Parental Engagement and Empowerment

Parental empowerment and engagement (PE&E) for the past two years (2022- to date) central focus has been in developing a PE&E framework designed to guide the design, implementation, and assessment of PE&E initiatives in education across East Africa. The framework targets policymakers and educators who are involved in the design and implementation of PE&E interventions. This includes government agencies, schools, non-governmental organizations, and private sector entities, among others. 

The development of this framework was informed by the initial phase of the project (2019-2021), which sought to document innovative Regional Education Learning Initiatives (RELI) PE&E models implemented during the COVID-19 period. It became evident through this phase that various organizations had adopted diverse approaches, ranging from community-based to school-based models, to engage and empower parents. A synthesis of these efforts within showed that approaches that had a strong community-based learning focus were more successful in transitioning and maintaining parental engagement even with limited teacher support (RELI Kenya, 2020). However, a critical gap emerged—there was a lack of a framework to provide guidance in the development of these initiatives. 

In response to this gap, the PE&E project developed a robust regional framework tailored to bring fore the critical pillars of parental empowerment and engagement initiatives, guide education actors in the design, implementation, and evaluation of PE&E policy guidelines and interventions and build the agency of parents as active co-educators in their children’s educational journey. The framework has been developed through a consultative, evidence-based process. It is drawn from the experience and learnings of RELI members who have undertaken PE&E initiatives as well as a wider literature review on the subject, including a review of best practices in other jurisdictions.  

This framework is not an intervention itself. Rather, it points out the critical areas that if policymakers and practitioners paid attention to, would yield higher agency among parents and closer collaboration for learning by parents, teachers, school leaders, and the community.