Making Lasting Change

Exploring the sustainability of Link's work.

Everywhere we work, we try to help create long-lasting and positive change for children through education.  We hope that these changes will continue to benefit future generations of children beyond the life of any one project.  In our eight-year girls’ education project in Ethiopia there are three main goals: the first is improvement in girls’ learning, the second is the transition of girls through primary to secondary and beyond, and the third is that these changes are sustained beyond the project.

To achieve lasting change, we build sustainability into projects from the design stage. This means building on existing education policy and practice to support governments to reach their education goals. In Ethiopia, we work with the relevant government staff at every level, as well as with schools and the wider community, such as through Parent Teacher Associations. That means that all learning can be carried forward long past Link’s involvement.

Take our support to School Improvement Planning.  The government has a framework that evaluates schools and sets improvement goals according to clear standards across school leadership, teaching quality, the school environment and community engagement. Link works with district staff to support school leaders to lead the process of school improvement planning, which involves measuring the school’s performance according to data gathered, agreeing realistic goals for the school, identifying steps to reach the goals as well as where responsibilities lie, and involving the school community at each step in the process.  At each stage we consider children who face additional barriers to learning, including girls, children with disabilities, young married girls/mothers, and children from extremely poor backgrounds.

Another example, is our recent work strengthening regular joint monitoring visits to schools from both government and Link project staff, with follow-up review meetings.  This process of ongoing review contributes to joint experience and learning on what changes will create more positive and lasting change for girls, strengthens the ownership and relevance of project activities, and is more likely to lead towards sustainability in the longer term. In 2021, external evaluators highlighted that government partners are positive about lasting change, and praised Link’s work:

Government officials cited how the interventions were not only all very aligned with government priorities but also how they were already effectively integrated into existing systems. It is evident that woreda [district] officials are already starting to make long-term changes to their work by incorporating aspects of interventions into their planning processes, including sectoral and annual plans

External evaluator

I’m thrilled to be a part of this life-changing work, and hope children will continue to benefit for years to come.