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The ripple effect

Posted on 30 October 2017

Very few reviews of projects take place more than one year after they end – most projects have a final review while they are still running or at best a year after they complete. Yet judgements are frequently made in final project reviews about the sustainability of interventions: judgements often based on limited evidence and heroic assumptions.

In May 2017, we returned to western China to review the Gansu Basic Education Project (GBEP) a UK aid-funded pilot project that ran from 1999-2006.

The ripple effect tells the story of this visit and assesses which of the changes in the education system initiated by the project are still in evidence today. It offers some unique perspectives – a real test of the meaning of “sustainability” – and some thoughts on how projects could be better designed to achieve long-term impact.

Lessons learned from the GBEP project

Posted on 30 October 2017

The Gansu Basic Education Project (GBEP) was designed to help the Chinese government to achieve Universal Primary Education by 2005 and Universal Basic Education by 2010 in Gansu Province.

The purpose of the project was to have more boys and girls entering and completing the primary and junior middle school cycles in Gansu, especially in the four target counties, and to reduce inequalities within the educational system . After six years of implementation, the project attracted considerable interest especially within the education development community both at national and international level.

Although there are plenty of success stories in the project, it is also relevant to ask - are there also lessons from its failures, or aspects that did not work well? What would the managers of the project do differently now if they had the chance to implement the project again?

New inspiring films by South Sudanese girls

Posted on 30 October 2017

The animated films which touch upon themes of displacement, early marriage and early pregnancy, and financial poverty, were created at a seven-day workshop in Juba by girls from Juba, Rumbek, Yambio and the Juba Protection of Civilians (PoC) site. The workshops gave the girls the opportunity to tell their stories through interviews and drawings. The drawings were then brought to life by turning them into moving images with animated characters and scenes. It is the first time that such an approach has been used in South Sudan.

One of the films, ‘Poni’s Journey’, was chosen to be screened in New York at the United Nations event ‘Girls Speak Out’ which showcased powerful, everyday stories from girls around the world.

Poni’s Journey helps raise awareness to the challenges and opportunities girls face before, during, and after crises. The constant conflict in South Sudan continues to impact access to Education, presenting another barrier to girls who already experience negative socio-cultural attitudes towards girls’ education. Only a small number of girls who begin primary education continue to secondary school - in 2016 128,000 girls started primary school but only 2,700 completed secondary school.

GESS Team Leader Akuja de Garang, described the films as ‘expressions of solidarity that we hope will inspire the girls of South Sudan to stand strong in the face of adversity’.

International Day of the Girl Child recognises the world’s 1.1 billion girls who are a powerful source of strength and creativity.

GESS is working nationwide to transform the lives of a generation of children in South Sudan – especially girls – through education. GESS is an initiative of the Ministry of General Education and Instruction of South Sudan, funded by the UK government and managed by Cambridge Education.