DVV International began working in Malawi in the final quarter of 2017 with a mapping study for the ALE sector in the country. The project’s focus is on the three intervention levels – macro, meso and micro, which are interwoven conceptually and in terms of implementation. Micro-level refers to the local level or direct target group, where best practices in ALE are supported and promoted. The meso-level is the level of organizations, institutions and networks that are to be strengthened in their capacities. The macro-level is the national system, where the long-term benefits of the work takes effect, such as improvement of the political, legal and budgetary framework conditions.
1. Establishment of the adult education subcommittee: With DVV’s support, an adult education Subcommittee consisting of three main partners – NACLAE (National Centre for Literacy and Adult Education), Malawi National Commission for UNESCO (MNCU) and DVV was set up in 2017. Other organisations such as the Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) have been invited to become full members. Regular monthly meetings are held to foster better coordination and cooperation among stakeholders in the ALE sector the subcommittee aims to help government in strengthening the ALE sector through support and oversight of macro level activities, such as policy formulation, M&E, curriculum revision, etc. The main agenda of the subcommittee has been built around the macro level of DVV’s 3-year plan for Malawi.
2. Support to the development of the Adult Literacy and Education Policy: DVV has been supporting the Malawi Government in reviewing the draft policy through advice and technical support. In October 2018, DVV International funded a public consultation workshop in collaboration with the Ministry of Civic Education Culture and Community Development (MoCECCD) for the Adult Literacy and Education draft policy held in Lilongwe. The initiative sought to review the draft policy by soliciting views from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), CSOs, government Ministries and the general public on the policy before it is taken to the Principal Secretaries and the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) for approval. 68 stakeholders (44M, 24F) attended the workshop. The workshop was followed by a policy finalisation workshop which was also supported by DVV International to finalise the policy and incorporate the input from the public consultation workshop. The policy aims to reflect a broader spectrum of adult education that goes beyond literacy and numeracy to embrace a holistic approach to ALE that responds to the needs of adult learners.
3. Development of a National M&E Framework
NACLAE, the department in the MoCECCD responsible for overseeing adult education, coordinates the work of 10,000 literacy centres nationwide. Recognising the essential role of M&E for programme implementation and development, DVV International is supporting NACLAE to develop a national M&E Framework for the ALE sector. A national taskforce was set up to guide this work. DVV International has been supporting the process with NACLAE and the planning section of the MoCECCD, which has led to the development of a Theory of Change for the adult education sector, as well as a draft M&E Framework. With DVV’s support, the Ministry has populated the baseline data for the framework in six sample districts. DVV International has also engaged an M&E expert to develop reporting tools and templates for the M&E system. With DVV’s support this will be followed by a training and final rolling out of the framework in pilot form in two districts in 2019.
DVV International actively advocates for increased accountability, support and commitment to ALE in Malawi at all levels. The Regional Director for Southern Africa, David Harrington, sat on the panel for a press conference with the media during Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) in April, 2018. This nationally covered event advocated for improved commitment by government and donors on achieving SDG4. DVV was successful in ensuring that support to ALE was one of the key demands on the agenda. DVV International also supports the annual commemorations for International Literacy Day to draw attention to advocate for increased support to ALE.
5. International Conference on Building Adult Education Systems: Recognising that African countries face many challenges in relation to policies and legislation, financing, curriculum development, training, monitoring, and data collection in ALE, DVV International hosted an international conference in September 2018 to share experiences of ALE systems-building approaches in African contexts. The conference explored African experiences of adult education system building in order to promote discussion and debate among governmental and non-governmental actors on the key elements of building robust and sustainable adult education systems in African contexts. Participants from eight countries took part in the conference: Ethiopia, Germany, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, representing civil society, government, and academia. The conference was preceded by a study on the same topic drawing on experiences from some of the DVV International project countries in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa. The overall objective of the conference was to stimulate discussion and debate among governmental and non-governmental actors on adopting a holistic approach to ALE that embraces key elements of building robust and sustainable adult education systems in African contexts.
6. Development of a tertiary level Adult Education training programme: In 2018, two workshops were held with the Catholic University of Malawi (CUNIMA) on the development of a tertiary level ALE training programme. Currently, there are no professional qualifications for the ALE sector available in Malawi. The second workshop was held in November with the objective of presenting and discussing two ALE curricula that DVV has used in various countries, and which can be potentially adapted by CUNIMA to the Malawian context. The development of the course is ongoing, and the envisaged start of the course is in September 2019.
7. Workshop with CSOs on A Holistic Approach to Achieving SDG4 : DVV International in partnership with CSEC during Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) in April organised a workshop for CSOs working in the education sector in Malawi. The workshop, financed by DVV, was themed A Holistic Approach to Achieving SDG4. The emphasis was on highlighting the key role of ALE within a framework of lifelong learning. Participants from various sub-sectors of education were challenged and encouraged to explore synergies between their area of work and ALE (e.g. ECD and parental education, etc.). This activity was conceived as a first step in building partnerships between DVV and a wide range of civil society education stakeholders, with a view to carving out more space for and creating more awareness of the importance of youth and adult education.
8. Education and training for incarcerated youths: While the Malawian Constitution guarantees the right to education for all, the reality is that those that end up in prison are often denied this right. This is the result of various factors, including lack of resources and lack of political will. DVV in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) in November held a one-day stakeholder’s workshop with governmental and non-governmental organisations that are working in the prison system in the Southern part of Malawi. The workshop sought to gather more information on the current status of education in Malawian prisons. Taking part were stakeholders from the office of the Blantyre District Education Manager, ex-convicts, Prison Fellowship Malawi, Primary Education Advisors, Malawi Prisons and Chisomo Children’s Club. The stakeholders stressed the need for the programme, gave their input on the potential focus areas and the potential next steps of the proposed programme. DVV will continue working with CHREAA, the Malawian prison authorities and other partners in 2019 to develop and implement the programme.
9. Setting up of CLCs : On the micro level, a lot of groundwork has been carried out for the setting up of CLCs in the northern region of the country. This region typically has less investment and NGO involvement than the central and southern parts of the country. In February, a fact-finding mission was carried out together with NACLAE to several districts. The results of this pointed to Rumphi District as the best candidate for setting up a CLC. In April, a field trip to the Hewe region of Rumphi District identified a possible location for the project. A meeting was held with a large group of community leaders to gain their endorsement and buy-in, which was received. Two needs assessment visits were carried out in Hewe focusing on two villages and partners: a Youth Centre in Zolokere Village, and the Rumphi Women’s Forum in Katowo Village. Tentative entry points have been identified. Following an assessment process, it was decided that REFLECT would be the best approach with the Zolokere Youth Clubs. The first trainings for the youth club REFLECT facilitators is scheduled for February, 2019. DVV International is also working with the Malawi National Commission for UNESCO (MNCU) exploring the possibility of supporting ALE activities at 3 CLCs previously supported by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU) through MNCU. A needs assessment is being carried out at the CLCs to determine the potential entry points, needs and gaps.
10. Integrated Adult Education (IAE) programmes: In 2014, DVV International in Mozambique developed a new methodology for ALE entitled Integrated Adult Literacy. The approach has been very successful and is being adopted by the Mozambican Ministry of Education and Human Development. The methodology has been translated and repackaged in Malawi as Integrated Adult Education (IAE) and will be rolled out in two pilot districts in 2019. The IAE approach acknowledges that many people shun adult literacy (especially men and youths) due to a perceived lack of relevance to their everyday lives. The IAE responds to this by adopting an approach that integrates the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills into the everyday lives and livelihoods of the participants.