Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) McGovern-Dole Food for Education program, the All Pikin for Learn project (APFL) strives to reduce hunger by providing nutritious meals at its intervention schools, and take-home rations to pupils and teachers. By reducing hunger, APFL hopes to improve literacy and primary education within the Koinadugu and Falaba districts of Sierra Leone. STS’s Whole Child Model is rooted in the understanding that for students to thrive educationally, their basic needs – like nutrition – must be fulfilled. It is that very understanding that makes working on projects like this one such a strong fit for us.
STS served as the external evaluator for the APFL Phase IV project, conducting the baseline, midline, and endline evaluations. STS gathered critical information at each stage through a literacy assessment with Grade 2 students, surveys with teachers and school leaders to better understand the school environment, community focus group discussions, and interviews with key partners and government officials. STS conducted the mixed-method baseline evaluation in Sierra Leone, working with 69 schools and 12 communities, and led the midline evaluation working at 70 schools and alongside 12 communities. The endline followed in the Spring of 2022.
At endline of Phase IV, results showed that the majority of pupils still could not read and understand the meaning of the grade-level text. Despite the lack of improvement in comprehension, results showed increases in knowledge and behaviors around infant and young child feeding (ICYF), health and hygiene, and safe food preparation practices, as well as statistically significant improvement in school infrastructure, distribution of medication, and the proportion of pupils who were not hungry during the school day.
While significant educational strides from the pupils within these districts have not yet materialized, it’s clear to see that more and more of their basic needs are being met. It’s our hope that as pupils’ basic needs are being met, they’re able to devote more time and energy to making notable strides in their education – and that Phase V of the project reflects that.
STS’s executive director Candace Debnam presented on our work on the APFL project at last year’s CIES conference. To learn more about the work that STS did and what was learned as a result, view her presentation below or contact us directly at email@example.com.