Evaluating the Alternative Basic Education for Pastoralists program in Somalia during COVID-19

In Somalia, children’s access to education is being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and related school closures and social distancing measures. Children in pastoralist communities who access alternative basic education are feeling the disruptive effect of COVID-19 on their education.

In consortium with NORC, an independent research institute at the University of Chicago,                                                                                               Integrity is conducting a final performance evaluation of the USAID funded Alternative Basic Education for Pastoralists (ABE) program. ABE, a five-year $10 million program, seeks to improve access to equitable, quality education for pastoralists and other marginalized children in south-central Somalia, particularly in Baidoa and Gedo.

The target group for this program is out-of-school children and youth, between the ages of 6 and 14, who have been disconnected from school for significant periods of time or have never been to school. ABE aims to expand the provision of education services and improve development and stability in specified areas in Somalia.

The spread of COVID-19 in Somalia has required rapid adaptation of the plans for undertaking the performance evaluation. However, it also provided an opportunity to expand the scope of the key informant interviews to include valuable insights on how the spread of COVID-19 will affect access to education services in Somalia. New stakeholder questionnaires focusing on the impact of COVID-19 were developed and translated into Somali, to be administered in parallel with the original questions planned for the evaluation.

Integrity’s evaluation team is also making modifications to how we collect data from ABE program participants during the pandemic, in order to protect those involved. This includes remote interviews and online questionnaires where possible. Limited open-air, socially distanced focus group discussions and interviews are planned with participants that do not have access to wifi or a phone for standard remote interviews. Interviews are conducted by locally based enumerators to limit internal travel and are done accordance with local and national guidelines. Protective gear is provided to enumerators and participants in accordance with Integrity’s do no harm approach. The findings will be used to help USAID and other education stakeholders in Somalia to learn from the current program and inform new education programs that aim to support this target group in future.

Get in touch to discuss how Integrity can support your programs through additional MEL and Research support in times of crisis.
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