The SeeBeyondBorders Getting to School Program improves access to education for Cambodian children by assisting families with the issues that prevent them from sending their children to school, and by providing encouragement and motivation to families and children to actively participate in education. This program incorporates a number of sub-programs, which can be categorized as “push” or “pull” programs. Push programs are aimed at cutting the barriers to going to school such as financial hardship, poor health and nutrition, and transport issues. Pull programs encourage children to come to school, to participate and to learn.
The various Getting to School sub-programs are often offered as separate programs and interventions, depending on the needs identified in the School Development Plans. The Getting to School Program supports the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Education Youth and Sports “Child Friendly Schools” (CFS) program.
Program Focus Areas
Education Advocacy | Many Cambodian parents are illiterate and do not understand the value of education and their roles and responsibilities as parents in education. In addition to this, many villagers are busy working and are frequently away. As a result, parents tend not to participate in school activities and in some cases do not actively encourage their children to come to school. SeeBeyondBorders Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) work to improve communication between schools, parents and the general community. They also promote the value of education and encourage parents to send their children to school, as well as work to identify vulnerable families who would benefit from assistance.
Family Support | One of the main barriers to education in Cambodia is poverty. 1.7 million Cambodians do not have access to sufficient and nutritious food. Many children go to school hungry, while others have to drop out of school to help their families survive. SeeBeyondBorders approach to helping families educate their children relies on there being a community initiative and involvement in the process. SeeBeyondBorders does not target individual students and families, rather the community identifies those in its midst that are vulnerable and supports them in a variety of ways. SeeBeyondBorders uses Conditional Cash transfers to provide financial support to families identified by their communities as the most vulnerable, for the education of their children.
School-based Programs (Health and Sport) | Another barrier to education in poor areas is low attendance due to illness often caused by intestinal worms and dysentery. Limited knowledge about hygiene, as well as a lack of acceptable toilet and hand washing facilities at many of the schools, perpetuates this problem. SeeBeyondBorders has introduced a Health Program into schools it already supports with teacher education and school infrastructure work. The aim of the Health program is to improve the basic hygiene knowledge and practices of the children and the school community and through this reduce the incidence of preventable diseases and subsequent school absences. The program also identifies malnourished children or other children at risk who are then referred for additional support. The purpose of the Sports Program is to provide a fun learning environment and activities that encourage children to come to school and hence to participate. Other benefits of the program include improved health and fitness, improved gross and fine motor skills and hand eye coordination, understanding of fair play, teamwork and sportsmanship as well as a sense of fun and participation.
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CEI approaches in actionStudent supportIncreasing or sustaining enrollmentLearning materials for studentsParental/community engagement in support of studentsOut-of-School ChildrenSports
Model details2009Not-for-profitOtherEducation advocacySportsActiveLong-term projectGovernment Education Expenditure12,200
Conditional cash transfers are provided to families identified by the local community to ensure that the most vulnerable students are supported by the Getting to School Program.
This program was developed in response to additional needs identified when implementing SeeBeyondBorders' core program: Teach the Teacher. It has grown from offering CCT's and education advocacy to including a health and sports program component.
Currently, the Getting to Schools Program has primarily been offered in the pilot District of Ek Phnom. In the future, it will be extended to the new districts as the Teach the Teacher program is also rolled out.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
Each component of the SeeBeyondBorders Getting to School Program has a montioring and evaluation matrix with clearly specified program outcomes, indicators and associated critera. These are measured against the primary program goals of increasing school attendance and retention levels.User satisfactionStudent attendanceStudent retentionIncreased enrollmentNo