There are three main factors that have informed the development of the Uwezo initiative. If you wish to obtain a more detailed explanation of these summaries, please download our Strategy document.

1. GOVERNMENTS HAVE PRIORITIZED EDUCATION BUT CHILDREN ARE NOT LEARNING
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  • Since committing to ‘Quality Education for All’ in the Dakar Framework for Action (UNESCO 2000) schooling has expanded dramatically across the region with universal enrolment (including gender parity) having largely been achieved
  • Significant investment has been made to recruit teachers, build classrooms and improve school infrastructure, however:  the unprecedented growth of schools, teachers and enrollment has not been matched by improvements in quality
  • Schools across East Africa today are characterized by insufficient and poorly trained, under motivated teachers, overcrowded classrooms and a lack of adequate teaching/learning materials
  • Uwezo’s own findings demonstrate that vast majority of children in school are not able to perform at the required level, and too many complete primary schooling without basic competencies in reading and arithmetic

2. NUMEROUS ASSESSMENTS HAVE BEEN UNDERTAKEN, BUT HAVE HAD LITTLE IMPACT
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  • Before the introduction of Uwezo, there were at least three major regional and national learning assessments in East Africa
  • These assessments were all conceived as higher-end policy related designed primarily to provide information for policymaking, with limited value in East Africa where ‘research-policy-implementation’ linkages are not effective
  • There is little evidence to show that these studies have helped trigger greater policy clarity or change, and the overly technical nature of these assessments may have made the findings inaccessible to the very audience they had targeted

3. NEW COMMUNICATION CHANNELS ARE INCREASINGLY POWERFUL FOR CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS
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  • Citizen engagement is usually understood to be organized through civil society organizations (CSOs), which have often faced significant challenges in areas of integrity, quality leadership, internal governance and sustainability
  • Their ability to reach and connect with citizens and enable citizen organizing have been especially weak, limiting their political resonance and legitimacy
  • There is a growing need for locally-driven, broad based accountability in bringing about and sustaining better service delivery, with citizens able to demand better responsiveness and accountability
  • Communication channels are growing rapidly and thriving in East Africa. The growth of media has also created unprecedented space for access to differing viewpoints and public debate; the growth of cell phones has dramatically altered communication possibilities in both rural and urban contexts; and through the growth of vernacular radio citizens are both better informed and have greater space for direct voice and engagement