Alveena the M&E fellow here! I wanted to give an update on our girls, our first full-fledged baseline survey, and our evaluation efforts so far. But first, I have to clear up some confusion. There’s a rumor going around that I’m the first Monitoring and Evaluation staffer More Than Me has had, but turns out that’s not the case.
More Than Me’s mission has always been to serve the most vulnerable girls of West Point in the most effective way possible. Katie Meyler started the endeavor being on the ground, talking to the individual beneficiaries, community leaders, and institutions in West Point, doing what I like to call a “grassroots” needs-assessment. It was out of these conversations that Katie determined that what the community wanted most was access to a quality education for their children.More Than Me started out paying school fees, but we were always concerned with evaluating the quality of the education our girls were receiving. During a visit from our staff to the school where our girls were being sponsored, we saw the reality of a typical school day: underfunded classrooms, unqualified teachers, and unchallenged students. This motivated us to pursue our own school and our own building, a dream that will become reality on September 7th!Of course, there is a lot of work going into the opening of our school. One of the most important tasks was doing a full baseline assessment of our girls, showing us strengths, needs, and grade levels. On August 17th, we gave the first assessment to our girls. This meant a lot of math and reading on a Saturday. Luckily, the girls love tests (weird, but true)!Because of our high standards, we were expecting to do some remediation. However, the results were more surprising than we expected: none of our girls are at grade level, and many do not have skills as basic as phonemic awareness and algebraic thinking. These results are in line with findings across Liberia. Recently, the BBC reported that out of 25,000 high school graduates taking the entrance exam to the University of Liberia, 100% failed. You read that right. 25,000 out of 25,000. You don’t need to be a statistics genius to know that something is desperately wrong with the education system here. And we’re ready to take on this challenge.We’re taking an innovative approach to bring the girls up to speed as much as possible, via an intensive math and literacy intervention. This curriculum will be accompanied by the beautiful new building, international and Liberian co-teachers in every classroom, a cutting-edge aquaponics garden (thanks, Sustainability without Borders!), health and nutrition classes, an extensive after-school program, access to a computer lab, and so much more!
School in Liberia is about to be back in session.Tweet