Improving Family and Community Engagement to Promote Reading in Senegal

R4D is leading a Rapid Feedback Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning engagement to explore and test interventions related to family and community engagement in book use in Senegal.

The Challenge

Around the world, millions of young students in low and lower-middle income countries are facing a learning crisis. Even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math. This is, unfortunately, true in Senegal. PASEC results show that most children in Senegal are not completing primary education with sufficient competency in mathematics and reading.[1] Only an estimated 32 percent of children are completing primary school having reached the minimum acceptable levels of reading and mathematics skills.

The Opportunity

Lecture Pour Tous is a 70 million-dollar program implemented by Chemonics International and supported by USAID/Senegal. The program seeks to improve early grade reading in Senegal by supporting national reforms led by the Ministry of Education to use national languages in early grades to increase literacy and facilitate learning of French. Lecture Pour Tous targets six regions in the country (Diourbel, Fatick, Kaffrine, Kaolack, Louga, and Matam) and has set the goal of having at least 70 percent of Grade 2 students reading at grade level by the end of the 2020/2021 school year. The program targets three outcomes for students in Grades 1-3:

  1. Improved early grade reading instruction in public primary schools
  2. Improved delivery systems for early grade reading instruction
  3. Improved parent and community engagement in early grade reading

Rapid Feedback Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (RF MERL) is a rigorous, yet flexible approach for generating timely and useful data for programs in the early stages of implementation. To ensure Lecture Pour Tous activities are achieving the expected outcomes, the RF MERL Consortium, led by R4D, will apply Rapid Feedback MERL to Lecture Pour Tous, especially to activities related to Outcome 1 and Outcome 3.

Our Work

R4D will explore three research questions following discussion with USAID/Senegal and Chemonics:

  1. What is the most cost-effective and scalable way to support peer-to-peer teacher coaching?
  2. What is the most cost-effective and scalable way to support school directors to ensure they can effectively coach teachers?
  3. Which community-based reading activities best promote engagement in reading and what factors affect their successful implementation?

The RF MERL Consortium will use a mixed methods approach and will collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. There will be multiple opportunities where findings will be shared to inform both “Lecture Pour Tous” programming. For example, the team will facilitate “learning checks,” where all partners come together to reflect on the findings, brainstorm ways to refine implementation, and iterate accordingly.

This study is one of several pilots R4D is carrying out in partnership with the Rapid Feedback MERL Consortium as part of the USAID Global Development Lab’s MERLIN program.


[1] PASEC is the Programme d’Analyse des Systemes Educatifs des pays members de la CONFEMEN), a regional learning assessment tool used in Francophone West Africa.

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