In 2017 we worked closely with SHUMAS to undertake a wide-ranging impact assessment on the construction work completed over the previous 10 years. We are delighted with all the positive impacts that our projects have had on these communities and with the recognition that we have gained at both regional and national government level. (The full report can be downloaded here)
Every school that we have helped has experienced a significant increase in enrolment in the year or two following construction. Although a few have seen these numbers decrease a little when other new schools have been constructed nearby, the majority of our schools (75%) have enjoyed a sustained increase and more teachers have been employed at these schools. The largest increase was seen at GBSS Kimbo, where pupil numbers grew from 48 in 2008 to over 1500 in 2016. This has been helped by the construction of a river bridge we helped to construct in the community, which has enabled pupils to access the school even during the dangerous times of flooding, when in the past some children had been swept away.
Many more parents at these schools now have the incentive to apply for birth certificates for their children, thus allowing them to take school examinations, progress through the education system and attain the rights of full citizenship.
Healthy and motivated pupils
Children in every school were reported as being healthier and better motivated. Academic results were noted across the board as having improved significantly. There is less absenteeism and punctuality is much better. Several schools that the children, especially girls, felt safer at school.
More time for teaching
Teachers reported that their working conditions were much better and that the weatherproof classrooms meant that there was less teaching time lost during the rainy season. The new blackboards, classroom furniture and school office all helped to make their jobs much easier and the
improved health of the children – in particular the reduction in jigger flea infestation – resulted in better behaviour.
More girls are being sent to primary school and are staying on to secondary and further education. Fewer girls are now leaving school for early marriage and, thanks to the improved sanitation provided by the new latrines, girls are no longer leaving school when they reach puberty.
The inclusion of women’s groups in our projects and the support they receive from the SHUMAS micro-credit scheme has resulted in many improvements both at schools and at home.
The benefits of the school building projects were experienced across the whole communities. Of note is the improved spirit of dynamism and co-operation, and the willingness of different religeous and tribal groups to work together on a project. Communities were recognised as being empowered by these projects and better able to initiate further change and development.
Access to clean water
The provision of clean water also benefited the wider communities with improved health and a significant reduction in water-borne diseases such as malaria, cholera and typhoid. Some schools reported up to 4 hours a day being saved when children no longer had to trek miles to collect water, leading to improved academic performance. Water projects had a huge impact on the quality of life particularly in the rural areas. Better health and hygiene were noted together with improved wider aspects of development and community cohesion.
Improved Health Centres
The provision or upgrading of health centres was repeatedly reported as having had a positive impact, regular mention being made of increased vaccination rates and improved perinatal outcomes with wider impacts on the community as a result of outreach programmes. Savings on journey times and cost produced better outcomes for serious disease or illness and cost savings for patients and their families resulted in a general improvement in the standard of living.