Under the School Outreach Programme, we seek to establish school clubs and libraries in schools. We have already established a number of school clubs in Lilongwe and we are currently in the process of rolling out the programme in remote/rural areas of the country, particularly in the eight impact districts in which CRIDOC implements its projects and activities.
For example, besides establishing a school club at Chimvite Primary School at Mpingu Zone, T/A Malili, Lilongwe Rural South West, we have also constructed a school library there, with teachers’ offices, with funding from USAID under its Ambassador’s Self-Help Project.
We have managed to establish 23 school clubs across the country (13 In Lilongwe alone where the organisation is based).
Under this School Outreach Programme, we also seek to provide information through the same clubs and libraries on integrated health information, education and counseling on Sexual Reproductive Health as well as HIV and AIDS. Through these school clubs, we also distribute contraceptives, lubricants, condoms, and IEC materials such as posters, leaflets and other reading materials.
We use these structures to mobilize not only club members but even out-of-school youths in surrounding schools to participate in some of the activities (e.g. dialogues) with a view of increasing demand for HIV and SRH services within and outside the school settings.
Through our programme, we also seek to positively influence change of harmful social, cultural and gender norms, which are a barrier to SRH and the HIV response, family planning, STI, Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services.
Despite doing quite a substantial amount of work in the communities, but as an organisation we want to do more advocacy at policy level, where we can influence relevant laws, policies and health spending (national budgeting) that promote access to integrated SRH services, and that uphold the sexual and reproductive rights of all including young people in and out of school.
CRIDOC, which is a member of the UK-based Child-to-Child International, has adopted the Child-to-Child approach in implementing various activities within our school clubs. We promote child-centred, active learning approaches that engage children on health, education and development issues.
The C-to-C approaches have also enabled us to explore better and improved ways of implementing the Primary Curriculum Assessment and Review (PCAR) in collaboration with the teachers and other key school community stakeholders. PCAR is an innovative method for school monitoring and support and provides schools with accurate feedback about their strengths and weaknesses, builds community involvement and facilitates tailored support to be delivered to schools. School Performance Review is more than inspection as it involves all the stakeholders in a school and reveals all the pertinent issues which make it very easy for the Primary Education Advisors to support the schools.
Using the C-to-C approaches, teachers in the target schools have been trained by CRIDOC on how to strategically and effectively conduct performance review during scheduled interactions with learners, and how they should administer performance-based evaluation derived from the PCAR strategies.