A series of pilot impact assessments have been conducted for the first time at our learning centers in Tonloab, Takeo, and Ang Tasom (Cambodia). The centers have been offering English and computer courses to students and children in the communities of rural Cambodia for more than one year – time to evaluate their impact.
The goal of the pilot impact assessments was to assess the impact that the centers have created on students and teachers in particular and on parents and the community in general. The assessments were conducted by the centers’ staff, students, teachers and parents were invited to attend them. The outcomes will serve as key insights for the further development and improvement of the learning centers and of BOOKBRIDGE as organization.
Each learning center is supposed to conduct the impact assessment on a bi-yearly basis to better monitor their impacts. This will help us to see what has been done well and what could be improved with participation of all concerned stakeholders, more particularly students and the community. The results will also be part of the biannual staff training workshops where all Heads of Learning Centers discuss their impact on their communities and students, identify best practices and lessons learnt, and further improve and advance their centers.
The pilot impact assessment was divided into three interrelated sessions. It started with an opening by the respective Head of Learning Center. She then introduced the objectives of the assessment to the participants so that they knew why the assessment is important for them as individuals and for the learning center.
During session 1, participants were divided into three groups, parent group, teacher group and student group. Each group discussed and drew a detailed picture of their community including all places. Then each group presented their picture with the Head of Learning Center writing down the landmark places in the community shown in the pictures.
During session 2, each participant had to answer three key questions: (1) What has changed in your life due to the learning center’s activities? (2) Give an example of a positive impact of the learning center in our community, and (3) Give an example of a negative impact of the learning center in our community. Each group then combined their answers and presented them to the audience. The Head of Learning Center clustered the five most important impact types on a flip chart.
During the last session, all participants had the chance to discuss how they can strengthen the positive impact on the community and what they can learn from the negative impact on the community.
These first impact assessments will help us to perfection the next assessments and to connect our learning centers with their key stakeholders and communities. We see them as meaningful and critical to the development and improvement of our educational offerings.