4.3.1 Bangladesh control groups
In May 1994, at the same time as the REFLECT circles were identified, and ensuring that similar criteria were applied (eg Hindu/Moslem balance, distance from main road etc), ten control centres were also identified in Bhola which would be monitored closely but would continue using a primer-based approach. The primer used was devised by Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB) and is widely regarded as one of the best in Bangladesh. These Centres received, from ACTIONAID, the normal support provided to literacy centres using FIVDB materials - in relation to training and materials. Baseline information was taken on these Control centres and the REFLECT centres to ensure that the starting points were consistent.
Specifically an initial test was done to determine whether any of the women had an initial level of literacy. Some were found who could write their name (evenly spread between REFLECT and Control groups) but they were unable to identify the letters that made up their name and could not read or write anything else.
The ACTIONAID Bhola staff maintained close contact with all REFLECT and Control group
Literacy Centres. Fortnightly workshops were used for detailed monitoring purposes as well as for ongoing training. ACTIONAID's broader monitoring and evaluation system for Bhola was also used to monitor progress.
Evaluation Phase One: External evaluation
In February 1995 the ODA supported an external evaluation of the REFLECT pilot project led by Professor Rahman, Director of the Bangladesh Government's Non-Formal Education Expansion Programme, and Habibur Rahman, Coordinator of the Campaign for Popular Education CAMPE (an umbrella group of 200 Bangladeshi NGO's working in education). This evaluation focused on reading, writing and numeracy skills with only brief reference to life skills.
Evaluation Phase Two: Wider empowerment
The aim of phase two of the evaluation was to wrap up elements left over from the first phase and to focus on empowerment. It was undertaken by Ratindranath Pal (Deputy Director of the Centre for Studies in Sustainable Development) helped by David Archer, Rezaul Chowdhury, Shajahan and Nazrul. It involved:
The issues covered included:
It should be noted that by the time of this second evaluation the Control Group centres were closed and it was therefore not feasible to get comparative data.
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