Education and Community Empowerment

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Helpdesk Query:

Examples of effective mobilisation of citizens/communities which have brought about improved education outcomes (quality and access) for poor men and women?   Are there any examples where broader forms of social change have also taken place as a result or strengthening community action and choice in education services?  (Do we have evidence of some of the key factors for success?)


There is a wealth of literature on community involvement in education in poor countries reporting varying degrees of success. An extensive World Bank literature review discusses many evaluations of outcomes of community involvement in schools. Successes, failures and evaluation difficulties are reported.  This report includes research from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

An examples of effective mobilisation of communities which have brought about improved education is Escuela Nueva in Colombia which serves more than half the country’s rural areas. Pupil learning outcomes are superior to those in conventional schools.  This report also includes examples of some less successful findings from projects including case studies from Nepal and El Salvador.

Comments on broader social outcomes include:

  • Evidence from Guatemala suggests that school council empowerment extends beyond its aims for education. Councils have fought for their interests, including mobilizing other citizens and even forcing the state to change its stands.
  • A paper on community-based approaches notes that the improved outcomes aimed for do not need to be fulfilled as empowerment of communities is a valuable aim in itself.


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