Study: Evaluations

Malawi Catch-Up Clubs (CuCs) Sponsorship Evaluation

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Save the Children Asia Regional Office,Save the Children International,Save the Children Malawi

COVID-19 was estimated to impact 1.6 billion students adding to the already existing learning crisis. The vulnerable groups of children such as those living in poverty, having a disability, and being at risk of child labour and displacement were likely to be most affected by the global disruptions to learning because of the pandemic. As per the annual school census in Malawi, there was a decline in the enrolment rate in primary education as the children progressed to higher grades caused mainly by the burden of family responsibilities and poverty. Save the Children initiated Catch-up Clubs (CuCs), a catch-up and remedial learning program, to address economic and child protection barriers to returning to and staying in school and tackle the learning loss in children – offering an alternative way to ensure children acquire the foundational skills of literacy and reduce the chances of school dropouts in the country.

CuCs approach integrates elements from Pratham’s Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach and Save the Children’s Literacy Boost Common Approach that have successfully demonstrated learning gains. It builds on Save the Children’s expertise in community-based learning, child protection, and child poverty programming. The activities in CuCs focus on boosting learning and providing social support to children struggling with foundational literacy (equivalent to grade 2 literacy level), particularly those from vulnerable families to catch up on learning and stay in school.

This report provides an evaluation of the implementation of CuCs – a community remedial learning to support children in grades 3-5 primary level, in Lilongwe district and Ntcheu district, Malawi. This is a mixed-method research – involving quantitative analysis, using a quasi-experimental evaluation design, and qualitative analysis from FGDs and KII. A quasi-experimental approach was used to evaluate the impact of CuCs remedial literacy learning activities and interventions on children’s literacy outcomes and social and emotional learning (SEL) outcomes. A baseline and an endline survey were conducted with 1368 children at the primary level (Grades 3 to 5) in both districts. Likewise, the qualitative approach was used as a complementary analysis to provide a nuanced exploration of the quantitative findings and also to answer the key study questions around fidelity, acceptability, relevance, and appropriateness.

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