Project: Strengthening Social Accountability in the Education Sector in Malawi 
Country: Malawi
Sector: Education
Executing Agency: CARE International Malawi
Grant Amount: $950,000
Closing Date: January, 2019


Despite significant investments in education, Malawi suffers from poor human and social development outcomes. The education sector is characterized by low levels of student achievement and high dropout rates in primary school. There are large disparities in education outcomes as well as shortages and uneven supply of trained teachers, disproportionately affecting rural and poor regions.

Weak institutional capacity and inefficiencies in the education procurement systems result in mismanagement of public resources, a lack of adequate school infrastructure, and significant delays in the provision of teaching and learning materials (TLMs). A large proportion of teachers in Malawi experience low motivation and high absenteeism rates due to challenging working conditions, irregular and low pay, overcrowded classrooms, budget shortages, and little institutional support.  Students graduating from public schools are not adequately prepared and equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively participate in the labor force, imposing a constraint in the growth of the economy.  


Care International Malawi, an organization with extensive experience in the education sector in Malawi, received a grant from GPSA to ensure that children have access to high quality, accountable and transparent education services. The project seeks to address inefficiencies in the education procurement system and teacher absenteeism by: 1) monitoring procurement processes in the education sector to identify weaknesses; and 2) training School Management Committees (SMCs), students, and parents on social accountability tools, such as community score cards, and mobile technologies to monitor teacher absenteeism; and 3) collecting and curating knowledge to improve project design. Information generated through the project will be feed into national and district monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems to strengthen transparency and ensure the efficient use of public resources.

Expected Results

The GPSA grant will help CARE International Malawi to attain the following results:

  1. A significant improvement the quality of education in primary schools in 6 districts that will benefit 45,000 students.

  2. The establishment of adequate procurement processes to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in the use of education resources in targeted districts

  3. 150 schools will benefit from timely delivery of TMLs and construction of quality school infrastructure

  4. A 50% decrease in reported cases of unjustified  teacher absenteeism in targeted districts by 2016

  5. CSOs and citizens will be trained to effectively participate in procurement processes and policy-making at the national level

  6. Strengthened capacity of students, CSOs, and citizens to use mobile technologies to monitor teacher absenteeism  in 120 schools and to take community action to address this problem

  7. A series of educational campaigns will be launched to raise awareness of social accountability and education rights and responsibilities.

Lessons Learned

The grant is at its early stages and lessons will be added as they become available. However, the design of this grant benefits from the lessons learned by CARE International Malawi in leveraging students and parents participation in social accountability initiatives to assess the impact of government budget systems.