WAPOR 2013 Langer Research: Counterpart-STEP


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WAPOR 2013 Langer Research: Counterpart-STEP

  1. 1. Civic Education in Developing Nations:Does it Work, and How?Gary Langer, Julie Phelan and Gregory HolykLanger Research Associatesinfo@langerresearch.comWorld Association for Public Opinion ResearchMay 14, 2013
  2. 2. STEP overviewSupport to the Electoral ProcessUSAID-funded program of civic education sessions toencourage political/civic engagement in Afghanistan,directed by Counterpart InternationalKey subject areas: principles of democracy, civic rights,rule of law, structure of government, rights of womenand the disabledMore than 17,000 sessions in all 34 provinces, 2009-2011More than 3.3 million participantsSupport via large-scale media campaign, chiefly originalradio programming on civil society issues
  3. 3. Our taskAssignment: Assess effectiveness of revised programIn effect in 12 provinces since July 201061,900 sessions with 1.56 million participants
  4. 4. Research questionsHas participation in STEP increased Afghan citizens’awareness or knowledge of politics and government?Has it impacted their engagement in civic affairs?Has it affected their evaluation of the role ofdemocracy in Afghan society, trust in government orunderstanding of civic values?Has it impacted attitudes regarding the role and rightsof women and the disabled in Afghan society?Were there any community-level impacts?What predicts STEP programming success?
  5. 5. First stop: Literature reviewExtensive review of existing literature (50+ papers) onthe effectiveness of civic education programsConclusions informed sample and questionnairedesign and approaches to data analysis
  6. 6. Lit. review findingsIdentified critical elements of citizens’ relationshipwith government and civil society:Engagement with political and civic institutionsValues that reflect norms of civil societyPolitical efficacy, meaning a sense that one’s personalinvolvement with politics is worthwhile and canproduce desired effectsKnowledge or familiarity with government structuresand processesSupport for democratic ideals and recognition of therights of others
  7. 7. Lit. review conclusionsCivic education has a measurable effect on keyoutcomes when participants attend multiple sessionsusing participatory methods led by high-qualityteachersIngrained values, especially tolerance, are particularlydifficult to influenceCultural and contextual factors (including economicconditions, living conditions and security) areimportant
  8. 8. Design challenges and resourcesChallenges:No built in pre-/post-test or control/treatment protocolsNo database of participants for recontact purposesAvailable resources:List of STEP communities, including number of sessionsand number of participantsList of community-level program organizers
  9. 9. Design solutionsSelect STEP communities PPS to participation ratesRandomly sample 10 adults per community for communitysample (N = 687)Contact STEP organizer in each community, obtain recalled listof STEP participants, randomly select and interview forparticipant sample (N = 700)Randomly select a non-STEP community in each district inwhich a STEP community was sampled; randomly sample 10adults in each for non-STEP community sample (N = 681)Obtain convenience samples of 130-160 disabled individuals ineach of these three groups
  10. 10. Analytical approachSubject results to general linear modeling(ANCOVA) in which respondent characteristics –e.g., age, sex, education, ethnicity, region,economic status and living conditions such assecurity – are held constant in evaluating theeffect of STEP exposure across the sample types
  11. 11. Field workCarried out by ACSOR, Aug. 19-Sept. 9, 2011Average 33-minute face-to-face interviews118 female interviewers (for female respondents), 127male interviewers (for male respondents)RR 70 percent for the STEP community sample, 73percent for the non-STEP community sample15 percent back-checked; additional QC in dataprocessing
  12. 12. Results: Overview ICounterpart-STEP produced measurable, positive effects on itsparticipants’ political and civic engagement.Compared with the non-treatment sample, participants weremuch more likely to be interested in politics and government, tohave worked to solve a local problem and to be registered tovote.Effects remain statistically significant when controlled for sex,age, education, employment, ethnicity, region, living conditionsand household economic status.Two strongest predictors of effects are local living conditions andparticipants’ ratings of the quality of the STEP sessions theyattended, including teaching materials, topics and instructors.
  13. 13. Results: Overview IIFew carry-over impacts on broader communityBut some. STEP community residents were more likelythan those in non-STEP communities to express trust ingov’t leaders, say the gov’t is doing all it can to provideservices and see voting as an individual responsibilityMajor impact on civic and political engagement amongfemale participants, e.g. in interest in politics and gov’t,being registered to vote and feeling politically empoweredDisabled participants more likely to express interest inpolitics, to want to influence how government works and tointend to vote in future elections
  14. 14. ConclusionsCounterpart-STEP produced measurable, positive outcomesin civic orientation and political and communityinvolvement, in modeling with controlsTop predictors of civic engagement among STEP participantsare STEP session quality and local conditions; therefore:Not just any civic education program will do. Use of activeteaching techniques, hand-outs and high-qualityinstructors all are critical factors in predictingeffectivenessLocal conditions such as security, economic conditionsand the availability of basic services are an importantprecursor to effects. Basic needs must be met before civicprogramming can have an impact
  15. 15. RecommendationsCivic education programs should assess the readiness of targetcommunities to focus beyond basic living conditionsPrograms should include the elements shown to impact programquality (e.g., visual teaching materials, active teaching styles)and should regularly assess class and instructor qualityPlanning for assessment at the design and implementation stage(e.g., pre/post-test) would enhance impact evaluationsThe relative weakness of community-level effects suggests agreater focus on personal interventionsA focus on comprehension rather than rote knowledge isadvised; engagement improved irrespective of increasedknowledge
  16. 16. Thank you!Gary Langer, Julie Phelan and Gregory HolykLanger Research Associatesinfo@langerresearch.comWorld Association for Public Opinion ResearchMay 14, 2013