The Community Based Monitoring of School (CBM-S) Program was initiated in July 2014 in order to bring more coordination between communities and government departments, increase transparency and accountability, enhance the quality of education services through community monitoring, collaborative information sharing and problem solving. The aim of this program is to make officials more responsive, encourage communities to support education sector and advocate for policy change at local and national levels.
The CBM-S Program succeeded Integrity Watch Afghanistan’s (IWA) Community Score Card (CSC) Program in which School Management Shuras (SMS) were empowered through training of SMS members to evaluate education services, identify school problems and seeking local opportunities for solving school problems. Although the pilot phase of the CSC has successfully come to an end in Jabal saraj district of Parwan province, nevertheless, due to lack of effective monitoring system and the reactive nature of SMSs, IWA decided to alter its approach and switch CSC to CBM-S Program. This new approach has enabled community members to regularly monitor schools for an extended period of time and assist school management to resolve school problems.
The methodology of Community Based Monitoring of School Program is as follows:
- Coordination with Education Sector at Ministry level:
At the outset the vital step for CBM-S program is to contact concerned ministries and secure their cooperation. At this stage the CBM-S team will have introductory meetings with concerned departments in education sector and introduce the program to them. This working approach is greatly needed to inform further development of the program.
- Coordination with Education Sector at Provincial level:
Pursuant to the assured cooperation between IWA and MoE, the CBM-S team will reach out to local authorities and seek their content for the Program as well as invite their support.
- Community Mobilization:
Community involvement is pivotal for successful implementation of CBM-S Program. At this phase targeted communities are mobilized and the need for CBM-S program is explained to members of the community. Communities are then encouraged to elect qualified persons as Local Monitor (LM) or Community Representative to monitor schools and education services. The LMs are elected by community members.
- Local Monitors Training:
To effectively monitor education services, it is instrumental that LMs are equipped with the necessary skills. After the election of Local Monitors, a training and orientation session is organized to prepare them for the task. The training covers basic concepts of corruption, awareness, community mobilization, monitoring and problem solving. Local Monitors will have an understanding of how to use monitoring tools and conduct surveys.
- Baseline Survey:
It is imperative to rigorously understand the ground circumstances before inset of an intervention. This will enable the implementers (in this case IWA) to draft suitable strategies for measurement of the effectiveness and impact of the intervention. At this stage Local Monitors administer specifically designed questionnaires to beneficiaries of education services and document the existing situation.Then, all collected data are fed into Database and Baseline survey reports are produced.
- Monitoring of Schools and Participation in SMS meetings:
Monitoring of schools and overseeing the proper functioning of School Management Shura (SMS) are the core objectives of the CBM-S Program. As previously mentioned, the LMs will visit schools at least twice a week and fill up monitoring forms. They will also attend monthly SMS meetings and update community representatives on the findings. In this step school information is collected and recorded into database. Also, weekly and quarterly monitoring forms are filled by LMs and recorded into database and monthly feedback sheet is prepared from recorded information and submitted to school management and community representatives. In addition, assigned LMs attend SMS meetings and monitor their performance.
- LMs meeting:
For expanding on their own findings as well as sharing their experiences with others, LM meetings take place once a month. This meeting gives LMs the opportunity to exchange their ideas, narrow down on common challenges and jointly seek solutions.
- Provincial Monitoring Board (PMB):
This step is the most important step of CBM-S program. This board houses all stakeholders such us education officials, representative of communities and head of SMSs to discuss imminent problem in education sector at Province level. These meetings take place on quarterly basis.
- End line Survey:
This survey concludes the effectiveness and impact of the intervention. The outcome of this survey will be used as input for evaluating the Program’s success.
Currently 150 schools are being monitored by 150 Local Monitors in Charikar city and Jabal Saraj district of Parwan province, Mamhmud Raqi, Kuhestan Awwal and Kuhestan Dowom of Kapisa province and the city of Herat. The elected Local Monitors attend SMS monthly meetings and monitor the SMS performance as well. All the monitoring process and monitoring achievements are reported to communities as regularly. The results of monitoring show that the SMS meetings are taking place at targeted schools as regularly and contribution of local communities has also increased on identifying and resolving of school problems.