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Malawi's Social Cash Transfer Programme & Education Among Youth


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This qualtitative study - presented to the Malawi Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare in September 2019 - helps us understand how the programme can improve child schooling outcomes among recipient families.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Malawi's Social Cash Transfer Programme & Education Among Youth

  2. 2. 1. How does the SCTP cash impact school attendance? 2. What factors beyond the SCTP affect school attendance? 3. How do experiences at school affect attendance? RESEARCH QUESTIONS
  4. 4.  Direct impact: SCTP cash used to pay school fees  Most youth and CGs indicated SCTP funds were not enough and supplemented funds with work and investment  Youth were able to spend more time in school and less time on ganyu to pay fees “They [caregivers] buy goats and after they multiply, they sell the small ones and use the money for school needs, like uniforms, books and fees” – in-school female, Salima SCTP CASH: SCHOOL FEES
  5. 5. CLOTHES AND UNIFORMS  Proper clothing affected school attendance and retention  Required for school  Affected girls more than boys Improper clothing Punishment or teasing Discouraged, low self- esteem School absence School dropout “We are different from boys, who are ok to go to school with torn clothes as compared to girls” –in-school female, Mulanje
  6. 6. SHOES  Required for school  Facilitated comfort  Described as an investment “You use [shoes] wisely. After classes when you are back home, you remove [them] and keep [them] so that it should last long.” - in-school male , Mulanje
  7. 7. PERSONAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS  Soap and lotion encouraged school attendance  Improved sense of confidence  Clean clothes = less punishment, less teasing “We encourage [our caregivers] to get us soap for our clothes so that we can go to school”. “Having no soap for clothes, I miss[ed] school”
  8. 8. SCHOOL SUPPLIES AND EXAM FEES  SCTP Cash reduced financial burden on caregivers and households, helped pay for:  Pencils  Notebooks  Books  Book bags  Exam fees “I thank Mtukula Pakhomo as it pushed me through, when the children have no books, I buy” – Caregiver, Mulanje
  9. 9. FOOD  Food alleviated hunger in class, improving concentration  Food access encouraged school attendance, discouraged absence from school to work to alleviate hunger “You go to school without taking breakfast and coming from school, you find no lunch. You go hungry, you come back [and] you stay hungry, so you conclude that, ‘I better quit school. Maybe I can do some casual labor and buy food for myself’.” – in-school male, Mulanje
  11. 11. CAREGIVER SUPPORT:YOUTH PERCEPTIONS Youth motivated when CGs:  Invested, involved in education  Encouraged school attendance  Kept youth accountable (class work)  Provided financial and social support  Reinforced importance of education Youth discouraged when CGs:  Uninvolved, unsupportive, or indifferent to education  Did not prioritize school  Told youth to “quit”  Prioritized youth to work or marry
  12. 12. CAREGIVER SUPPORT:YOUTH PERCEPTIONS Perceived CG indifference “For example, a child says, ‘I will not go to school today’ and yet he [the child] is not sick. Then parents accept [school absence] without saying anything,…they just accept it and let him live. This makes the child to drop out from school”. – in-school male, Mulanje Perceived CG encouragement “My parents encourage me to go to school by telling me that school is important in life” – in-school female, Salima
  13. 13.  CGs often described financial or material support  School and exam fees, school supplies, clothing  Sharing SCTP cash with youth  Provision of food, housing  Other support described  Reducing youth work in the morning (house or fieldwork)  Provide advice, guidance or encouragement  Force youth to go to school  Keep youth accountable (talk to headmaster, teachers) CAREGIVER SUPPORT: CAREGIVER PERCEPTIONS
  14. 14. PREGNANCY AND MARRIAGE  Girls pressured to marry young, especially when families benefit  Men “target” girls for sex  Includes male teachers, older men  Youth lose interest in school after they have sex  Pregnancy causes girls to leave school  Unique youth perspectives:  Girls sexually assaulted by own family  Boys often described sexual assault as an issue affecting girls “We have violence against children in homes we are from. If you have been violated, you cannot perform better because you are under attack. You cannot make it in class. You just think of what you are passing through. This is the reason why she [girls] preferred to [leave school and] get married.” – Out-of-school male, Salima
  15. 15.  Youth felt pressured to work instead of attending school  Some CGs prioritized farming, household work  Heavy morning workload  late to school  punishment  miss school  Youth as caretakers themselves  Youth cared for sick, injured or deceased CGs or family members  Boys: earn money  Girls: care for others  Unique caregiver perspective:  CGs treat orphan youth worse than own biological children  More work, force orphaned to leave school so biological children can attend HOUSEHOLD RESPONSIBILITIES
  16. 16. COMMUNITY ROLE MODELS FORYOUTH Encouragement  Motivated by role models (teachers, doctors, researchers)  Youth motivated to be role model for others in their community  Youth enjoyed recognition for being educated by community members  Enjoyed applying education to work, help others Discouragement  Others dismiss or diminish the benefits of school  “You think you will finish school?”  “Who have you seen that has benefited from school?  Demoralized by job prospects  “There are no jobs for you”  Mocked for attending school
  18. 18. BULLYING Main reasons youth were bullied  Clothes  Girls: menstruation (fear of stains)  Student age  Older students felt ashamed learning alongside younger peers, especially when they struggled reading or writing  Peers, CGs and teachers perpetuated age and school-related bullying The Effects of Bullying  Short-term: school absence  Decreased self-esteem  Shame, embarrassment  Long-term: leaving school entirely “When you fail in class, the teacher says ‘shame on you’ so the learners are used to this word. If they say it against you.Then I prefer to quit.” –Out-of-school male, Salima
  19. 19. Positive Negative • Peers encouraged each to work hard • Extracurricular activities: sports • Learning from friends at school • Meeting new friends • Idolizing peers who: • Have romantic partners • Drink beer or smoke weed • Left school to work • Hearing discouraging messages, “school is a waste of time” • “Enticed” by others to leave school • Skip school to watch movies PEER INFLUENCE:YOUTH PERSPECTIVES
  20. 20. PEER INFLUENCE:YOUTH PERSPECTIVES Positive “We have sports and we also play different games and meet different people”. – In-school female, Mulanje Negative “We rush for money… We copy [others] because he left school. …if we hear that ‘So and so sells water at [the] trading center’ then we want to be like him. ‘I should also go and do the same’ [I say]. When realizing [leaving school is a] disaster, we are already in it. You start blaming one another, [saying], ‘You are the one who made me to do this!’ “ – Out-of-school male, Mulanje
  21. 21.  Youth motivated and discouraged by career aspirations, school performance SCHOOL PERFORMANCE & MOTIVATION • Career aspirations • Ability to read and write • Desire, interest to learn • Poor grades • Struggled learning • Did not see benefits from school • Felt they “learned enough” “I was one of the people who had difficulties to understand, I would listen to the teacher but it never stuck in my head…When it came to English, I would get a zero or 10, so I would feel like I was bothering myself going to school” - Out-of-school female, Mulanje
  22. 22. Did academically well but bored with school “I just decided to quit, I just decided to stop attending classes” Preferred being with friends “I was not serious about [school], I was going to meet with my friends.This is the reason why I dropped out early” Wanted partner “…we go to school not to get education. ..You want to have a girl, to win her to be your partner.You follow her to school and pretend as if you are serious about school.When I fail to have her, then I just quit.” Felt excluded “They just support girls only not boys.They exclude boys…. Many projects are for girls. So we boys we think to say ‘‘gov’t does not consider us as important to the society’” LACK OF INTEREST IN SCHOOL:YOUTH PERSPECTIVES
  23. 23. INTEREST IN SCHOOL: CAREGIVER PERSPECTIVES  “Youth don’t listen”  Are violent, rude  Sexual relationships  Negative peer pressure  Drugs, sex, videos  Videos are a bad influence  Poor parental encouragement  Gender-based violence occurring at home  Youth discouraged by poverty, prospects of finding work
  24. 24. INTEREST IN SCHOOL: CAREGIVER PERSPECTIVES “Youth don’t listen” “...before, the food was an issue, but now schools have porridge but still they don’t go because they don’t listen. I differentiate this generation to the past ones, the past one would listen, but now, no! for the boys, you will hear he was smoking weed. For the girls you will hear she was with an older man, relationships, so what can you do?” - In- school CG, Mulanje
  25. 25. TEACHERTREATMENT:YOUTH PERSPECTIVES  Over-punishment  Boys felt teacher over punished boys  Mocked by teachers  Sexual abuse “Instead of giving you punishment you deserve, they give you a punishment that you will fail to do it. “ ‘mbuli iwe’ [unintelligent you are] ‘amagokutailira kwanu’ [they do not caution you at home] “Being asked out by teachers for better grades” or “touching breasts” of girls
  26. 26.  Teacher behavior towards youth  Harsh teacher punishment  Physical abuse  Insults, mockery, harsh feedback  Sexual abuse, inappropriate behavior  Many believed education quality was better when they were students  Teachers do not teacher properly (reasons why varied)  Many youth cannot read, write or speak English TEACHERS: CAREGIVER PERSPECTIVES
  27. 27. TEACHERS: CAREGIVER PERSPECTIVES Inappropriate teacher behavior “[Girls] drop out from school because they go at school without any motive. They meet with a teacher and [the teacher] ask[s] love to them, [girls] deny. [Girls] prefer to stay at home. Asking them; ‘Why not going to school?’, they say ‘My teacher proposed me. So I better stay away from him’ “ - In-school CG, Mulanje Poor education quality “Teachers are not teaching as they deserve. I think because they are not well paid. They just tell their learners to say ‘teach one another’ and they go out and have a chat outside the classroom. We have low quality education.” –Out-of-school CG, Mulanje
  28. 28.  Low awareness of Mtukula Pakhoma  DEM is aware of SCTP, but not details regarding educational objectives  PEA, HeadTeachers and especially teachers unaware of program  DEMs and HTs requested more information so schools could take more ownership of the program  Program has similar objectives to schools KEY INFORMANT INTERVIEWS (~10WITH DEM, PEA,TEACHERS)
  29. 29.  Beyond finances…  Cultural factors: students less interested after initiation ceremony  Parents/families: Don’t encourage or emphasize schooling, allow children to skip school  Girls: Cultural and familial factors especially important, plus menstrual health REASONS FOR DROP-OUT FROM KEY INFORMANT INTERVIEWS
  30. 30.  Provide list of Mtukula Pakhomo students to schools for monitoring  Attendance monitoring via class registers  Currently done for other programs (WorldVision, One Community)  Special ‘Report Card’ produced forAmazing Grace to track performance of students receiving their support  Amazing Grace has their own forms, which schools fill out each month  This system can be used by Mtukula Pakhomo KEY INFORMANTS’ SUGGESTIONS FOR COLLABORATION - 1
  31. 31.  Use Mother’s Groups to follow-up on drop-outs  Know what is happening in the community, better able to reach out and encourage re-enrollment  They are especially focused on girls drop-outs  Greater two-way sensitization  DEM, PEA and some HTs to attend pay parade, discuss school enrollment importance with caregivers, listen to concerns  Mtukula Pakhomo to sensitize teachers and HTs about program eligibility, operations, and objectives  Build ownership of schooling objectives among school administrators and teachers KEY INFORMANTS’ SUGGESTIONS FOR COLLABORATION - 2
  32. 32.  SCTP facilitates school access, attendance and retention  Factors affecting school attendance and retention  Household dynamics  Social, gender and community norms  School experiences  DEM, PEA andTeachers largely unaware of SCTP  Recommendations: 1. Develop SCTP youth student list 2. Use mothers group to follow-up on out-of-school youth 3. Increase SCTP sensitization among school staff KEY POINTS
  33. 33.  What results did you anticipate? What surprised you?  How do these findings align (or not) with your own observations?  What needs to be explored further?  Main themes, messages:  “SCTP helps families overcome financial barriers, but complex social context and relationships, including school quality, are also important.”  “There is not a strong community culture of schooling.”  “Opportunities for SCTP to work with schools and community groups exist.” DISCUSSION
  34. 34. Team: Clare Barrington Ashu Handa Courtney Turner Humberto Gonzalez Rodriguez Frank Otchere Kaku Attah Damoah Maxton Tsoka @TransferProjct This work is funded by the German Government through KfW THANK YOU