dinsdag 22 september 2015

ICT4D: 4 years Connect4Change in Ghana

This blog will share the results of 4 years Connect4Change in Ghana.

In 2011 the Connect4Change (C4C) consortium was formed. The Connect4Change consortium is built by Dutch development and ICT specialised organisations including IICD, Akvo, Cordaid, Edukans and ICCO. Connect4Change seeks innovative solutions based on internet and mobile phones to accelerate the achievement of development goals and bring poverty and exclusion to an end. One of the sectors under Connect4Change is ICT in Education. 

IICD facilitates the design process in the preparation phase and build the technical and training capacity of local partners in ICT in Education. Edukans provides strategic advice on Educational approaches. Strategic objective of the ICT for Education programme is improve the quality and equity of the education system through the integration of ICT in primary, secondary education, teacher and vocational training with a special focus on girls. The ICT for Education Programme is implemented by IICD together with Edukans, Akvo and Text to Change in 8 countries including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Bolivia and Peru. 

We do this in collaboration with local implementing partners and local technical support partners. Through these partnerships we are able to reach out to more schools. 

The programme will be implemented by civil society- and grassroots organisations that are specialized in education and are directly working with the target groups: 

Implementing partners
Our local implementation partners: Savana Signatures, Presbyterian Church of Ghana, PEPS-C, Wadep and Ibis in Ghana

  • Building capacity teachers and school administration to improve teaching and learning 
  • Integrate Pedagogical capacity building of schools to integrate ICT in the classroom 
  • Improve teaching & learning materials (modify existing or develop new educational content) 
  • Use of mobile technology to inform large groups on education related topics in an efficient and effective manner using an interactive voice response (IVR) system for school management committees and head masters to inform illiterate parents about educational issues relating to their children. 
Technical support partners 

The program will be supported by Edukans and IICD and by a group of local technical support partners who will assist in technical advice, training, knowledge sharing and lobbying activities: 

  • BoldTech Solutions (assist the programme with technical (ICT) training and advice; research and lobby) 
  • GINKS (assist the programme with organizing relevant knowledge sharing events and lobby) 
  • IBIS (assist the programme with pedagogical training and advice) 
  • TechSupport (developed the school management information system) 
What did we want to achieve? 
The Connect4Change consortium promotes sustainable development in education by using ICT. It aims at “Improved quality and equality of the education system through the integration of ICT in primary, secondary and teacher education and vocational training with a special focus on empowerment of women and girls”. The programme will contribute to MFSII in strengthening the civil society in their competencies to integrate ICT in teaching, learning and management processes and to improve the learning performance and employment opportunities of young people, improving their conditions to reduce poverty. 


  • More teachers and schools integrate ICT in the teaching and learning process to improve the quality of education 
  • More schools and support offices are using ICT applications to improve administration and management 
  • More young people experiencing better business skills and employment opportunities through the use of ICT 
  • Successful ICT applications and methods for education are being used for lobby and advocacy to influence integration of ICT in the Education policy 
For each C4C intervention strategy the following themes will be addressed: 

1. Improved quality of education Integration of ICT in primary and secondary education: There is much scope for the civil society partners to assist teachers of primary and secondary schools in integrating ICT in the teaching and learning processes in order to promote active learning. The integration of ICT in education offers the opportunity to use and develop interactive multimedia materials that are relevant for the pupils (local content). This process will be supported by intensive capacity development in terms of pedagogic approaches and technical capacities of teachers and students, combined with the set-up of computer labs and facilities to use ICT directly in the class room. In principle, Internet facilities will be only used where easily available and accessible in terms of costs. As a result, teachers are motivated and trained to implement qualitative and sustainable education. 

2. Improved relevance – better link to job market ICT to support business skills and literacy of youths and adults: there is a need to integrate ICT applications to enhance business skills and literacy training of youths in vocational training. In this area, key activities include the integration and development of enhanced training methodologies combined with computer-based training in applications relevant for the development of business skills at vocational schools. Given the low levels of education, most applications will be developed with multi-media solutions. 

3. Using ICT to strengthen education management: Introduction of basic ICT applications supporting education management. In this area, the social innovation process focuses on improvement of effectiveness and efficiency of the education process. At the level of schools, ICT supports planning, monitoring and administration of physical and human resources, contributing to more efficient use of scarce resources by school principals and teachers. It also allows better reporting and communication with local and district education authorities, contributing to better planning and lobbying for government resources. Areas where ICT can support include reporting systems, planning and monitoring, timetabling, administration and communication. Technologies applied will primarily focus on networked computers and where possible basic e-mail communication solutions. 

 4. Policy Influencing C4C uses this intervention strategy for all activities supporting knowledge sharing, relevant data collection and lobby by multi-stakeholder networks on ICT for education issues such as knowledge sharing and learning. Herewith C4C supports a multi-stakeholder network GINKS. The partner network will share challenges and achievements and jointly learn to gain experience in integration of ICT in education programmes. C4C supported network jointly advocate for effective education policy development, planning and effective financial and human resource allocation for the education sector by integrating a range of ICT applications in compatible manners. This strategy serves to seek collaboration with the government to integrate ICT in the education sector at large. 

How did we achieve this? 
During Connect4Change we introduced ICT through a step-by-step approach. Building first capacity of local partners who would later implement the program at school level. Interventions at C4C level for local partners in Ghana 

Preparation phase
In Ghana the C4C program for ICT in Education started in 2011 with the preparation phase of the program were IICD and Edukans started with the partner selection for the program and invited them together with additional stakeholders of the Education sector for a stakeholder meeting. Preparation phase Problem analysis and target group consultation at the partner level IICD and Edukans base their in-country activities on a sound analysis of needs and problems in the country and sector involved. In 2011 the local Ghana Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS) conducted a research on the current situation on ICT in Education in Ghana. This is an important first step to identify the target group’s information and communication needs and gaps and a clear definition of the local context. 

Round table 
In June 2011 IICD prepared and facilitated a roundtable workshop in collaboration GINKS and BoldTech Solutions (a local ICT company). At this workshop, 33 key stakeholders from the education sector in Ghana came together and reviewed the problem analyses that was done by GINKS, subsequently identifying long-term challenges and opportunities. A shared vision on ICT in Education in Ghana was developed. During a three to four day period of reflection, analysis and priority setting, different scenarios and ICT4D project ideas were generated and discussed. After the roundtable workshop, the stakeholders bring the project ideas back to their various organisations and re-examine them in light of their individual mission and activities. 

Solution Design 
Workshop A solution design workshop is a four to five day event in which the project ideas that emerged during the Roundtable workshop are brought to a higher level of development. The workshops are executed by IICD’s Technical Advisor, in cooperation with local technical consultants. Partners learn techniques for seeking further information and tools, ways to sustain their operations and how they might better serve their beneficiaries in the long term with the use of ICTs. IICD stimulates demand-driven and locally tailored processes of technological solution design. 

Technical Advice 
Throughout the entire process, IICD the country manager, the Edukans country coordinator and the IICD technical advisor are available to provide strategic and practical advice. Support at this stage tends to be very specific, such as assisting a partner in finding an appropriate technical solution for an issue identified in phase. Also during this phase, technical advisors have one-on-one sessions with partner organisations, for example, to refine and validate a technology solution that has been proposed; to discuss how partners will train teachers or school administrators in the use of the technology; or to finalise the activity plan and budget. IICD moved in 2013 from a technical advisor in the office in The Hague to a local technical advisor who could conduct more on site support and training on the job. This advice will become more advanced during the different phases of the project. Technical advice is given during the preparation phase, the foundation phase, the integration phase and the institutional embedding phase. 

Foundation phase 

Trainer-of-trainer workshop 
In each country, IICD develops and trains a national pool of technical resource persons who provide on-the-ground support to project partners and end-users. IICD conducts ‘Train the trainer’ workshops for two types of main resource persons: local training support partners and technical officers in our partner-organisations. For the first group, The train the trainer workshops focus on strengthening the facilitation and training skills of the local support partners, which they need to be able to adequately address capacity gaps in ICT4D partner organisations. In the workshop participants get to know different training methodologies, learn how to conduct an assessment to identify training needs, and how to develop appropriate training plans and performance indicators for different target groups. For the second group, the technical officers in our partner organisations, IICD provides a workshop in which the officers learn how to train non-technical people, such as teachers and school administrators in the use of the ICT solution. Practical learning-by-doing sessions show the technical officers how to transfer their knowledge and how they can enhance their facilitation skills. 

Technical update seminars 
Software tools evolve rapidly, as do hardware and systems, procurement methods, licensing practices and so forth. Our partners must keep abreast of these developments if they are to make informed decisions about critical technology related issues. IICD supports national partners in this by organising regular technical update seminars. The aim of these seminars is to raise awareness and increase knowledge about trends and programme-appropriate developments in ICT. 

ICT4D learning workshop 
The ICT4D Learning workshop is an annual knowledge sharing network workshop that bring together project partners working in ICT in Education under the Connect4Change programme in Ghana. 2 participants from each implementing partner + 2 representatives from the schools they work with (headmaster and teacher). This workshop will support reflection and experience sharing between project partners. 

Coaching and advice 
IICD Country manager and Edukans country representative advice and coaching during the implementation phase gives partners the confidence, knowledge and skills to put their formulated plans into action. IICD is available to provide specific advice, for example, on ICT policies, IT resources, or on the hands-on use of applications. Next to the technical and operational support, IICD country managers play an active role in strengthening the overall organisational capacity of project partners and linking project partners to potential new opportunities. This advice will become more advanced during the different phases of the project. Coaching and advice is given during the preparation phase, the foundation phase, the integration phase and the institutional embedding phase. 

Monitoring and Evaluation 
All projects are described on the C4C/AKVO platform. Two-monthly updates will be placed on the platform by the project partner. Edukans will provide a 6-monthly narrative report on progress in activities and outputs per country. IICD will provide a 6 monthly report on C4C activities (knowledge sharing, capacity development and advice), TTC will provide a 6 monthly report on C4C activities (mobile) Cross-Country Learning event C4C facilitates international exchanges of experiences. A cross-country events afor each sector is organized where partners learn from experiences in other countries and give one another advice. The event takes place every two years. 

Integration phase 
In the Education Program IICD and Edukans uses the TPACK model 

Active Learning 
A Trainer of trainer in interactive peer-to-peer learning methods (Prequip) is provided by Edukans to partners who will work with the schools (PK). Teachers start delivering lessons in the classroom with basic ICT enabled methods. Interactive peer-to-peer learning (Bequip) in introduced with video observation to improve classroom delivery (TPK). 

Impact study 
During the program an external impact study is conducted by Jigsaw Consult Ltd to measure in a two year research the result of the program. The first field research was conducted in 2013 and 2015. The results will be published in October 2015.

Coaching and Change Management activities 
IICD will provide active and continuous advice, coaching and capacity development on ICT-related activities of partner organisations. Edukans will provide advice to partners on the aspects of pedagogical aspects in education. 

Edukans will assist in the marketing aspects of the Ghanaian education program in The Netherlands. IICD will advice partners on possible up-scaling of the education program in collaboration with other donor agencies and governmental agencies in Ghana. 

Capacity Building Workshops 
Capacity building workshops and on-the-job training and support will be conducted based on demand driven needs of the project implementation partners. In this phase the efforts will move from basic ICT to content development, integrating pedagogical aspects in ICT in de classroom and implementation of a school management information system. 

Institutional Embedding phase 
At this stage of the process, IICD assists partners in integrating ICT into their organisation beyond the specified pilot or project period. Oftentimes, far-reaching changes in organisational structure and culture are needed to effectively integrate ICT in such a way that it leads to substantial and lasting improvements. Change management, however, raises questions, such as how to develop a long-term vision and strategy, how to align people within an organisation, and how to manage human resources. During this phase, IICD also helps partners mobilise resources to scale up or leverage project activities. In some cases, IICD and experienced partners are requested to assist other organisations or institutions with similar processes to integrate ICTs into programmes. 

Martine Koopman
IICD's Country Manager Ghana