Last week I visited a school called Siwaze in Insiza and talking to the School Head I asked him what he thought about IGATE and he said “…for the first time in the history of the school we have recorded Zero none Readers in grade 1”. He attributed this to Happy Readers books adding that they (books) create great enthusiasm to read among children. I thought I could share with you this piece of good news.

The Improving Girls’ Access through Transforming Education (IGATE) programme aims to identify and reduce the barriers that limit and hinder girls’ educational access, retention and learning outcomes.

Funded by the Girls Education Challenge Fund through the UK Department for International Development, this four-year programme (2013 – 2017) will reach approximately 101,448 marginalised girls from 467 schools located in four provinces in Zimbabwe.

Measuring IGATE’s impact

In order to  ensure that IGATE can speak to attribution and direct linkage to impact, World Vision and partners are also running the project as a randomised control trial, quasi-experimental design, which allows for the tracking of a cohort of girls through both treatment and control schools through the life of the programme. Upon completion of this project, IGATE will have publishable, scientific data enforcing the programme’s models and the activities implemented.

“Through initiatives like IGATE, World Vision and its partners are committed to implementing comprehensive, sustainable activities that will help bring transformation to girls, women, families, communities and entire nations,” says Mr. Geddes.

Over the course of year 2, IGATE expanded its programme to include further interventions looking at literacy improvements and male  champion engagement, creating a now nine layered project linked directly to responding to girls educational barriers.

Barrier 8: Learning Outcomes

World Vision, under IGATE, is partnering with Happy Readers, a Zimbabwean based company that has years of experience working in improvement of learning outcomes through government supported, school linked interventions that directly target training of teacher and therefore children on literacy activities.

Happy Readers has a strong, existing relationship with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoP&SE) and has had all curriculum approved and relationships at National, Provincial and District level solidified through the results being seen in its interventions across Zimbabwe.

Under IGATE, HR will roll-out 300 Reading Clubs in the IGATE communities focused on improving these children’s capability through training of local Government of Zimbabwe officials, teachers, Matrons and World Vision staff on the introduction and facilitation of extra assistance for children to improve their quality of education.

We are still waiting for final results as this is too early to determine final outcomes but one report says:

In summary, Happy Readers has been highly effective, in some cases even revolutionary, for individual students’ literacy development and enthusiasm for learning, teachers’ development of new and effective pedagogical approaches, and schools’ overall cultures of reading.  Happy Readers is an engaging and effective initiative that has inspired innovation, assisted teachers with teaching, improved literacy and numeracy among pupils, and is likely to have life-long positive impacts on the learning and wellbeing of students in Zimbabwe.
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