The 1989–2003 civil war disrupted all aspects of Liberian society, government services, and daily life, and the country’s education system was no exception. The Liberian government has made considerable progress since the war ended in 2003, but the education sector continues to suffer from insufficient funding, a limited pool of qualified teachers, and fragmented systems and oversight.
GOAL and GOAL Plus
The aim of the GOAL and GOAL Plus projects was to improve girls’ enrollment, attendance, and retention in 60 primary schools in two districts each in Lofa, Bong, and Grand Bassa counties that have the lowest girls’ completion rates. The initial program’s interventions were implemented between 2010 and 2013, with the follow-on GOAL Plus project from 2013 to 2015.
GOAL Plus Project Details
Funded by USAID, the GOAL Plus project was implemented by AIR from 2013 to early 2016 in partnership with the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Liberia. GOAL Plus built upon the success of the GOAL project by offering
- a scholarship program;
- Parent Teacher Association (PTA) capacity building and community grants to improve the learning environments of schools;
- an outreach awareness campaign to create support among parents and communities for girls’ education and appropriate age enrollment;
- whole-school health interventions;
- support to the Ministry of Education on topics related to girls’ education; and
- capacity building support to our local partner to strengthen their finance, administration, logistics, and monitoring and evaluation activities.
Research and evaluation activities were carried out to provide evidence concerning the performance key interventions and issues than impact girls’ success in education to inform the policy dialogue and programming related to girls’ education.
By the end of the project, 7,752 girls were enrolled at schools benefitting from GOAL Plus interventions, up from 6,097 girls enrolled in 2014. Girls’ attendance in GOAL Plus-supported schools rose from 66% in 2014 to 72% in 2015. Three hundred fifty six girls went on from GOAL Plus schools to enroll in 7th grade. Over the life of the project, GOAL Plus distributed 20,427 scholarship packages, 1,815 textbooks, and 27,777 reading books.
GOAL Plus conducted research to examine the effects of the project’s interventions on girls’ education, as well as communities’ ability to recover from the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). A quantitative analysis of enrollment, attendance, completion, and promotion data found that schools that received additional services under GOAL Plus improved these outcomes for girls at those schools. Schools that had not received supports under the previous GOAL program showed the greatest gains in outcomes—as they saw the greatest change in the supports they were receiving—whereas schools that had received scholarship support under GOAL and received grant support under GOAL Plus showed smallest gains. An important finding of our research was that the gains in student outcomes that were realized before the outbreak of EVD were sustained once schools reopened and were not lost as a result of the outbreak.