Worldwide, 20% of children who enrol in primary education will not enrol in secondary education. In many countries, this figure is dramatically higher. For example in Uganda, 85% children who enrolled in primary school will not enrol in secondary. This is a substantial amount of children who are missing out on their education with proven detrimental impacts. For children with disabilities, the global figure is even lower, with 90% of children with disabilities being out of school. Despite the high number of children not in school, this figure has improved and the number of children attending school is increasing. However, in efforts to get more children into school, teaching quality has declined and classroom sizes grown making it harder for those in school to learn. Education improves safety and well-being of children in the short term, and has positive implications on life chances, health and opportunities for those educated and their families. Viva is therefore working to ensure that children are able to complete their education and that those who have dropped out are given a second chance.
In order to build cities were children complete their education, Viva’s partner networks need to influence parents, child-care practitioners, churches, residential homes, schools, community-based networks, government, services, media and the children themselves. A strong, networked approach is the only way to coordinate a response that will reach into all these areas.The strategy has been tested in Kampala, Uganda, where DfID have provided funding for our partner network, CRANE, to help over 2,000 girls go back to school. The second phase of this programme will track the progress of these girls, their siblings and peers over the next seven years and ensure that this group of over 9,000 children complete their education and transition well into employment or further education.
Following situational mapping, a range of approaches are employed to reach the whole community and remove barriers children face to school from all sectors of society.
Community mentors: volunteers who will notice when children are not attending school and work with them and their families to understand the importance of education and overcome hurdles with initiatives such as Villages Savings and Loans Schemes.
Creative Learning Centres: to help build confidence and catch up with missed education with the ultimate aim of reintegrating the children back into mainstream school.
Teacher training and resources: to help teachers to be more creative and engaging, ensuring that children are more likely to remember and build on what they are taught.
Extra-curricular: IT suits and our mobile library help to make school more varied, and encourage children to want to learn
Work with the government: to advocate for improved curriculums and laws that will help children to go to school This approach requires support from all sectors of society. Schools and churches are often home to Creative Learning Centres, offering space to hold the classes, volunteers from local churches are trained as community mentors and engagement with government means that positive impacts and learnings can be reflected across the city for more children to benefit.