Gender equity and community participation in basic education by jolinmilioncherie


									Gender equity and community participation in BESPOR’s Whole School Development
component: formulation consultancy report

1.      Summary

The Government of The Gambia (GOTG) has made good progress since the early 1990s in
narrowing the gender gap in enrolment at Lower Basic (LB) level. The main gender and basic
education issues in The Gambia now are gender gaps at Upper Basic (UB) level, and the issue
of the type of schooling girls are receiving. As part of the Whole School Development
component of BESPOR, it is recommended that the following activities are undertaken to
address these issues;
      Piloting girl-friendly UB schools
      Replicating best practice in UNICEF Girl-Friendly Lower Basic schools
      Identifying the most effective strategies for increasing numbers of female teachers in
         remote areas
      Exploring how to increase proportions of boys enrolled in specific ethnic
         communities with a gender balance adverse to boys

There is a good base for promoting community participation in school development and
management, thanks to the PTA structure set up by the Department of State for Education.
BESPOR will pilot a Gambian model of Whole School Development which puts
communities, in the shape of School Development Committees (SDCs), centre-stage in school
development planning. The challenge will be to promote gender equity and the meaningful
involvement of marginalised social groups. Through awareness-raising, skills training and
confidence building, both mothers and fathers will be supported to take an active role in the
SDC. In particular, members of Mothers’ Clubs will be supported to take a greater part in
decision-making about schools.

2.      Background

Whole School Development (WSD) is a component of BESPOR, alongside Teacher
Development and SWAP development. This report concerns proposed initiatives for the WSD
component that specifically concern; i. gender equity in basic education and ii. community
participation. Activities in both these areas will need to be fully integrated with school
development planning. The mechanisms for achieving this will need to be developed during
the early stages of the WSD process in Region 5. In addition, it has not yet been possible to
meet some of the Gambian stakeholders, or identify potential Gambian partner organisations.
For all these reasons, this report represents work in progress rather than a completed plan. It
will be updated as more information becomes available, for instance as a result of meeting
stakeholders who could not be seen during the inception phase.

As well as specifically gender-related interventions, there will be gender mainstreaming into
all elements of BESPOR. This is covered in the inception reports for Teacher Development,
Whole School Development, SWAP development and Monitoring and Evaluation, rather than
being set out here. For the purposes of BESPOR, community participation is being promoted
in relation to Whole School Development only, so it is only covered in this report.

2.1     Government/sectoral policy

2.1.1 Gender equity
The Republic of The Gambia Department of State for Education’s Education Policy 2004-
2015 contains a commitment to ‘mainstream gender concerns at every stage of the
educational process for the realisation of the EFA gender parity and equity goals’.
Specifically, there are commitments to revitalising gender mainstreaming through minimising
educational costs, especially for girls, increasing the number of child-friendly school
environments and equal participation of women and men in PTAs and school management.
In addition, the corresponding action plan mandates the posting of more female teachers into
rural areas and a reduction of gender disparities in teacher recruitment, training, promotion
and posting, partly by continuing the Remedial Initiative for Female Teachers (RIFT)
programme. It is not clear yet to what extent these and other commitments contained in the
Policy are being implemented, although it is known that RIFT came to an end recently. The
GOTG’s policy of providing basic education free of charge, in that there are no school fees
payable, is very positive in gender terms.

The Gambia has been allocated $4M from the EFA Fast Track Initiative (FTI) Catalytic Fund.
The FTI’s objective in relation to gender equity in basic education is to increase the
proportion of girls’ enrolment to 50% at basic and secondary levels by 2010. In order to
achieve this, the government plans to pursue these strategies;

       Provide financial assistance to girls at Upper Basic level; this is already done via a
        Scholarship Trust Fund for disadvantaged girls, which helps with uniforms and other
        ‘indirect’ costs.
       Make school environments more sensitive to girls’ needs, notably by; providing
        separate latrines for girls and boys and sanitary amenities for menstruating girls,
        implementing a sexual harassment policy and extending guidance and counselling
        services to lower basic schools, in order to reduce teenage pregnancy and early and
        forced marriage.
       Sensitisation campaigns designed to boost demand for girls’ education
       A review of the curriculum to identify and remove gender bias, so as to improve
        girls’ performance

The Girls’ Education Unit within DOSE, which runs a Scholarship Trust Fund for girls, has
recently been re-named the Gender Education Unit. According to staff, this is so it can better
address a perceived incipient ‘backlash’ against DOSE’s success in narrowing the gender gap
against girls. The work of the GEU is highly relevant to BESPOR. For instance, the Unit
recently organised a conference for about 60 UB and Senior Secondary level schoolgirls in
Region 4, where issues such as teenage pregnancy, sexual harassment and the causes of girls’
poor performance were discussed.

To build coherence and complementarity and to lever resources, it is essential that BESPOR
activities are in line with the objectives and strategies of the Education Policy, the EFA
National Plan and the EFA Fast Track Initiative proposal. BESPOR also needs to learn from
and build on work done in the field of girls’ education by non-governmental agencies in The
Gambia, such as UNICEF and FAWE-GAM.

2.1.2   Community Participation

DOSE’s Planning Unit has set up a PTA structure to facilitate parents’ support to their
children’s schools. In Region 5, where the Whole School Development component will be
implemented, PTAs already exist and are active. According to Region 5 education authorities,
the chief functions of the PTAs in Region 5 are to support their schools with labour and cash
and to act as mediators in cases of dispute with the community.

There appears to be no constitution for PTAs at national or regional level, and individual
PTAs may suffer from a lack of clear terms of reference. This has contributed to tension
between PTA Executive Committees and Head Teachers on occasion. There is, however,
reported to be a training manual for PTAs, available from the Director of CREDIT.

At regional level, the Integrated Basic Services (IBS) department is responsible for
community participation activities. Both its senior officials and field workers will need to be
involved in, or at least kept informed of, such activities under BESPOR. The nature of this
involvement will need to be discussed with them. In addition, each community has a Village
Development Committee which will need to be consulted, as well as the village heads
(alcalos) and imams.

Following the success of the Mothers’ Clubs in supporting UNICEF Girl Friendly Schools
and boosting girls’ enrolment (see below), Region 5 education authorities have begun to set
up such clubs in other schools. It is not clear how many new clubs have been established or
how many meetings they have yet had.

2.2       Beneficiaries and parties involved

2.2.1     Gender equity

         Whole School Development

The main beneficiaries of the gender element of the Whole School Development component
of BESPOR will be girls in Region 5 who are attending LB or UB schools. However, many
of the strategies for boosting gender equity in basic education, such as better sanitary facilities
and trained counsellors, benefit boys as well as girls. As the Whole School Development
activities are rolled out across Region 5, both girls and boys of school-age throughout the
region should benefit.

In some schools in Region 5, there is a gender disparity in favour of girls. So far this has
been noted in some Fula communities, where boys are required to tend cattle. For instance, in
Karantaba UB School, only 35% of pupils are boys. The scale of the problem needs to be
ascertained; how many schools and communities in Region 5 are affected? In keeping with
gender equity principles, and subject to sufficient resources being available, BESPOR will
explore the issue and the best way to address the disparity. So out of school boys in these
communities may also be specific beneficiaries of BESPOR.

2.2.2     Community participation

Through the school development planning process that is an important element of Whole
School Development, BESPOR will facilitate the involvement of both mothers and fathers in
decision-making about schools, thus giving them more power in relation to their children’s
education. The project will specifically target members of disadvantaged and marginalised
social groups in these communities.

As part of the process of replicating ‘girl-friendly’ best practice, and in keeping with existing
Region 5 educational policy, BESPOR will facilitate the establishment of Mother’s Clubs
linked to every pilot school. It will also look at ways of learning from, mobilising greater
support for and consolidating their activities. A key feature of BESPOR’s approach to
Mothers’ Clubs is that the project will support them to take an active role in making decisions
about schools, as well as supporting them. In addition, it will explore ways of enabling fathers
as well as mothers to support schools financially and through work, in order to promote a
gender equitable division of labour in this regard.

2.3       Situation Analysis

2.3.1     Enrolment

Since the early 1990s, GOTG has made good progress in reducing gender disparity in LB
enrolment, so that there is now near gender parity at lower basic (LB) level. This is due to an
increase in the proportion of girls enrolling rather than a decrease in numbers of boys, so it is
very positive. However, there is still a considerable gender enrolment gap at UB level, and a
large one at secondary school level; see the figures below.

                               1992/3                            2001/2
Lower Basic                    41                                48
Upper Basic                    36                                42
Secondary school               26                                34
Table: Changes in girls’ percentage of enrolment at different levels, 1992/3-2001/2 (taken
from the Education For All National Action Plan (2004-2015) p.24)

Figures from the EFA Fast Track Initiative proposal (December 2004) are different from
those in the table above, perhaps because they are more recent. That document reports girls’
enrolment at 49% for LB, 44% for UB and 37% for SS.

It is not clear yet to BESPOR to what extent the gender gap at UB level is due to girls not
continuing from LB to UB, and to what extent to girls dropping out after they have started
Grade 7, the first grade at UB level. This will need to be investigated in order to help shape
appropriate responses. In relation to this question, it will be interesting to see whether the
trend towards Basic Cycle schools (embracing Grades 1-9) is helping to reduce the drop in
girls’ enrolment between LB and UB levels. This question needs particular attention once
good EMIS data is available.

In specific communities, notably Fula communities, there now appears to be a gender
imbalance against boys at LB level, in that more girls than boys are enrolled in LB schools.
The scale of this problem, and its causes, needs to be investigated. However, it needs to be
stressed that, at national level, boys account for 51% of children enrolled in LB, and 56% of
children enrolled at UB level (see EFA Fast Track Initiative proposal). In keeping with the
principle of gender equity, it is recommended that BESPOR investigates the issue. However,
in view of the comparatively small scale of the problem in relation to overall gender
disparities disadvantaging girls, BESPOR should avoid diverting a large amount of project
resources into this problem.

The gender-disaggregated figures for enrolment at different education levels suggest that, as
far as enrolment is concerned, there is now a need to shift the focus from LB level to closing
the gap at UB level. This will achieve a much greater impact than focussing on the relatively
small number of ‘hard to reach’ girls who are still missing out on LB. The gender gap at UB
level is generally attributed to factors such as girls’ early marriage, teenage pregnancy,
inadequate sanitary facilities for menstruating girls and, in general, school environments that
are not friendly to girls. Sexual harassment may be a factor here, and this should be
investigated further. UB schools involved in BESPOR’s Whole School Development
component should address these and any other issues that depress girls’ enrolment, attendance
and completion.

2.3.2   Performance

At LB level, small gender disparities have been identified for performance in Maths and
Social and Environmental Studies. In English and Science, no statistically significant
difference has been found. 1

 Monitoring Learning Achievement Project National Report 2000. The project tested Grade 4

No data on comparative performance of girls and boys at UB level has been sighted.
However, during the inception phase, interviewees such as Deputy Head Teachers and the
Gender Education Unit’s officer reported that girls perform significantly worse than boys
both at UB and SS levels. Some interviewees attribute this to girls’ heavy domestic work-
load, which sap their energy and ability to concentrate in school. Other factors are almost
certainly involved too, and again this should be investigated.

2.3.3   Quality of teaching and learning for girls

It is clear from interviews, document review and observation that the quality of teaching and
learning in Gambian government schools, especially in remote rural areas, is less than
satisfactory. Teachers tend to rely on ‘chalk and talk’ and rote learning without
comprehension, rather than on a child-centred, problem-solving approach to learning. There
is also a dearth of learning and teaching materials. Teachers have frequent recourse to
corporal punishment or the threat of it.

These general shortcomings affect female and male pupils alike. However, they are also
gender issues. This is partly because the poor quality of teaching and learning at LB level in
The Gambia may interact with a cultural pattern of ‘son preference’ to depress parents’
demand for girls’ education, especially at UB level, where the gender enrolment gap is still
high. Put simply, parents may be justified in thinking; ‘What is the point of sending my
daughter to UB school, when she has learned so little at LB, and in any case she will be
married off soon?’ Gender-differentiated attitudes to corporal punishment among pupils have
yet to be investigated.

Another important reason why poor educational quality is a gender issue is that the schooling
offered may disempower girls. For instance, gender stereotypes and other biases in the
curriculum and in learning materials might discourage girls, and militate against them
performing well. A gender review of the curriculum and learning materials may need to be
carried out, unless one has already been done.

As well as the ‘formal curriculum’, there are also gender issues arising from the ‘informal
curriculum’ in Gambian schools. The informal curriculum includes teachers’ treatment of
male and female pupils. There are modules in both the Primary Teachers’ Certificate and
Higher Teachers’ Certificate courses at Gambia College that address gender issues, and these
have been sighted.2 However it is not clear how well they are taught, or how effective they
are in encouraging student teachers to question gender stereotypes and prejudices that might
affect their behaviour towards boy and girl pupils.

The informal curriculum also includes the amount and type of school housekeeping work
allocated to girls and boys, such as cleaning the compound and toilets. According to girls
interviewed at an Upper Basic school in Region 5, for instance, they usually do most of the
work of sweeping the compound while the boys ‘sit under a tree’. Similar situations were
reported at other schools visited. This is particularly significant because girls also tend to
perform more work in and around the home than boys. This combination of heavier domestic
workloads both in the home and the school can be expected to depress girls’ performance
compared to boys. The Girls’ Education Unit recognises the problem, and has distributed
posters encouraging a more equal gender distribution of labour both at home and at school.

2.3.4   Teachers

 The modules are entitled ‘Gender, Development and POP/FLE Studies” and were revised in October

Gender mainstreaming into BESPOR Teacher Development activities is addressed in the
relevant Formulation Consultancy reports. However, there is another significant gender issue
pertaining to teachers, namely the small proportion of teachers in rural areas who are female.
The evidence is that a lack of female teachers has a depressing effect on girls’ enrolment for
various reasons, including the lack of positive role models for girls, and girls’ perceptions and
experience of schools as girl-unfriendly, male-dominated environments. The reasons why
female teachers are reluctant to accept remote rural postings include; long distance from
family, lack of physical security and inadequate accommodation. Young unmarried female
teachers in other West African countries, notably Nigeria, also explain their unwillingness to
work in remote areas by referring to the associated difficulty in finding educated husbands, so
this might be a factor in The Gambia too. Effective and efficient strategies for addressing the
gender imbalance need to be identified and implemented.

2.3.5   Community participation

The existence of IBS, and PTAs and Mothers’ Clubs that are already active in supporting
Region 5 schools means there is a good base for involving parents in school development
planning. Region 5 education authorities encourage both PTAs and Mothers’ Clubs to
register as accredited organisations, but it is not clear how many have done this.

2.4 Other interventions

2.4.1   Gender

The GOTG has been promoting gender equity in education in these ways;
    Scholarships for disadvantaged girls in poor regions
    In Region 5 at least, moves to increase the number of Mothers’ Clubs by establishing
      new clubs linked to schools other than designated ‘Girl-Friendly schools’
    Increased enrolment of female students into Teacher Training programme. This in
      turn was supported by the Remedial Initiative for Female Teachers (RIFT), funded by
      the ADB. However funding for this programme of remedial instruction to female
      student teachers has now ended.
    The FTI Catalytic Fund has been used to fund training in counselling for teachers, run
      by the Guidance and Counselling Unit. While the Unit’s work does not only cover
      gender issues, its training course for teachers includes a module on gender sensitivity.
    The Female Teachers’ Association (FTA) has been set up by government. The
      Association conducts advocacy at various levels to encourage parents to allow their
      girls to continue their schooling rather than withdraw them for early marriage. The
      Association has been particularly active in Region 2, and the newly-appointed
      President of the Region 5 FTA wants to emulate their activities and success there.

UNICEF has been running its African Girls Education Initiative programme of Girl-Friendly
schools since 2001, when it began with 10 LB schools in three rural divisions (URD, CRD
and LRD). Since then the programme has expanded and there are now 38 Girl-Friendly
Schools in CRD alone. However, according to UNICEF’s Education Programme Officer,
they have not been able to implement the full package of girl-friendly improvements in all of
them. Although some are complete Basic Cycle schools, UNICEF focuses its Girl-Friendly
activities at LB level. One of the criteria for selecting the schools was that they should be in
remote areas with poor access to basic services. They are perceived as being very successful.
According to UNICEF’s website, the Mothers’ Club initiative linked to the schools has

resulted in an average increase in girls’ enrolment of 34% in its Girl Friendly schools (see

UNICEF also implements several other interventions in The Gambia, notably in the areas of
health and water and sanitation. They are also modelling an ‘essential package’ of
interventions in the areas of Early Childhood Development, immunisation and literacy for
mothers in two so-called ‘convergence villages’, Kibiri and Kunting. It is not clear how
closely any of these other interventions are integrated with the Girl-Friendly Schools

FAWE-GAM has been running several initiatives designed to promote girls’ enrolment and
support their retention and performance;

       supporting Mothers’ Clubs (ten per year) with capacity-building and seed money for
        income generation projects; UNICEF provides the seed-money, which is said to be
        6,000 GMD4 for each club.
       FAWE-GAM clubs in schools, where girls can meet to discuss problems in school
        and develop solutions
       Five-day subject ‘clinics’ for girls to make them feel more confident about science,
        maths and technology
       Girls’ Career Days and Girls’ Conferences
       Managing a pregnant girls’ re-entry pilot project in Brikamaba UB School in Region
        5. Twenty girls have been targeted, and FAWE-GAM intends to track their progress
        from their rejoining the school to the end of the school cycle
       A ‘Centre of Excellence’ UB school in Sambang, West District, Region 5, intended to
        ‘demonstrate access, quality and performance in education, especially for girls’.5

The World Bank
The World Bank’s most recent education project in The Gambia, the Third Education Sector
programme, has now closed. It included a girls’ education programme to; lower the cost of
girls' education; enforce sexual harassment policies at schools; provide counselling; and
mobilize communities to resolve girls' education problems. BESPOR needs to find out more
about this programme and the next planned World Bank education intervention.

The Nova-Scotia Gambia Association is reported to work on peer education and counselling
for pupils, among its other initiatives. It works closely with the DOSE Guidance and
Counselling Unit.

2.4.2   Community participation

Action Aid staff were not available to meet the consultant, due to other commitments. They
are reported to be using the ‘Reflect’ model to carry out participatory planning with rural
communities. BESPOR needs to find out more about this work with a view to learning from
their experience, and possibly involving ActionAid as a partner in the community
participation aspect of BESPOR implementation.

  Gambian Dalasis
  FAWE-GAM brochure

Christian Childrens’ Fund

The CCF focuses on promoting the well-being of children and their families, and their
programme is in the Western Division. Their strategy is one of ‘child-centred community-
driven development’, and they are working with poor rural communities in Western Division
to carry out participatory programme planning.


UNICEF, with FAWE-GAM as its implementing partner, has pioneered Mothers’ Clubs as
part of its Girl-Friendly schools initiative in The Gambia, providing seed money of
approximately $250 to each club. According to the UNICEF website, the overall aim of
setting up the clubs is to ‘promote family and community participation and create special
opportunities for women/mothers in particular in the promotion of access, retention and
performance of their girls/daughters in schools.’ Their activities include income-generation
to raise money for schools and to help particularly disadvantaged students with uniforms and
other direct costs, local-level advocacy against girls’ early marriage and promoting girls’
education, and counselling to girls in the higher LB grades (Grades 5 and 6). They also play a
role in keeping schools clean.

Pro-Poor Advocacy Group (ProPAG)

ProPAG undertakes high level advocacy on behalf of poor and marginalised groups, and aims
to create links between people at the grass-roots and national-level decision-makers. Its
mission is to ‘act as a watchdog to help protect the interest of the poor and marginalized
members of society and promote their inclusion in decision-making on issues that affect their
lives’.6 One of its most important recent activities has been participatory budgeting in three
divisions, bringing together National Assembly members, community leaders, councillors and
local development workers.

ProPAG has carried out community-level consultancy work for GOTG, ActionAid and the
Commonwealth Education Fund. They pride themselves on their research, training and
participatory planning at grass-roots level and say they have good links with PTAs.

2.5       Documentation available

The consultant has sighted these documents;

         Education Policy 2004-2015
         Education For All National Action Plan (2004-2015)
         Education For All Proposal for the Fast Track Initiative (2005-2007)
         Monitoring of Learning Achievements Project National Report November 2000
         Evaluation of the African Girls’ Education Initiative (AGEI) in The Gambia,
          UNICEF 2003
         Various reports and documents from FAWE-GAM
         Draft training course and handouts from Guidance and Counselling Unit

3.        Proposed intervention

3.1       Gender equity

    ProPAG programme brief, May 2005, page 2

      In addition to gender mainstreaming into other BESPOR components, it is recommended that
      several interventions are undertaken as part of the Whole School Development process in
      Region 5 specifically to promote gender equity in Gambian basic education and school
      development planning.

3.1.1 Overall objectives

Why is the project important to the users, beneficiaries and the government?
          To close gender gaps in enrolment, attendance, completion and performance at LB and UB
          To ensure that girls’ school experience is empowering, i.e. it boosts their confidence, self-
              assurance and skills
          To develop structures and mechanisms for GOTG to support equitable – including gender
              equitable - community participation in school development planning.

3.1.2 Project purpose

Why do the users and beneficiaries need the project?
   Although the gender enrolment gap at LB level has narrowed considerably, there are still
      important gender gaps at UB level, arising from a range of factors
   Parents and community members have little say in how schools are developed and managed,
      although they are often involved in supporting their children’s schools in various ways.

3.1.3 Project results

What services will the project deliver to the users and beneficiaries?

Within the parameters of the Whole School Development pilot, and subject to sufficient funding being
available, the activities will have these results;
            The gender gap in UB enrolment will be significantly narrowed, and figures for girls’
               attendance and completion will also be improved. Realistic targets for all these
               indicators will need to be identified in conjunction with Gambian stakeholders.
            Girls’ performance at UB level, as measured by exam results, will be improved; a
               target will be set with Gambian stakeholders
            Successful innovations in UNICEF Girl-Friendly schools will be replicated at both
               LB and UB levels
            The proportion of female teachers working in the pilot schools will be increased
            The causes of gender imbalance against boys, notably in Fula and other cattle-owning
               communities, will be identified, and recommendations made to GOTG on how these can
               best be addressed

       3.1.4   Project activities

What are the activities that will be carried out?

      A preliminary draft of the action plan is provided in the Annex. The timescale and sequence
      will need to be agreed with the Team Leader and Gambian stakeholders. The recommended
      activities are also outlined here;

              Pilot girl-friendly UB schools

      BESPOR will work with Gambian bodies such as the Gender Education Unit in DOSE, the
      Female Teachers’ Association and FAWE-GAM to model and pilot Girl-Friendly UB
      schools. The aim is to both close the gender gap in enrolment and improve girls’ performance

at UB level. This initiative will be an opportunity for BESPOR to ‘add value’ to existing
initiatives on gender and basic education by building on, and moving on from, prior
achievements in narrowing the gender gap in LB enrolment.

The initiative will build on lessons learned from the UNICEF Girl-Friendly school model
insofar as they apply to UB level. The initial step should be to bring representatives of these
bodies together with representatives of UNICEF AGEI, girl pupils and mothers to carry out a
‘visioning’ exercise of what a Girl-Friendly UB school would be like, and what activities are
needed to bring about the realisation of this vision. These features might be expected to
figure; Mother’s Clubs linked to the schools, a critical mass of female teachers, female
teachers trained as counsellors, separate, clean and private latrines for girls with sanitary
disposal facilities, provision of free sanitary towels, rigorous implementation of a sexual
harassment policy, and the gender sensitisation of all teachers.

Once the model has been developed, it will be piloted in all the pilot schools in Region 5.
The means by which this will be integrated with school development planning activities have
yet to be identified. There are several ways it could be done. For instance, it could be
achieved by earmarking part of the grant available to each School Development Committee
for the implementation of measures designed to promote gender equity. Alternatively, funds
for a basic package of measures to promote gender equity, such as building new latrines could
be provided directly from BESPOR funds, separately from the grant to the School
Development Committee. A third solution might be to make it clear in school development
planning frameworks and approval procedures that SDCs are required to take steps towards
making schools girl-friendly; this would need to be preceded by gender awareness training for
all SDCs, focussing on how to make schools ‘girl-friendly’.

It is recommended that Gambian partners such as FAWE-GAM and/or FTA should be
involved in this initiative, working with the BESPOR international and national Gender
Specialists. This is in order to promote Gambian ownership and build on their experience,
knowledge and skills. Both organisations would need financial, and, in the case at least of the
FTA, capacity-building support in order to achieve this.

       Replicate successful UNICEF girl-friendly innovations

As well as pioneering girl-friendly schools at UB level, BESPOR WSD must learn from
UNICEF girl-friendly schools at LB level and replicate their best practice in all its LB pilot

       Increase numbers of female teachers in remote areas

Given the range of problems that discourage female teachers from working in remote rural
areas, what are the most effective strategies for addressing them? It is recommended that a
small-scale qualitative study is undertaken, aimed at identifying and prioritising the barriers,
and identifying the best ways to overcome them. These measures will then be piloted as part
of the WSD component.

       Identify causes of gender imbalance against boys in specific communities, and make
        recommendations to GOTG on how they can best be addressed

BESPOR needs to find out how many communities in Region 5 suffer from a low enrolment
of boys compared to girls. Depending on the scale of the problem, and subject to sufficient
resources being available, BESPOR should then consider undertaking a small-scale
qualitative study in some of these communities. The focus should be first to elucidate the
precise causes of the problem, and then to identify strategies that GOTG could adopt for

      addressing them. The findings of this study will also help to determine whether BESPOR
      should address the issue, and how. As there is still an overall gender imbalance in favour of
      boys at LB level, and a much larger one at UB level, BESPOR should not devote a large
      amount of resources to such a study.

      3.2       Community participation

      Genuine and equitable participation of community members in school development planning
      is a core element of the WSD model envisaged for BESPOR. Supporting existing Mothers’
      Clubs and helping to set up new ones should facilitate the involvement of women in school
      development planning, although the precise mechanism for this remains to be developed.

      A Gambian consultant or partner organisation for implementing community participation
      activities, such ProPAG, still needs to be identified. It is planned to do this during the coming

      3.2.1     Overall objectives

               Enable all members of pilot school communities to have a say in how schools are
                developed and managed.
               In particular, ensure that women and members of marginalised groups are able to take part
                in decision-making about schools’ development

      3.2.2     Project purpose

    At present, Gambian parents of school-going children (both fathers and mothers) have little or no
    opportunity to influence the development and management of their children’s schools, although they
    are often involved in supporting their children’s schools in various ways. This component aims to
    change that situation in Region 5.

3.2.3 Project results

      Community participation activities should lead to a better sense of ‘ownership’ of schools on the
      part of parents and other community members, which will in turn help to ensure that the education
      provided is good quality and relevant to children’s future lives. It should also lead to increased
      support to schools from their communities, in the shape of financial and other contributions.

      3.1.4     Project activities

      A basic action plan is provided in the Annex. These are the main stages;

               SDCs will be set up that embrace key stakeholders from schools (Head Teachers,
                teachers) and a broad spectrum of the community around the school.
               A mechanism will be developed for ensuring that women can genuinely participate in
                decision-making; ideally, this will be through a 50:50 gender balance on SDCs.
                Alternatively, some other mechanism may have to be identified, such as a formal
                consultation procedure between PTAs and Mothers’ Clubs.
               During the ‘visioning workshops’ envisaged in the Whole School Development
                process and the subsequent design of a Gambian school development planning
                format, a gender-sensitive model for community participation in school development
                planning will be developed and operationalised. Awareness-raising in all the 16 pilot
                communities will start at around the same time. This will be followed by elections of

          School Development Committee members, or an alternative selection mechanism that
          combines cultural appropriacy with concerns for social and gender equity.

3.3       Assumptions at different levels

             Relevant education officials at both national level and in Region 5 will actively
              cooperate with BESPOR
             In Region 5, Head Teachers, Teachers, parents and members of communities
              served by schools will take an active part in the project
             Potential Gambian partner organisations such as FAWE-GAM and the Female
              Teachers’ Association will be able and willing to play an active role
             Female teachers’ aversion to remote rural postings is amenable to incentives that
              BESPOR can realistically pilot, such as better accommodation, hardship
              allowances etc.
             Sufficient funding is available from either BESPOR or other sources to
              implement all activities outlined here
             GOTG will continue to fund and support sensitisation activities promoting girls’
              schooling and discouraging girls’ early marriage
             People other than existing power-holders in pilot school communities have the
              time, inclination and confidence to take part in school development planning

      Risks and flexibility

         Backlash against resources being devoted to address gender inequity in basic
          education may militate against project success at local, regional and national levels.
          In particular, because of the GOTG’s success at narrowing the gender gap in LB
          enrolment, a ‘what about the boys?’ syndrome might follow, creating an unsupportive
          environment for interventions designed to support girls’ education
         Key stakeholders such as Head Teachers, village heads and imams may overtly or
          covertly oppose measures to boost girls’ enrolment and retention such as sensitisation
          against girls’ early marriage
         Male teachers at UB level may not support the interventions, for instance they may
          engage in sexual harassment of girls, contrary to school policies on this issue
         There may not be enough resources available to implement activities related to
          gender equity, or resources may be diverted to other parts of the programme

4.        Implementation

Note; this section is to be developed further, once BESPOR WSD activities start.

Pilot girl-friendly UB schools

         Workshop to vision and model a Girl-Friendly UB school; FAWE-GAM, FTA,
          UNICEF, female students etc.
         Develop and cost the model.
         Secure agreement with educational stakeholders e.g. RED, Head Teachers to pilot the
          model in BESPOR pilot schools in Region 5
         Develop mechanism for integrating Girl-Friendly UB schools pilot into school
          development planning procedures
         If appropriate, agree and draw up MoU with a Gambian consultant or partner
          organisation to implement this group of activities

        Start girl-friendly activities (e.g. building new toilets, gender training for teachers in
         pilot schools) through Year 1
        Monitor through WSD monitoring procedures
        Modify the model according to findings
        Introduce the modified module in new UB pilot schools in Year 2
        Continue rolling out the model in Year 3

 Explore ways to increase numbers of female teachers in remote areas

        Identify Gambian researchers to carry out study
        Design of study
        Carry out study
        Design incentive package for female teachers in rural areas, based on study findings
        Pilot the package in selected locations in the BESPOR pilot area, in particular where
         there are girl-friendly UB schools
        Review results after one year
        Modify the package and scale up

Learn from best practices of UNICEF Girl-Friendly schools and replicating these in LB

        Interview primary and secondary stakeholders involved in UNICEF Girl-Friendly
         schools in Region 5, and visit 5 Girl-Friendly schools identified as being among the
         most successful, to identify effective innovations
        Develop mechanisms for integration into school development planning procedures
        Implement the innovations identified throughout BESPOR LB pilot schools in Year
        Monitor the impact of the innovations

Explore causes of gender imbalance against boys in specific ethnic communities

        Design study
        Commission consultants to carry out study
        Study carried out
        Report, with recommendations, produced and disseminated among GOTG and other

       4.1     Organisation and implementation procedures

       4.2     Time schedule
       4.3     The time schedule depends on the WSD schedule and remains to be clarified
               with the Team Leader and Gambian stakeholders.

       4.4     Cost estimate and financing plan

       A cost estimate has not yet been attempted. One of the difficulties here is that the way
       in which activities are implemented has yet to be decided with Gambian stakeholders in
       the course of initial WSD activities. For discrete specific activities such as the Girl-
       Friendly UB School visioning workshop, it is suggested that the indicative budget for
       WSD be used as an interim guide.

6.       Factors ensuring sustainability

     6.1 Policy support and coordination
     As stated above, the interventions and activities outlined here are fully in keeping with
     GOTG policy on gender in education; this is conducive to medium term sustainability.

     6.2 Socio-cultural aspects/gender issues

     This component by definition covers socio-cultural and gender aspects.


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