartite project were conducted by World Education with funding from USAID.

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Northern Mali Secondary Scholarship Program
(2005 to 2008)

World Education, Mali—through funding from the U.S. Ambassador in Mali—executed the Ambassadors' Girls' Scholarship Program during the 2004-2005 school year in 99 schools in the regions of Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal. This sponsorship was the first of its kind to offer basic education opportunities in Mali, and it has been received with great success by the recipients, school authorities, and communities in these regions. Of the total number of sponsorship girls in 6th grade (989) in 2004-2005, 659 passed the entrance exam and were eligible to continue on to 7th grade. For this reason, World Education was presented with the challenge of finding the means to allow this cohort of girls to continue their education.

Through the Northern Mali Secondary Scholarship Program, World Education Mali supported girls who had successfully completed primary school through AGSP to do just that. The program provided scholarship support, linked girls with mentors, and worked with local AMEs to highlight the importance of girls' education across the greater community, including support from fathers, community and religious leaders, and government officials. The AMEs also played an important role in fostering a supportive environment for girls and by encouraging their attendance. World Education Mali rooted local support and ownership through strong networks of parents, local NGOs, and local businesses that helped support girls' education in the community.

Of the 621 girls who enrolled in 7th grade in the first year of the Northern Mali Secondary Scholarship Program, 331 went on to complete the 9th grade and received the Diplôme d'Etude Fondamentale. A 53% completion rate at this level of schooling is unprecedented for girls in Mali. All too often, girls are forced to drop out of school after starting puberty to become wives and mothers or to take on paid employment or home chores to support their families.

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Mali Girls' and Women's Literacy Pilot
(2003 to 2007)

Through the Mali Girls' and Women's Literacy Pilot, also known as Project Ellis, World Education developed mother/daughter classes taught by women. Measures were taken in the community to address the concerns of husbands and fathers with the hope that this pilot would pave the way for better recruitment and retention of women teachers. The linking of girls and their mothers encouraged older women to share knowledge with young women in the community. The target result was an integrated literacy program in which women teach other women and adolescent girls to read, write, and do math while learning about good health and nutrition, all the while promoting an exchange between mothers and girls.

In 2006, the program was evaluated. Of the 250 women who took basic literacy, 119 completed the course. Of those, 40% achieved a basic literacy level of reading, writing, adding, and subtracting. Of the 209 girls who took the basic literacy course, 127 took the test. Of those, 38% achieved a basic literacy level of reading, writing, and capacity to use the four basic mathematical operations, while an additional 39% achieved a basic literacy level of reading, writing, adding, and subtracting. Overall, the girls reported faster learning than the women. Of the 165 women and girls who participated in the post-literacy level courses, 99 sat for the final exam. Of those, 68% achieved a basic literacy level of reading, writing, and capacity to use the four basic mathematical operations. The remaining 32% achieved a basic literacy level of reading, writing, adding, and subtracting.

The evaluation noted many successes, including linking literacy to increased opportunities for women. As women became literate, they took on greater responsibilities vis-à-vis their communities. For example, they became envoys for regional meetings, and were charged with taking notes in Bambara and reporting back to their communities. In the village of Sirakorola, a woman who had been a member of an advisory council to the mayor was given a promotion to be the communication officer for the mayor—a post she could not have held had she not become literate.

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Projecteur Kinkajou
Kinkajou projector

Global Alliance for Illumination in Education in Mali: Project Kinkajou
(2004 to 2007)

Across Mali, adult literacy classes formed at the request of parents mobilized to advocate schooling for their children. Since people worked during the day, they met at night in dark classrooms, huddled around a few oil lamps and flashlights since there was no electricity. They struggled to see the textbooks and learning materials.

In this exciting initiative, World Education Mali partnered with Design that Matters (DtM), an MIT-based nonprofit, to develop a program focusing on a low-cost, solar battery-powered projector used in evening classes. The Kinkajou projector combines cutting edge light emitting diode (LED) technology with durable microfilm. Literacy material provided by World Education was converted to microfilm, which was stored on reels and inserted in the sturdy projector. The project, funded by USAID, had three main objectives:

  • Increase access to adult literacy by increasing the capacity of educators to teach at night
  • Enhance motivation and learning via the use of new educational technology appropriate to developing countries
  • Shift the manufacture of new technologies to local manufacturers

The Kinkajou innovation proved that even in rural areas, literacy classes can be successfully conducted at night. By using solar-charged batteries to run projectors, World Education was able to address a serious impediment to learning. In 2005, Kinkajou centers were pilot tested in comparison to night literacy classes with no projector and daytime literacy classes. The study showed that 59% of Kinkajou learners acquired basic literacy, surpassing both the daytime learners (56%) and night time learners without the Kinkajou (38%).

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Decreasing Gender and Geographic Disparities in Education in Mali
(2004 to 2005)

This project supported girls in the northern regions of Gao, Kidal, and Timbuktu with scholarships that covered school supplies and fees and also financed study groups and remedial courses. Other project-sponsored activities included mentoring activities with positive female role models from their communities and gender equity awareness-building activities with school management committees, parents' associations, and mothers' associations.

This 1-year project was funded by USAID and was the precursor to the larger Ambassadors' Girls' Scholarship Program.

This program provided 5,000 girls in grades 4, 5, and 6 with scholarships to primary schools.

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