Our impact

Programme benefits

  • Improves school readiness: Our evaluations show dramatic improvements in children's cognitive and behavioural skills and their health.

  • Utilises empowers mothers: The programme creates a system to empower, support and provide information to marginalised and uneducated mothers in hard-to-reach communities. Our evaluations show dramatic improvements in positive parenting practices and in the wellbeing of the mothers.

  • Improves schools: The Scheme relieves the pressure on teachers caused by large class sizes and lack of resources. Our evaluations show improvements in teacher motivation & attendance.

  • Cost-effective & scalable: The programme does not require investment in classrooms or in teachers. Play Schemes are run by voluntary workforce using local materials.

  • Promotes community-action: We create a platform of change-makers at community-level. The group of mothers quickly becomes a very powerful platform for further change and development in their community. Through participating in the programme, these mothers gain a thirst for further learning, realise change is possible and develop skills and peer support networks to put ideas into action.

  • Increases demand for early childhood development: By raising awareness of the importance of early childhood development (ECD), the programme encourages communities to hold schools and government to account and to demand better ECD services. This is a vital catalyst for systems reform.

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The situation in Ghana

  • 91 pupils per trained kindergarten teachers in Northern Region (EMIS 2015)

  • 23% teacher absenteeism (Transparency International, 2013)

  • Less than 20% proficiency in English and Maths of children in primary years 3 & 6 in Northern & Upper East regions (2011 National Education Assessment)

  • Rote learning in kindergarten and "lack of understanding as to how children should learn and how teachers should teach" (The 2012 Ghana Education Service KG Improvement Plan)

  • Low education attainment for women: Median education attainment for women of 0.0 years in the Northern Region and 2.9 years in the Upper East Region (Ghana Demographic & Health Survey, 2014)

  • 9% access to improved sanitation: only 9% of rural families have access to improved sanitation facilities (WHO, 2015)

  • 94% of mothers have not completed primary school (our baseline surveys)

The situation in Uganda

  • Gross enrolment kindergarten ratio of 11% 

  • 56% primary school completion rates (World Bank)

  • 40% of Uganda’s population is below five years old (National Development Plan II for ECD 2015)

  • 60% of our mothers have not completed primary school (our baseline surveys)

  • 17% access to improved sanitation: only 17% rural families in Uganda have access to improved sanitation facilities (WHO, 2015)

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How we measure impact

As we are a single-cause organisation with just one flagship programme, it is hugely important to us that we know how well the programme is working and that we use our learnings to make improvements.

To do this we:

  • Administer detailed assessments on children, mothers and teachers in our Play Scheme communities and also in waitlist control communities at baseline and then 3 and 6 months after the Play Schemes are open. These examine the cognitive and social skills of the children, frequency of disease incidence, use of play and stimulation at home and wellbeing.

  • Monitor all Play Schemes regularly and collect data to check on attendance and performance levels.

  • Carry out interviews and focus groups to get richer insights from mothers and teachers.

Our results are carefully analysed by our Head of Monitoring & Evaluation.

Our results​

We are seeing dramatic and lasting improvements in the education, wellbeing and health of the children, mothers and teachers in the programme.

Between 2017 and 2018 a rigorous Randomised Control Trial of our programme in Ghana, conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Innovations for Poverty Action showed positive impact on all development domains; cognitive, socio-emotional and health. Mothers showed improved parenting practises and knowledge of ECCE.

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Ghana

23% reduction in teacher absenteeism

53% increase in assessments results

53% increase in play at home

62% reduction in diarrhoea

46% reduction in malaria

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Uganda

110% increase in play at home

108% increase in assessment results

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