10 years of partnership – BSFA and SHUMAS
As we approached our tenth anniversary of working in partnership with SHUMAS, the trustees thought it would be appropriate to undertake a large scale impact assessment, looking at all the projects we have funded since 2007. We wanted to try to gauge what was the impact of the new school buildings, latrines, drinking water supplies, health centres etc on the benefitting communities and what changes these communities have experienced as a direct result of the projects. We spent most of 2016 working closely with SHUMAS staff as they collected data from as many of the projects as possible that had been completed by the end of 2015. This included 61 out of 75 schools completed, 6 health centres and 3 community water projects, spread throughout all ten regions of Cameroon. The impact data regarding the water supplies provided at schools was incorporated into the general school data. As the school building programme is this charity’s main focus, we also wanted to assess whether this had been recognised at Regional and National Government level.
The full Impact Report can be downloaded by clicking here , and below are listed the main findings from our Executive Summary.
Benefits within the schools
The majority of schools where we have built new classrooms have experienced a significant increase in the number of children attending – and more teachers have been employed as a result.
More girls are now being sent to school as parents recognise that this is so beneficial to the family and the community. Girls were also reported as being safer in school, with fewer incidents of sexual harassment on their way to and from school.
Children were found to be healthier and better motivated in school, with less absenteeism and better punctuality.
Teachers reported better working conditions, especially with the provision of blackboards and furniture in the classrooms. They also mentioned that less teaching time was lost during the rainy season and that the improved health of the children, with fewer incidences of jigger flea infestation, resulted in better behaviour
The majority of schools reported improved academic results since the construction of the well constructed classrooms and the inclusion of extra benches for the pupils.
Parents in remote villages are now making greater effort to register their children’s birth, which means that they will be able to register to take school exams and, eventually, register to vote.
A few of our schools do not seem to be thriving quite so well, for a variety of reasons. The schools are still operating and achieving good results, but with a reduced numbers of students – even though on completion of the new classrooms, every school experienced an increase in roll. The main reasons given for the reduction is school numbers are the provision of a new (free) government school nearby and the significant reduction in the financial support given by government to church/muslim schools.
Click on the pictures in the gallery for enlarged image.
Benefits in the village communities since the construction of the new school buildings
Community members mentioned an improved spirit of dynamism and co-operation in the community and that they felt empowered by these projects to be able to initiate change and development.
Very rarely were there reports of jealousy or conflict as a result of these projects.
Particular emphasis was placed on the microcredit support given to the women’s groups which has resulted in many improvements both at school and at home.
The provision of clean drinking water has had a huge impact on the quality of life both at school and in the wider community. Some schools reported being able to increase teaching/learning time by up to 4 hours per day because children no longer had to trek great distances to get a drink or to get water to lay the dust on the classroom floors before class could commence. Better health and hygiene were reported as being a direct impact of the water provision, as well as improved community development and cohesion.
The provision or upgrading of health centres was repeatedly reported as having had a positive impact on the community. Additional nursing staff have been enrolled, leading to improved vaccination rates for children and improved perinatal outcomes because of new outreach programmes that health centres have been able to offer. Another important impact is the saving on journey times to urban hospitals which resulted in improved outcomes for serious disease or illness, and cost savings for patients and their families which results in a general improvement in their standard of living.
The building of a bridge as part of one project had a huge impact on many aspects of the life of the local community, particularly safe access to school for children during the rainy season and improved access to market which resulted in an increase in family income.
The reputation of SHUMAS, has grown enormously due to its partnership with Building Schools for Africa. It is now highly respected and very influential both at regional and national government level. Responses from community leaders, religious leaders, regional governors and high government officials were all very positive. SHUMAS is also now making an impact within international development programmes.
The impact of our projects on our donors, both individuals and corporate, has been significant.