CLA 2.0: Evolving CLA to Promote Partnership and Reading in Uganda
For the USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program (SHRP) – implemented by RTI, adapting to improve results was at the heart of early grade reading efforts since the program started in 2012. Today, together with the USAID/Uganda Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity (LARA) and the Ministry of Education and Sports implemented Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP), the reading model first developed under SHRP now covers 80% of government primary schools. But the reading model for what are now national reading reform efforts is substantially different from the original -- teams worked shoulder to shoulder trying out new ideas learning from successes and failures with an eye towards doing things better to get more Ugandan children reading.
What started as really good M and E with right fit, efficient data collection systems and staff as animators who helped technical teams keep a strategic yet adaptive focus, transitioned to more deliberate and intentional CLA thinking with the support of USAID/Uganda -- a pioneer and early adopter. CLA became the center of it all with more focused program reviews and reflections, after action debriefs, “stocktaking” in crucial programmatic areas and a robust research and learning agenda all of which have contributed to dozens of program modifications and guided the development of national reading reform. CLA has subsequently moved beyond M and E, SHRP and USAID as Ministry and partners have incorporated more learning and adaptive thinking. Through CLA, the reading programs have worked together to streamline teacher training content to focus on teacher practice, developed better materials and found more creative ways to support teachers in the classroom to ensure children are actually reading (rather than simply repeating and chanting) and increase reading achievement. CLA has indeed grown up in Uganda.