Publication Date: 15/07/2019
Despite ongoing efforts, learning outcomes in Somalia remain among the lowest in the region, particularly for girls. Boys and girls contend with different gender and social norms that tend to undermine their ability to stay in school, study and advance from grade to grade. Girls in Somalia are living in an environment undergoing deep transitions in social and gender norms, where traditional norms expecting women to primarily care for children in the home and assume responsibility for household tasks, and placing little value or emphasis on education for women coexist with new roles for women as entrepreneurs, heads of household and main breadwinners at home, thus increasing demand on girls’ education. Since the time of the baseline, rural-rural migration has increased, predominantly as a result of economic hardship that has persisted among households that have been most heavily affected by drought. At the level of national government, MoE personnel tend to change frequently, leading to lack of continuity over time, but there is also increased funding for educational initiatives. It is in this context that CARE International launched SOMGEP and, following its successful completion, continued its programming through Somali Girls’ Education Promotion Project – Transition (SOMGEP-T). The project, which began on May 1 2017 and is expected to close on October 31 2021, builds on evidence from SOMGEP and seeks to further address barriers and challenges Somali girls face related to attendance and learning outcomes. At proposal stage, the project was expected to reach a total of 27,146 marginalised girls; calculations based on up to date enrolment data indicate that the project is estimated to reach 27,722 in-school girls across 148 primary schools and 53 secondary schools in 22 target districts in Somaliland, Puntland, and Galmudug, as well as 5,140 out-of-school girls in the same locations.
SOMGEP-T aims to bring about sustainable improvements to the learning and transition outcomes of marginalised Somali girls. To address barriers and the causes of marginalisation, the SOMGEP-T Theory of Change (ToC) focuses on four key outputs: (1) Improved access to post-primary options, (2) Supportive school practices and conditions for marginalised girls, (3) Positive shifts on gender and social norms at community and individual girl level, and (4) Enhanced MoEs’ capacity to deliver quality and relevant formal and informal education. Outputs are expected to contribute to the achievement of the project’s four intermediate outcomes of attendance, retention, improved quality of teaching, and life skills development, which will in turn contribute to the long-term goals of improving learning outcomes, boosting transition rates, and ensuring the sustainability of changes brought about by the project.
The SOMGEP-T evaluation uses a mixed-methods, quasi-experimental design, involving a longitudinal panel of girls with a non-randomly assigned comparison group. The present study describes the results after four months of exposure to the intervention for in-school girls and presents the baseline findings for girls attending an alternative learning program (ALP). The midline sample comprises 63 schools, with 32 intervention schools and 31 comparison schools, plus 32 ALP sites (17 shared with the midline sample, 15 unique to the ALP sample). The primary findings from the evaluation are summarised below.