Uwezo is a four-year initiative aimed at improving literacy and numeracy levels among children between the ages of 5-16 years in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The program aims to achieve this by shifting the education focus from access and infrastructure to what children are actually learning. Uwezo conducts large scale, citizen-led, household-based assessments of children’s actual literacy and numeracy levels. Findings from these surveys are shared with communities from the local to national levels to create broad public awareness and debate, with the ultimate goal of stimulating policy and practical change.
Uwezo's approach includes the following components:
- Surveys are conducted in randomly-selected households across all districts in each of the three focus countries. The household component allows the Uwezo assessment to differ from national exam systems in two important ways: a) conducting assessment in households creates an environment of comfort and trust for students taking the tests, and b) allows the assessment to measure learning of children who might not be attending school.
- Volunteers from each community conduct the surveys, to engender trust between families and surveyors and to build skills and capacity among volunteers. Volunteers have tended to return each year to implement the survey, and in the meantime, skills picked up by volunteers have been used to improve livelihoods in other ways, creating a positive side effect of training for the communities.
- Simple survey tools are used that are easily administered by volunteers and understood by families.
- Instant feedback of the assessment results is provided by volunteers to families and communities, and survey results are communicated to communities to create broad public awareness, dialogue and engagement.
- A thoughtful monitoring and evaluation framework is implemented to inform ongoing work and broader awareness and policy debates.
- The assessment is repeated each year to create opportunity for analysis of impact and momentum for change.
Uwezo has achieved scale by implementing through country partners and building capacity of regional trainers to implement the survey in decentralized manner. The concept of citizen led assessments, originally pioneered in India and then Pakistan through the ASER program, has also been replicated in Mali and Senegal.
Click here to see full program profile
CEI approaches in action
The tests are administered in homes, which includes those children that may not be attending school.
350,000 children and 150,000 households are included in the annual assessment.
Since its inception in 2009, the Uwezo assessment program has expanded from 1/3 of districts in each country covered, to include all districts in all three countries. In addition, the Uwezo model has been replicated and adapted to fit local contexts in Mali and Senegal.
Monitoring & Evaluation
Uwezo's monitoring and evaluation strategy includes various processes and tools to report on the following:
- Quality assurance of the assessment process;
- Monitoring of quality and distribution of communication outputs;
- Monitoring effects of the assessment and communications efforts at various levels, including Ministry of Education and other national stakeholders; district-level education actors; and communities, including parents.