Supporting Community Action

Through accountability, advocacy, participation and governance.

Community attitudes to education have a huge impact on the quality of learning available to children. We work to raise community awareness of the standard of education children are entitled to, whilst building opportunities for holding schools and government accountable for achieving that standard.

Key facts

community members in Ethiopia participating in meetings to see how their school is performing and support improvement plans
community members took part in INSPIRE’s school improvement activities in Malawi
children in Uganda will benefit from school improvement plans developed jointly by parents and school leaders
more people from marginalised groups said they participated regularly in school management activities following Link’s IPGEM project in Malawi

The school performance review report helps us to identify the general problem in our schools so that we know where to focus and how we can allocate resources to support schools to improve.

District Education Officer, Rwanda

Strengthening accountability systems

Strengthening accountability is crucial to improving every level of the education system. Increased awareness of educational policies and rights, alongside advocacy training empowers school and community leaders to demand the resources they need.

A core part of our approach is supporting schools to hold community meetings or school performance appraisal meetings to share the results of our school performance review with the wider community. This makes the school’s performance transparent, so everyone is aware of its strengths and weaknesses. Community members are encouraged to reflect on this and add their own views.

The school performance appraisal meeting leads on to the development of the school improvement plan. Through debate and consensus the school and the community decide which improvements to focus on for the next year. They agree who is responsible for leading, supporting and checking on progress against each of the priorities so everyone is held accountable for the roles they agreed to play.

Improving school governance

School governing bodies like School Management Committees, Parent Teacher Associations and Mother Groups create a bridge between the school and the wider community. Committee members are provided with training and support so they can act as community representatives in the school and increase support for education in the community.

For example, they can encourage parents to send their children to school on time and visit classrooms at the beginning of the school day to make sure both teachers and students turn up as expected.

This mother dropped out of school when she was in third grade, got married and had a baby. After joining one of Link’s Mother Groups to support her daughters, she was inspired to go back to school herself to get an education with the support of her husband. She is very encouraging of her daughters’ education and does not want them to get married early, urging them to stay in school.

Community engagement in action

In Ethiopia, 12,000 community stakeholders participate in annual school improvement planning and monitoring through Link’s pioneering school performance appraisal meetings. During one meeting to develop their school improvement plan, stakeholders recognised that girls were under-performing. To address this issue, parents committed to reduce household workloads and provide fuel for lamps to enable homework. School managers agreed to provide extra study sessions and meet regularly with school governors. These collaborative efforts saw significant improvements in girls’ school attendance and attainment.