Please click here to see a list of evaluations and assessments conducted by Miske Witt & Associates Inc. from 1997 to 2012.
In a pioneering effort, Moldova's Child Friendly Schools (CFS) National Working Group has moved to align UNICEF CFS and World Bank standards to improve quality education throughout the country. Work facilitated by the Miske Witt CFS expert team of Dr. Moira Wilkinson and Dr. Lynn Evans in February 2013 resulted in the integration of these standards and indicators. The CFS standards establish goals for schools to achieve quality education for all children. World Bank standards are threshold standards for every school that focus primarily on infrastructure. The Ministry of Education will use the integrated standards as they consolidate rural schools with low student populations into "Hub" schools, a World Bank initiative focused on providing enhanced educational resources for children. It is the vision and intent of the Ministry to use these standards in all schools throughout Moldova.
Miske Witt is very proud of the leadership demonstrated by Moldova's CFS National Working Group, the push for integrated CFS standards led by UNICEF Moldova, and the expertise provided by Dr. Wilkinson and Dr. Evans in this groundbreaking work. Kudos to all!
From July 11-18, MWAI consultants Lynn Evans and Anne Katz worked with educators in the Republic of Moldova to develop Child-Friendly School standards for Moldova's schools. Participants included representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Institute for Educational Sciences, universities providing pre-service teacher education, and the National Council of Certification and Accreditation. During this six-day workshop, participants reviewed principles related to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and developed standards embodying these principles in five dimensions: (1) Health, Safety and Protection; (2) Gender Sensitivity; (3) Democratic Participation; (4) Inclusion; and (5) Effectiveness of Education.
This project is part of UNICEF's broader Child-Friendly Schools initiative to support the systemic reform of education in the CEE/CIS region. The development of quality standards is an important tool in helping to support such reform efforts.
Shirley Miske and Moira Wilkinson led a workshop in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from June 27-29, with 12-15 members of the country's "CFS Working Group." The Working Group comprised administrators from schools in the provinces, representatives from the Ministry of Education and the National Committee on Youth, as well as consultants from the UNICEF Country Office. The objective of the workshop was to move toward the goal of creating a nationwide CFS certification system for Turkmenistan.
Toward that end, over the course of the four-day visit, the achievements centered on learning about CFS in Turkmenistan through:
• analysis and revision of the draft CFS standards;
• creation of a plan for CFS standards validation process; and
• beginning to plan for an extended baseline study based on new CFS standards and indicators.
Miske and Wilkinson return to Ashgabat September 17-22 to lead a one-week workshop for ministry officials and educators on Conducting Child Friendly Schools Baseline Assessments for the School Improvement Planning process.
Fourteen-year-old Sekelaga from Tanzania is the third of four children in a very rural area. She says that she lacked confidence and attended school just to please her parents. After participating in PTLA and ITSPLEY activities, she reported, "Now I can speak loudly and confidently, and I can talk with the government leaders who visit us." Sekelaga became leader of the local youth parliament; she now aspires to be the leader of the national parliament.
In December 2011, Miske Witt & Associates completed an eight-country evaluation of two innovative, USAID-funded girls' education and leadership initiatives. The comprehensive evaluation, which took place over four months in 2011, examined the impact of two three-year initiatives launched by CARE USA: The Power to Lead Alliance (PTLA) and Innovation through Sport: Promoting Leaders, Empowering Youth (ITSPLEY). Sekelaga's story is just one of the many success stories the evaluators heard during the six weeks of data collection.
According to findings from the Miske Witt & Associates evaluation, the PTLA program has helped almost 40,000 girls in Egypt, Honduras, India, Malawi, Tanzania, and Yemen. Girls learn to express their opinions and take leadership roles in their communities. Families and communities are more supportive of girls. And importantly for sustainability, local policies and structures are being changed in ways that show greater acceptance of girls' rights.
The evaluation also showed that the ITSPLEY program, which began a year later in 2009, has touched the lives of over 100,000 children and youth leaders in Bangladesh, Egypt, Kenya, and Tanzania. Through ITSPLEY, boys and girls developed and practiced leadership skills through sport-based activities. They also learned life skills, developed social networks, participated in public events, and engaged in peer-to-peer learning. Additionally, institutional capacity was built through the 'Marketplace Model,' an innovative knowledge exchange network that enabled organizations within countries to share experiences and help each other leverage resources.
Miske Witt & Associates presented their findings to USAID in early 2012. Using a utilization-focused evaluation approach, Miske Witt & Associates successfully highlighted key programming opportunities and challenges. Among the overall findings:
- Both PTLA and ITSPLEY help girls assume leadership roles and work toward previously unattainable dreams and goals.
- The empowerment of girls leads to more inclusive and healthier communities.
- Boys also benefit from an expansion of this type of programming.
The evaluation, which involved seven country coordinators heading five-member teams, also was designed to answer CARE USA's questions around the usefulness of their Gender Empowerment Framework. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative data involving random site visits, Miske Witt & Associates found CARE USA's Gender Empowerment Framework to be a powerful tool for program design, implementation, and evaluation.
Through providing evaluation expertise and other activities, Miske Witt & Associates appreciates the opportunity to partner with organizations such as CARE USA to show programs such as PTLA and ITSPLEY hold important promise for the world's youth. Too many girls - and boys - still face uncertain futures despite increased enrollment in education. Activities such as CARE and its local NGO partners carried out give youth the skills and competencies they need to function in a global economy and to build peaceful, opportunity-rich communities and nations.
Over the course of the three days participants deepened their knowledge of the CFS dimensions, and broadened the scope of how to write standards and indicators for evaluation and assessment of their CFS pilot schools. At the conclusion of the workshop, Ministry of Education Officials and other key participants put into place an action plan that will have a rough draft of their standards and indicators completed by November 2011, a validation and feedback process to do from February-March 2012, a revised draft by May 2012, and a completed draft of standards and indicators relating to the five dimensions of Child-Friendly Schools by August 2012. This ambitious plan is indicative of the hard work and dedication of Turkmenistan's education specialist and practitioners. Clair and McCleary feel honored to have worked with such great teams of people within UNICEF's Education Office and Turkmenistan's Ministry of Education and National Institute of Education.
*The five dimensions of Child-Friendly Schools include: Inclusiveness, Democratic Participation, Teaching and Learning Effectiveness, Health and Safety, and Gender Responsiveness.
While Kosovo already has a set of standards and curriculum frameworks, education stakeholders view the drafting of Child-Friendly Schools standards as a means of focusing on the needs of Kosovar children as well as integrating and unifying existing educational documents.
By the end of the workshop, a working group of 16 from among workshop participants had written an action plan for developing CFS standards and had begun work on drafting CFS standards for Kosovo. By the end of 2011, the group intends to produce the first draft of the standards and plans to complete a review and revision process by May 2012. The group will then engage in a validation and feedback process to ensure the standards are representative and inclusive of all girls and boys in Kosovo.