We have received approval from ethical review boards in both the U.S. and Uganda to conduct an impact study on both the effectiveness of the curriculum as well as the following outcomes:
- increase health services for adolescents
- improve self-esteem
- improve self-efficacy
- improve responsible decision-making skills
- improve social support systems
- improve well-being and mental health
- decrease sexual risk behaviors
- decrease teenage pregnancy rates
We collaborated with Dr. Milton Wainberg and Dr. Cady Carlson from the New York State Psychiatry Institute in order to develop systems to:
a) incorporate feedback from the teachers and students that have participated in the program so far to ensure acceptability, feasibility, buy-in, and relevance to local context and culture;
b) identify potential areas that require further modification or introduction of evidence-based materials;
c) ascertain best ways to ensure quality-control in the facilitation of the intervention; and
d) develop a scientifically sound questionnaire adapted to the local context from validated measures used to demonstrate the impact of SEL programs in the United States.
We hope to prove that our adapted SEL curriculum is effective and can be replicated in low-resource environments throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional monitoring and evaluation:
Eminyeeto has received support from the local Ruhiira government offices, school head teachers (both male and female) and other primary school teachers, and community leaders. We are continuously receiving informal feedback from the girls and teachers involved in the pilot program who have reviewed and critiqued the curriculum. Following the successful introduction of the curriculum to the remaining schools in the cluster in 2014, we plan to hold periodic refresher trainings on the curriculum for the teachers, where they will be able to share their impressions of the curriculum and any changes they propose. We also plan to incorporate additional SEL evidence-based activities with appropriate cultural adaptations in order to continually improve the curriculum.
We have developed a stringent research monitoring and evaluation strategy to be implemented for the income-generating and peer support component of Eminyeeto’s program as well. We are identifying economic indicators following the start of the income-generating activities as well as indicators related to the positive impact we expect it will bring in our participant’s lives and livelihoods. Since promoting positive mental health in our participants is critical, the monitoring and evaluation strategy is looking at how the economic activities are able to contribute to our participants being happy and healthy members of society.
The combination of social and emotional learning, mental health promotion and economic empowerment is a relatively new approach in sub-Saharan Africa and we believe girl empowerment programs throughout Africa can highly benefit from incorporating Eminyeeto’s approach.