MeREECE, which stands for Melhoria do Rendimento Escolar e Economico das Comunidades Educativas na Guiné-Bissau, translates to improvement of school and economic performance of educational communities in Guinea-Bissau.
This school feeding program, implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and partners, provides support to approximately 320 primary schools in five regions of Guinea-Bissau: Bafata, Cacheu, Gabu, Quinara and Oio. The primary objectives of the program include:
- Improve teachers and school administrators’ ability to deliver quality literacy instruction through training and recognizing teacher performance;
- Improve the Ministry of Education’s capacity to monitor and support teachers’ technical development through trainings and joint monitoring visits;
- Increase student attentiveness and attendance by reducing child hunger through nutritious school meals;
- Improve student attendance by establishing child-friendly school environments, school libraries and extracurricular learning opportunities;
- Increase parents’ and communities’ involvement in education outcomes for their children; and
- Increase knowledge and improve health, nutrition and dietary practices of teachers, students and parents.
As part of the MeREECE consortium, Plan International is improving literacy outcomes of children in grades 1-4 by:
- Promoting teacher attendance. Teachers working in Guinea-Bissau often work in challenging environments, dealing with oversized classrooms, a lack of materials and a lack of training. As a result, teacher motivation and attendance rates are low. This is especially true of teachers working in remote areas. Plan is working with district-level education officials and communities to develop community-led incentives to recognize teacher performance and encourage regular attendance. This includes awards for teacher excellence and the creation of an integrated coordination and oversight system for school administrators and district inspectors.
- Developing supplemental teaching and learning materials. Plan is supporting the Ministry of Education to develop supplementary literacy materials to complement the new national reading curriculum for grades 1-4. These materials enhance the learning experience for students, providing them with materials to better learn key literacy competencies and practice reading more frequently.
- Training teachers. Plan is delivering a comprehensive teacher training program to improve the quality of classroom teaching and introduce the supplementary teaching materials produced by the program. Through our teacher training activities, Plan is increasing the number of qualified/certified teachers in Guinea-Bissau’s remote regions through improved Portuguese language skills, and grade 1-4 teachers are improving their ability to teach reading and language skills, manage large classrooms and apply gender-responsive pedagogy for the benefit of all students, especially girls.
- Supporting school administrators. Plan is building the capacity of school administrators and representatives of parent teacher associations and school management committees, with a focus on leadership, school operations, data management (including teacher and student attendance) and risk prevention and management.
- Improving the school environment. In some communities, Plan is establishing small school libraries, providing reading materials and learning games in a weather-resistant space. We’re also producing an educational, child-friendly animated film to increase school and community awareness on child protection and inclusion in schools.