By John Mugo
In May 2020, RELI’s Values and Life Skills (VaLi) regional thematic cluster will unveil its collaborative initiative – Assessment of Life Skills and Values in East Africa (ALiVE). ALiVE responds to the growing recognition of the value life skills transference as an education outcome against inadequate system attention to these competencies. All three countries have singled out life skills and values as an integral component of the curriculum at various levels and gone so far as to define defined the specific values and life skills to be taught. However, the methods for developing these competences are hardly defined, no investment has been made to develop teacher capacities, and assessment procedures and tools are non-existent.
ALiVE intends to develop the first locally developed East African open source life skills assessment tools and thus contextualize the measurement of values and life skills to the local interests, priorities, and realities of East Africa, while growing local expertise on these tasks.
A scoping exercise on values and life skills confirmed that while many civil society education interventions in East Africa were focusing on promoting coaching on life skills competencies, these interventions lacked deep contextual clarity and were using assessments developed for other contexts to measure progress. Most of the organizations said they would support and even join a collaborative initiative to develop contextualized assessments of life skills for East Africa, but such collaborations were still non-existent.
RELI through its country level VaLi thematic groups has been working to inform and shape ongoing national level education reforms in three countries – Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The initiative, conceptualised in June 2018 when RELI’s regional thematic cluster met in Dar es Salaam, seeks to bolster this policy influence effort by deepenening learning around the three key questions that are central to successful intervention.
- A harmonised understanding of these competencies in the context of East Africa, what to refer to them as, and the most needed values and life skills.
- An understanding of what works in developing and nurturing values and life skills.
- How to measure these competencies in our context.
In the next three years ALiVE will work to: develop context-relevant, open-source tools for assessing life skills in East Africa; undertake a household assessment targeting adolescents aged 13 to 17 years, both in and out of school; use the evidence to amplify the worth of these competenciesamong stakeholders; sustain a regional community of practice on replicable and sustainable life skill transference methods; enhance peer learning and feedback among over 40 organizations working on improving learning outcomes in East Africa.
VaLi will also reach out to state and non-state actors. In the end RELI’s VaLi group will have nurtured a thriving transnational alliance that is a regional community of learning and practice with a strong southern voice.