With the support of the Hilton Foundation, the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network- Africa (JENA) launched the Bakhita Partnership for Education in October 2020 as a platform for collaboration among some Catholic Church actors in the field of education to protect girls’ right to quality education during COVID-19 and beyond. Currently, the BPE has pilot programs in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia and so the partnership is among the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA), the Association of Religious of Uganda (ARU), the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya (AOSK), and the Zambia Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS).
Through the BPE, the Jesuits, the Catholic sisters and their collaborators who have a very large network of schools across countries in Africa leverage their long experience in education to advocate for better pathways for holistic education and formation and suggest policy responses to the crisis of education in Africa.
The overall objective of the programme is to ensure 100 percent retention and to improve access and quality of education for girls in the targeted countries and schools. The overall objective will be achieved through pursuit of 7 primary and related outcomes:
- Girls and boys in targeted schools are well nourished and able to stay in school
- Increased access to second chance education for both in and out of school girls in targeted schools and communities.
- Quality moral education and integrated youth friendly services, resources and structures, addressing CSE, SRHR, HIV/AIDS and GBV in place for both in and out of school girls
- Reduction of violence against girls in targeted schools and communities and effective referral pathways in place
- Teacher attitudes and skills are improved/enhanced to effectively deliver life skills and gender responsive methodologies
- Adolescent girls are informed, participate and take on leadership positions within the school and the community
- Empowered and committed communities will value quality education for all children, especially girls
The project will seek to strengthen Catholic sisters’ capacity as influencers, both locally and internationally. The capacity building is twofold, individual and organizational. The project will strengthen the abilities and skills of individual Sisters to engage in social and policy advocacy. It will also enhance the Catholic Sisters’ network structures, resources, and processes to drive policy advocacy agenda, both local and international. Participatory learning will occur through training on the social change process, advocacy, sensitization, and lobbying.
The project will put emphasis on the psychosocial and spiritual accompaniment of girls especially those who would have experienced gender-based violence, early pregnancies, forced marriages, and associated trauma. The psychosocial support will promote restoration and confidence development.
This intervention is inter-sectorial in nature and recognizes the myriad issues that impact girl’s access to education and their ability to complete it. The intervention focuses on Catholic schools in poorer areas as the entry point where the relevant Catholic Church agencies are able to apply their technical expertise and leverage change to the greatest extent (as compared to the home where children also spend some of their time). The project will be managed through the establishment of a steering committee and technical committee. An overall project coordinator will be recruited and supported by a project coordinator for each country. Existing coordinating mechanisms in the Sisters’ Associations and Jesuit set ups will be used for country implementation. The program proposes a joint monitoring and evaluation framework to track project results and meet accountability requirements. The framework is aligned with key education goals as proposed in the targeted countries’ Ministry of Education’s strategic objectives.
The basic theory of change postulated by this proposal is that improved access and quality of education for girls can only be achieved through a mitigation of multiple factors that inhibit girls’ access to quality education.
Based upon this theory of change, a set of both short- and long-term key results are expected. In an effort to remain holistic, these key results were chosen as the best indicators to measure the achievements in which all agencies contribute significantly to through their joint and individual activities. In the short term, or the first year of the intervention, key expected results include:
- Increased retention and attendance for girls in the targeted schools;
- Reduced dropout rates for girls in the targeted schools;
- Increased percentage of dropouts who returned/readmitted to school or non-formal education.
In addition to marked improvements in the short-term results, by the end of the intervention, impact-level results are also expected in four key areas:
- Increased retention and enrolment of girls in basic education in the targeted schools;
- Improved pass rates for girls in the targeted schools;
- Improved survival rates of girls without repeating or dropping out;
- Resilient and empowered communities who sustain girls in school.
While this Joint programme might not have sole control over results at impact level, the project will still measure contribution towards such changes. The measurement for this contribution calls for a baseline (at the onset) and an independent evaluation at the end of project.