TACKLING FINANCIAL BARRIERS TO EDUCATION-WHAT NEXT?
By Wangari Karuoya
The cash transfer stakeholders workshop meeting was held on 3rd and 4th of June at a Garissa hotel in May and some of those present were the key government officials, implementers and NGO officials from partner organizations. The workshop was moderated by the Acting Area manager for the Save the Children programme in Dadaab, Sheikh Abdullahi and some of those who were present to present the findings of the cash transfer pilot project were the Save the Children Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Geoffrey Alala and the Save the Children Education Technical Specialist, Jane Mbagi. The objectives of the workshop included sharing the research with those present and also sharing the key lessons learnt during the research.
Speaking at the workshop, the Deputy Governor for Garissa County Mr. Abdullahi Hussein thanked Save the Children and other key education stakeholders for the role they played in Garissa.“ My government is ready to support education programs as we have already supported one tertiary education institute and other schools around the region.” he said.
The workshop began with the opening remarks from Garissa sub-county director of education- Mr. Noor who thanked Save the Children for its contribution to the Education sector in the County. He also expressed his appreciation of how the Organization has specifically designed its operations in places that are hard to reach and inaccessible and also thanked the Cash transfer program staff for their grand efforts in the implementation of the project and accurate documentation of the data for future use.
One of the beneficiaries of the Cash Transfer pilot project and a class 8 pupil at Sankuri Primary School praised the project for the benefits her family had reaped from it. “The Cash transfer enabled my parents to buy my uniform, food and books. The supplementary books my parents bought me through the cash transfer improved my literacy and numeracy skills.” Her mother, Amina also alluded to this saying, “I was getting 3000 shillings which I used to buy my daughter books, pens and other basic needs. I appreciate the support by Save the Children.”
The Cash Transfer project resulted in various outcomes during the period that it was active and some of these were: Improved Management of school, children reported with uniform, books and pens, women empowerment - the larger beneficiaries of the program were women whose financial status improved and improved financial inclusion of the marginalized.
Jane Mbagi, the Education Technical Specialist took the participants through the history of the project. “This project was inspired by the Hunger Safety Net program. After realizing that key achievements of the Hunger Safety Net Program was good education outcomes, Save the Children felt that there was need to have a research on the impact of Cash transfers on Education and hence this project.”
The Cash Transfer Pilot Project was initiated in 2012 with the goal of reducing the direct and indirect costs related to education and increasing enrollment and attendance in primary school. The ultimate goal of the pilot was to generate evidence on the relative impact of cash transfers on enrollment and education.