The Strengthening Education Systems in East Africa (SESEA) Project was a five-year Project that commenced in 2013, co-funded by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and AKF.
The project aimed at strengthening teacher education and supporting systems to improve and sustain learning outcomes for boys and girls in pre-primary and primary school levels.
SESEA includes three components designed to strengthen, over time, the performance of the overall education system in the target areas and beyond. These include:
1) Developing skilled and competent teachers at the pre-primary and primary levels through accredited professional development programmes;
2) Strengthening education support systems and institutions by building accountable leadership, management and technical capacity within the education systems;
3) Sharing evidence based knowledge and learnings, which will allow policymakers and civil society organizations to make better-informed decisions about education reforms and interventions to improve educational outcomes.
SESEA has also incorporated strengthening gender responsiveness within education systems, however it recognized that more advanced and intensive support was required in the West Nile region.
In its last two year SESEA, activities were enhanced under component two to comprehensively integrate gender mainstreaming in all operations of existing school structures.
Strengthening gender focus through the civil society activities contributed towards the achievement of SESEA learning and teaching results in literacy and numeracy for both boys and girls with the following outcomes:
1) Strengthened teacher education and support systems by CSOs to improve and sustain learning outcomes for girls.
2) Improved capacity of selected CSOs to mainstream gender in internal operations and education interventions.
PICOT and its partners recognizes that sustainable improvements in education depends on the involvement of civil society to mainstream gender in schools and classrooms to ensure that boys and girls have equal access to and participation in education.
Education-centric CSOs have an important and unique role to play in improving the status of education, specifically in reducing barriers to girls’ education. Institutions such as CSOs, School Management Committees (SMCs), and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) can mobilize communities, school authorities, government and other stakeholders to address the gender norms that impact girls’ education. Hence, SESEA relies on strong partnerships with these stakeholders to ensure impactful, sustainable outcomes, particularly through the selection of Lead Civil Society Organizations (LCSOs) to provide leadership in this area.