In Somalia, accelerated basic education programming is primarily implemented and funded through INGOs, NGOs, and donors, and is part of the non-formal education system. USAID/Somalia is funding the Bar ama Baro (BaB) – “Teach or Learn” program to increase access to quality education for out-of-school children and youth through accelerated education. The BaB program (implemented by an international consortium led by Creative Associates) aims to reintegrate and fast-track over-aged out-of-school children by giving them the opportunity to complete 2 years of the basic education curriculum in a single year, in order to increase access to quality accelerated basic education for out-of-school children and youth (OOSCY) ages 9-16 in targeted regions and districts of Somalia. This is typically done through compressing the curriculum, reducing the amount of classroom time required. The BaB program external evaluation is being implemented by LASER-PULSE led by Purdue University (USA) in collaboration with Makerere University-ResilientAfrica Network (RAN), Uganda and Somali Research and Development Institute (SORDI – Somalia). 

This cross-learning workshop in Nairobi, Kenya organized by USAID Somalia aimed at sharing lessons learnt from the implementation and evaluation approaches between BaB and Adolescent Girls Education in Somalia (AGES), an accelerated basic education program for Somalia targeting girls. The cross-learning event supported generation of relevant perspectives that will shape future implementation of similar programs and evaluations. 

Breakout group discussions characterised day 2 of the cross-learning event

The cross-learning event was an opportunity for participants to contribute to responding to the following questions:  

  1. What are the similarities and differences in the evaluation purposes, questions, and methodological approaches?
  1. How consistent are trends across disaggregated datasets for EGRA, EGMA and socio-emotional learning (including psychosocial) outcomes? What barriers are revealed and what programmatic and/or contextual elements hold promise for addressing barriers? How are those barriers shifting over time? 
  1. How are partners transforming the evaluation findings and recommendations into actions? What is working and what is not working? How different can we do/implement the accelerated learning programs in Somalia? What are the other alternatives to explore to improve learning outcomes, access and retention?
  2. What types of accountability measures are necessary to ensure reliability and integrity of program data? How are partners dealing with integrity and reliability issues in data?

In this cross-learning, Purdue University was represented by Dr. Wilella Burgess (Director Evaluation and Learning Research Center/Purdue University and LASER PULSE BaB Research evaluation team lead), Dr. Jennifer Sdunzik (Evaluation Qualitative expert/Purdue University), Dr. Ann Bessenbacher (Data management expert and data scientist/Purdue University) and Dr. Weiling Li (Data analyst/Purdue University). The Makerere University-ResilientAfrica Network was represented by Anthony Ssebagereka (RAN Research lead) and Dr. Omala Kizito (RAN EGRA/EGMA expert), while the SORDI was represented by Prof. Abdirisak Dalmar (CEO of SORDI), Dr. Mohamed Jimale (senior researcher), Asia Mohamud (researcher), and Omar Abullahi (researcher).

Nicole Murray, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Humanitarian, Resilience and Human Development Team Leader giving closing remarks at the cross-learning event

Compiled by: Anthony Ssebagereka, RAN Research Lead and Harriet Adong, RAN Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management