Detailed Mechanism Funding and Narrative

Years of mechanism: 2010 2011 2012 2013

Details for Mechanism ID: 12120
Country/Region: Malawi
Year: 2010
Main Partner: Save the Children
Main Partner Program: Dominican Republic
Organizational Type: NGO
Funding Agency: USAID
Total Funding: $100,000

Malawi struggles with some of the poorest economic, health and education indicators in the world. High levels of dropout and repetition plague the education system, child mortality rates remain unacceptably high, and HIV/AIDS continues to undermine family and community safety nets. Children lack adequate parental care due to livelihoods demands, cultural factors and the effects of HIV/AIDS. Girls in particular are more likely to drop out of school. Dropout exposes children to significant risks, including child labor and early marriage, robbing them of a healthy childhood. Thus, staying in school is an important strategy for child protection. A coordinated approach to early childhood development (ECD) that promotes children's psychosocial, physical and cognitive development - and reaches orphans and vulnerable children in a non-stigmatizing fashion - is even more critical in environments of high poverty, disease and marginalization. In addition, ECD can offer governments and communities a significant return on their investment, as children who participate typically achieve greater success in primary school and later in life than those who do not. Despite the clear benefits of ECD, fewer than 30 percent of Malawi's children have access to ECD services, and the quality of those services is generally poor. Several factors underpin these shortcomings, including a lack of awareness of the importance of ECD; weak capacity among duty bearers at the national, district and local levels; and limited linkages with vital services in health and nutrition. Although some hopeful signs have emerged in recent years, a catalyst is required to move ECD in Malawi beyond its nascent stage to reach national scale. Capacity Support for ECD and PSS (C-SEP) Project is a three-year project by Save the Children that is jointly funded by PEPFAR and USAID Basic Education (ratio 1:3). It is a public private partnership that leverages additional resources from Save the Children private sponsorship, UNICEF and other private sector partners such as Fondazione Cariplo, an Italian banking foundation, and ELMA Foundation. The project aims to help children, including OVC, learn and develop to their full potential. Increasing children's participation in quality ECD programs and psychosocial (PSS) will be achieved by improving availability and access to ECD and PSS services; improving the quality of those services; improving household and community capacity to support young children's development; and strengthening ECD policies and resource allocation. In Malawi, Community based child care centers (CBCC) and children's clubs (CC) provide that platform

where these services can be effectively delivered, with a focus on specific age group whole also ensuring a continuum of care and comprehensive service package. To increase children's access to ECD services, Save the Children will develop low-cost construction solutions, ensure that each CBCC has an essential package of teaching and learning materials, and support children's transition into the first year of primary school. C-SEP we will strengthen the quality of ECD by building capacity of service providers, improving parenting practices and linkages between the home and CBCC environments, and strengthening psychosocial support and access to health and nutrition services for young children. A key innovation will include the use of interactive audio instruction to improve teaching practices and enrich the CBCC learning environment. These direct investments in CBCCs will also be complemented by capacity building for communities to strengthen their ability to manage ECD services. Finally, advocacy to promote improved ECD policies and coordination will be achieved through a scale-up strategy that includes capacity-building at the district level and for local and national partners, tapping into national-level working groups as a platform for advocacy, and strengthening documentation and dissemination of best practices in ECD. Over three years, the project will reach 39,450 children, including an estimated 8, 955 OVC. Beneficiaries in the C-SEP project will include children aged 3 - 12, including ages 3-5 through CBCCs; 6-8 through formal schooling; and 6 - 12 through children's clubs. To reach these, we will work with parents; primary school teachers; community based extension agents; community volunteers who will include CBCC caregivers, CBCC mentor caregivers, parents/center management committees, and children's corner patrons; and community leaders through Village Development Committees (VDC) and Area Development Committees (ADC). OVC are a significant target group, as CBCCs are designed to promote participation of the neediest children. C-SEP will be implemented in three districts where Save the Children already has a presence: Blantyre, Zomba and Chiradzulu to allow us to realize management efficiencies while also benefiting from coordinated ECD programming and linkages to services such as nutrition and HIV prevention. C-SEP directly supports the attainment Goal 3 of the Partnership Framework which seeks to mitigate the economic and psychosocial effects of HIV and AIDS and improve the quality of life for PLHIV, OVC and other affected individuals and households."

The C-SEP M&E plan includes standard results indicators in ECD, (indicators of access, quality, capacity and policy) and relevant PEPFAR indicators. C-SEP's evaluation plan will measure results of specific innovations where the evidence base has not yet been established, such as tracking children into early primary school; investigating changes in parenting practices; and evaluating improvements in CBCC caregiver practices as a result of IRI. There will be joint quarterly supervisory visits at district level, and joint biannual national level. CBCCs will be encouraged to conduct regular self-assessments using a quality monitoring checklist derived from the CBCC profile. ECD interventions can be particularly effective because they promote gender parity; encourage the

participation of women; and promote inclusive services for the most vulnerable children in society. All Save the Children-supported CBCCs in Malawi promote equal enrollment of boys and girls and provide a welcoming environment that counters harmful gender stereotypes. CBCCs also promote skills development and self esteem for volunteer caregivers, most of whom are women. Gender parity is also encouraged in our CBCC management committees, which must be made up of at least 50 percent women, allowing women's voices to be heard in decision-making and management. Budget Summary PFIP Year 1 Funding - $140,000 PFIP Year 2 Funding - $280,000

Funding for Care: Orphans and Vulnerable Children (HKID): $100,000

I. Budget Code: HKID $140,000- Year 1 $280,000- Year 2 PEPFAR funds will support interventions that increase availability and access; improved quality of services; improved household and community capacity; and strengthened ECD and psychosocial policies at the local, national and regional level.

Activity 1: Develop low cost solutions that increase access to ECD: C-Sep will work with the National ECD TWG to develop and disseminate cost-effective construction guidelines for CBCC construction and renovation that meet national specifications. The guidelines will promote community participation in construction, and the use of local materials. C-SEP will also assist communities to implement the construction standards, and encourage community resource mobilization for construction or improvement of structures. Products/Deliverables: Low cost construction guidelines for CBCCs Activity 2: Support transition to primary schools: Anecdotal information from primary schools shows that children who have participated in CBCCs have stronger cognitive, socio-emotional and physical development than other children who did not have the opportunity to attend a CBCC. Children who participate in CBCCs thus perform well in school, and tend to enjoy school more, which can reduce truancy, absenteeism and eventual drop out. C-SEP will support children's transition from CBCC to primary schools by strengthening linkages between CBCCs and primary schools through joint orientation sessions for CBCC caregivers and primary teachers to raise awareness and support for children's transition from CBCC to primary school; and organizing visits of CBCC children to primary schools. Graduation ceremonies will also be organized for CBCC children. Each graduating child will receive a start up pack consisting of assorted writing materials, and a graduation certificate. Parents will be encouraged to make contributions so that every child receives a gift during the ceremony. This will also ensure that vulnerable children whose guardians are unable to contribute will be treated like every other child. Activity 3: Ensure an essential package of materials for ECD: To ensure quality and safety in CBCCs, C-SEP will support communities in creating their own teaching, learning and other materials. However, some essential materials that are beyond the means of communities, such as cooking and eating utensils, water storage containers, chalk boards and chalk, will be supplied by C-SEP. Children's clubs will also receive board games, footballs and netballs, coloring supplies, skipping ropes and bawo games. All materials provided by C-SEP will be sourced locally to be more cost-effective and to support local suppliers. Activity 4: Improve the quality of ECD and PSS programs ECD is a nascent sector in Malawi, and there is a continued need for quality improvement in services. The bulk of C-SEP support will therefore focus on strengthening human resource capacity, increased involvement of parents, stronger psychosocial support; more deliberate health and nutrition linkages; and use of low-cost technology to achieve quality delivery of ECD services that meet all of the children's developmental needs. C-Sep will train 10 ECD caregivers per center (to allow caregivers to work on a rotational basis and have sufficient time to dedicate to their personal economic activities). C-SEP will also facilitate community-managed mentoring for caregivers; and provide incentives to caregivers and their mentors in the form of T-shirts, and transport support for mentors. Incentives will be distributed at events

such as community Open Days to provide additional recognition for caregivers and mentors. C-SEP will also strengthen linkages between the home environment and CBCCs

Activity 5: Conduct national stakeholder consultation on parenting formative research and curriculum adaptation.

Save the Children has collaborated with researchers from the University of Malawi Chancellor College to conduct ground-breaking formative research into parenting practices in Malawi. The analysis included a literature review on parenting practices in Malawi and globally; the status of parenting education in Malawi; parent's involvement in their children's development; and discussion of the program and policy implications of the findings. C-SEP will facilitate stakeholder discussions on these findings with Save the Children Sponsorship funding. Save the children will also revise the existing parenting curriculum to include early stimulation to promote children's physical, psychosocial and cognitive development, and print manuals. The manual will emphasize building parent's understanding of common developmental milestones and what they can do to promote their children's health and development at each "age and stage."

Products/Deliverables: Revised parenting manual

Activity 6: Strengthen psychosocial support for children, particularly those affected by HIV/AIDS. The C- SEP PSS strategy is linked to strengthening parenting practices, a more deliberate focus on the psychosocial needs of orphans and strengthening home to center linkages. It also includes community sensitization and skills development for caregivers and other community members through the Journey of Life manual. Experience suggests that children are often abused by people closest to them, and that some forms of abuse are seen as culturally acceptable. Therefore further to the community PSS awareness and skill building sessions, special sessions will also be organized for parents or primary care providers of OVC with a view to raising awareness and equipping them with improved skills, with a primary focus on positive parent-child communication. Activity 7: Establish children's clubs Children's clubs aim to create a safe space for children by providing a forum for expressing their feelings and receiving support from peers. In children's clubs, structured recreation activities enable children to open up to each other, a process that creates opportunities for children to act in solidarity with each other. In turn this enables children to master the strength to engage with adults on issues that need attention through open days. Save the Children has used the Journey of Life approach to raise awareness and build capacity of adults in PSS. In C-SEP, new children's clubs will be formed, in addition to supporting existing ones. This intervention targets children 6-12-year-olds through children's clubs. Play materials will be distributed to children's clubs.

Activity 8: Most Significant Change approach to outcome monitoring and documentation. C-SEP proposes to improve capacities to measure outcomes of PSS activities through the "most significant change" (MSC) methodology, a participatory approach to working with communities to identify the most important outcomes of a given activity. This approach is particularly suited to PSS interventions because it secures testimonials from project participants in a way that provides deeper insights into the qualitative impacts of activities. MSC training will be held to orient community-level volunteers to help them form an MSC team, learn how to implement the MSC approach and develop work plans for their activities. Meetings will then be held at the community level so that the MSC teams can implement MSC activities and gather results for monitoring and documentation. Activity 9: Strengthen links between CBCCs and child health and nutrition services and education. CBCCs are recognized as a platform for providing integrated services to children. Simple but high impact interventions such as educating parents, CBCC caregivers and children about food hygiene, personal hygiene and sanitation are taking root with support from health surveillance assistants. C-SEP will strengthen this through consensus building with district health offices, social welfare offices and agriculture development offices and mobilize them to provide sufficient infrastructure for waste management, and strengthen hygiene and nutrition education for parents, children and CBCC caregivers and promote use of locally produced food products, and facilitate stronger linkages with health services. Activity 10: Promote greater scale and quality through interactive radio instruction in ECD. Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) offers a low-cost, large-scale way to improve the quality of teaching and learning and enrich the emotional environment of the pre-school classroom. Save the Children partnered with the Education Development Center (EDC) and the MGCCD to conduct a feasibility study on IRI called Tiyende! ("Let's Walk!") in two CBCCs in Blantyre District. During the feasibility test, it was found that IRI can help create an active play and learning environment in the CBCCs. Save the Children now plans to continue partnering with EDC and the MGCCD to implement a pilot in 20 centers (10 intervention centers that will receive basic ECD training and IAI, and 10 comparison centers that will receive only the basic training) in Zomba District. Activity 11: Increase community participation and support for ECD activities Save the Children will employ its experience using the Community Action Cycle to mobilize community organization to link into the central planning processes at the District Assembly (DA) secretariat. This will focus on facilitating coordination among community based organizations to minimize duplication of effort and enhance accountability at the community level. Activity 12: Strengthen local, regional, national policies, capacities and resources for ECD and PSS Save the Children's experience will capitalize on our existing partnerships with key stakeholders in Malawi to implement a three-step scale-up strategy: First, we will continue testing innovations so that we can strengthen the growing evidence base about what works best. Second, we will collaborate with other ECD partners by involving them in capacity-building opportunities. Third, we will work closely with government at the district and national levels to build their capacity and advocate for uptake of good

policies at a wider scale. We will utilize our involvement in the ECD and OVC TWGs as a platform for advocacy to emphasize integrating ECD within larger government structures to promote sustainability.

Subpartners Total: $0
Education Development Center, Inc.: NA
Cross Cutting Budget Categories and Known Amounts Total: $25,000
Food and Nutrition: Policy, Tools, and Service Delivery $25,000
Key Issues Identified in Mechanism
Increasing gender equity in HIV/AIDS activities and services