Issues arising – connecting education and health activities
19 May, 2008
“…As for Katine, I think that makes it important to see how the strengthened School Management Committees (SMC) and Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) could identify food and nutrition as a priority for the school children and see how they can take advantage of the livelihoods and health components of the project to devise and implement strategies to ensure there is a meal at school…There is also potential to look at it in the long-term by planting mangoes and other fruit trees at the school.”
“Again this is one area where such school committees, when strengthened, would engage the parents, on the one hand, to address the issue of hunger at school and sensitisation on the importance of education, with a special focus on regular attendance. At the same time the committees can also lobby and advocate to the district for funding support. The involvement of the media, and the roles of the district officials in the implementation and management of this project offers a unique opportunity for the different technical staff and political leaders of Soroti district to directly hear the voices of the people of Katine and identify ways of responding to those needs.”
“In the longer term, it is when the SMCs and PTAs try to address such challenges, like hunger at school, that the integrated approach that AMREF is taking would be seen to have added value to sustained development in Katine.”
If bodies like the School Management Committees and Parent Teachers Associations are able to come up with solutions like this then this may be indicative of something more than simply the integration of different project components, important as that is. At best, it may be indicative that these committee have some degree of independence and empowerment, the ability to act independently of government and AMREF. That will help ensure sustainable developments in Katine. I will be looking for two sources of evidence of this kind of empowerment: (a) a diversity of activities being implemented by these committees (homogeneity will suggest they are subject to a common constraint e.g being driven by government or AMREF), (b) “Most Significant Change” stories of interesting developments, as noted by AMREF staff. AMREF have said they are planning to use this form of “monitoring-without-indicators”.