The mid-term performance evaluation aims to determine the extent to which SIRA achieved its objectives in order to make mid-course corrections for maximum impact and efficiency for the remaining performance period.
Region: West Africa
The mid-term performance evaluation of USAID/Mali’s Selective Integrated Reading Activity (SIRA) was conducted by The Mitchell Group, Inc. (TMG) with EdIntersect and Malian partner CEPROCIDE between January and May 2020 in order to determine the extent to which SIRA has achieved its objectives at mid-term and identify mid-course corrections that may help achieve maximum impact and efficiency for the remaining year of the project. Findings will also serve to inform the design of future projects.
In February 2016, USAID/Mali launched the Selective Integrated Reading Activity (SIRA) a five-year program (FY2016–FY2021) to improve classroom instruction in early grade reading, improve service delivery systems, and increase parent, community, and private support for early literacy (grades 1 and 2) in public and community schools . SIRA targets areas of Mali where Bamanankan was understood to be the predominant language: the regions of Koulikoro, Sikasso, and Segou and the District of Bamako . With a budget of $50,775,000 US, SIRA is implemented by the Education Development Center (EDC) consortium with its partners Cowater SOGEMA, Malian Children’s Aid in the Sahel (OMAES), Save the Children, and School to School International (STS) .
TMG brought in a team of international and local evaluation experts to carry out a multi-level and multi-phased mid-term performance evaluation.
The mid-term performance evaluation used a multi-level three-phased convergent mixed-methods approach that simultaneously collected quantitative and qualitative data to provide for breadth and depth of understanding of SIRA’s implementation. Data collection occurred between February 23 and March 19, 2020.
The evaluation collected quantitative data in 110 schools and classrooms administering 1,071 Early Grade Reading Assessments (EGRA), and a suite of 4 questionnaires (100 teachers, 99 directors, 838 parents and 1,071 students). Classroom observation provided for additional triangulation. Qualitative data collection occurred in 4 schools in Segou, 4 in Sikasso, 6 in Koulikoro, and 2 in Bamako through focus group discussions (FGDs) with parents, teachers, community leaders, and SMCs, and key informant interviews (KIIs) with directors and community volunteers. At the systems level, the team held interviews with key stakeholders that included USAID/Mali, MEN and other government officials, SIRA staff (EDC and partners) and private partners.
The evaluation encountered significant contextual challenges throughout its process including ongoing teacher strikes, insecurity, and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which impacted data collection and analysis activities.