Process Evaluation for English Access Micro-scholarship Program for OVCs in Bulawayo

Author: Gadzika, Clotilda

This is a Process Evaluation Report presented to HOCIC on the English Access program for OVCs in High School aged between 14 and 16. The program provides a two year micro-scholarship fund for students to learn English and American culture. The program affords an opportunity to those that pass the final English test to receive a scholarship to further their studies in America. Partcipants for the program were drawn from high density area in Bulawayo forming to central clusters which are the Nkulumane and Entumbane clusters which are the Nkulumane and Entumbane clusters. This evaluation is aimed at providing a presentation, discussion and analysis of the Mid Term Evaluation findings to all project stakeholders. It is expected that the findings and recommendations from this evaluation will help all project stakeholders in improving project recommendations from this evaluation for the remaining project period. The main objective of this evaluation was I. To assess whether there has been adherence to the plan that was set for the first year of the program. Other objectives were: II. To assess whether the delivery of the program was effective. III. To gather perceptions on the quality of implementation IV. To assess reasons for absenteeism of program participants and dropouts V. To find out suggestions on how to scale up the program Process evaluation methodology The primary sources of data for this report come from group interviews of EA staff, a sample of 20 participants enrolled for the program, teachers of the students in their conventional schools and guardians/parents of the students. Therefore, most of the information in this report is a synthesis of opinions and memories of these key informants which build tangible evidence as to the proceedings of the program in 2013 and issues surrounding it. Secondary sources of data were also used such as monthly reports to ascertain what activities actually took place, in what order and to find any loopholes in the system. The evaluation thus was qualitative with a little use of quantitative analysis. Findings 1. Adherence to the plan Findings reveal that there was at least 80% adherence to the plan for 2013. The main challenges identified in trying to adhere to the plan were the programs brought in by the US embassy such as motivational talks by guests which usurped the time meant for the set programs. 2. To assess whether delivery of the program was effective Students meet in central places for both clusters however, the Entumbane meeting place is not conducive for learning in the evaluators view. Students who stay far are given transport money which enables them to attend. 3. Perceptions on the quality of Implementation Program participants expressed satisfaction at the method of execution for all program activities highlighting that they understood every lesson. They shared that teachers were patient with them and assisted them when they did not understand as such the program is effective in achieving its goal. On the other hand, some participants felt that there was favoritism for those who performed better in class. The highest achievement so far echoed by program participants is that they feel that they have become more confident. Several shared that they were previously scared to talk in front of people especially in English which they were not fluent in the program has brought a difference such that all participants said they could confidently give presentations in front of a large audience. English teachers of the students in their conventional schools also echoed that the program was helping students they teach to improve their English communication skills. They noted that students participated more actively in class. The guardians/parents of the students expressed that they had noted improvement in the general behavior of their children which they strongly felt was attributed to the program 4. Absenteeism of students and dropouts It is largely asserted in most reports that there was constant absenteeism of students from activities hinging on the fact that there was lack of support from families. Interviews with guardians on the other hand revealed that the later were in support of the program and would have no reason to stop children from attending. They posited that the program would help the children have a better life as orphans and that would help them as well. There were two significant drop outs by the end of the year. One girl left due to pregnancy while one boy left due to commitment to a Math program at NUST scheduled on the same day as the EA meetings. 5. Scaling up the program There was general satisfaction with the program from participants and stakeholders. The main issue noted by students and also in the reports is the need for better transportation. Recommendations 1. There is need to address the issue of transport urgently so as to ensure that program participants are not disadvantaged. 2. Monitoring and evaluation activities need to become more apparent concerning the following; a) There is need for the program to work on an active program theory and logic model b) Home visits should be increased c) Closer attention should be paid to the students’ needs especially those on CCH d) There is need to document progress of the children against the set benchmarks listed on the Planned Outcomes