For the past few years we have had the opportunity to partner with students and faculty in the Master of International Affairs program at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).Â During this period we have benefited from the great work of students and faculty in the program, as they have repeatedly traveled to Machakos to conduct interviews and surveys aimed at providing impact assessments of various aspects of our programs.Â Their work has been a vital resource as we continue to grow our services and refine our approaches to educating and rehabilitating students.
This year the SIPA team performed the first ever outside evaluation of Jitegemee’s Formal Schooling Program.Â The team conducted a comprehensive impact assessment of the program, with an emphasis on health and social outcomes for participating primary school students and their families.Â The initial findings of the evaluation were very encouraging:
“We found that the Formal Schooling Program leads to both positive overall health and social outcomes. One of the major contributing factors to improving studentsâ€™ health is the feeding program, which provides free lunch on a daily basis during the week. In addition, regular check-ups from the Jitegemee doctor and access to medication have had a large impact on both students and their families. With regard to social outcomes, we concluded how Jitegemeeâ€™s financial support â€“ especially in terms of providing uniforms and shoes – has helped the students to feel like they belong among their peers, allowing them to focus more on their studies and less on social stresses. The financial support has also had a major impact on families, enabling parents to put the money they save toward other household expenses, as well as to better outfit the studentsâ€™ siblings for school.
We also found additional positive financial, educational, health and interpersonal relationship outcomes based on the four areas of impact that we identified during Phase II, and determined that Jitegemeeâ€™s impact on relationships was the area where there was the most room for improvement.”
We are sincerely grateful to the SIPA students and faculty for all of their hard work.Â Their recommendations for improvement will help guide us as we continue to build a better Jitegemee for our students.Â When you get a chance, please check out the full report.