Proposal Evaluation of Education Interventions in Nigeria
In continuing to support Nigeria to meet the 2015 education and gender Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), representatives from the Education Team at the Earth Institute collaboratively worked in Abuja in March with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria for the MDGs (OSSAP-MDGs) to technically evaluate proposals from 148 Local Government Areas (LGAs) for potential funding by the OSSAP-MDGs Conditional Grants Scheme (CGS). This is a robust process that invests in local ownership and data-driven planning, provides a cost-sharing platform requiring a combination of local and state monetary and personnel support, and serves as a federal policy scheme that in part focuses on interventions to mitigate education gaps, all in order to meet the 2015 MDGs in Nigeria.
Building off the proposal development training in January in Abuja, facilitated by the Earth Institute and OSSAP-MDGs, “Technical Assistants” from Local Government Areas have since engaged in significant work to produce their respective proposals. Technical Assistants conducted needs assessments through community surveys; convened community stakeholder meetings; collected data from the Nigeria MDG Information System; and assembled data from their education sector gap worksheet which highlights service delivery gaps. They have determined which education interventions can be funded by the LGA, the State, and CGS, as well as private partners. They also developed detailed budgets and created monitoring and evaluation plans. Technical Assistants have been required to provide extensive supporting documentation such as bill of quantities, minutes from local technical planning meetings, and photos of dilapidated classrooms, community meetings, and classrooms with an insufficient amount of desks and benches for students.
The education interventions vary, focusing on issues like access, enrollment, school continuation and completion, gender parity and equality, literacy, classroom buildings, water and sanitation at schools, furniture, teachers, and teaching and learning materials.
Many LGAs sought funding to improve education quality tapping into the priorities of all three tiers of government – local, state and national. For example, they presented plans for enrollment campaigns and teacher salaries from LGAs; textbooks and construction of classroom blocks from the state, and gender-separated ventilated latrines, improved water points, desks, and renovation of classroom blocks from the federal Conditional Grants Scheme.
Working in close partnership, the OSSAP and Earth Institute technical review committee spent two intense weeks assessing each proposal, providing intervention-specific and overall comments, scoring each proposed intervention, and when necessary seeking further clarification or justification from the Technical Assistants. Following that process, the committee is reviewing the resulting revisions and comments from the Technical Assistants before a final determination is made on awarding funding.
Throughout this process, we have been documenting the learning process, noting what worked well, challenges encountered, and recommendations for going forward. A questionnaire might also be submitted to the Technical Assistants to gauge information on their assessments, the pre-proposal writing process, their interpretation and use of data, how interventions were selected, the writing of the proposal, and opportunities for future interaction with and training of new Technical Assistants.
As the review process winds down and funding awards considered, OSSAP-MDGs andEarth Institute teams will continue to collaborate on next steps for forthcoming selected LGAs while applying lessons learned and additional tool development.