|Action Research Report on «Reflect» - Education Research Paper No.17 (DFID, 1996, 96 p.)|
|4. The evaluation of the projects|
|4.8 Cost effectiveness|
The following costs were involved in the literacy programme in COMUS:
£640 Printing visual cards
£300 Preparing and printing manual
£330 manila paper/ card (1, 700 sheets)
£200 thick pens
£2, 060 training of facilitators
£200 exercise books
£150 facilitators notebooks
£800 other equipment: furniture/ lamps
£2, 450 Education coordinator (50%)
£2, 366 Education Promoter
£3, 816 = direct costs
£5, 813 = overheads
If we look at this per centre (there were 14 centres) then we see that the costs were:
£272.57 direct costs per centre
£415.21 indirect costs per centre
£687.78 total costs per centre
If this is then looked at per learner (an average of 20 learners enrolled in each centre) then we see:
£13.60 direct costs per learner
£20.76 indirect costs per learner
£34.36 total costs per learner
Finally we can look at the cost per successful learner (a 65% success rate in circles where the method was applied)
£20.92 direct costs per successful learner
£31.93 indirect costs per successful learner
£52.85 total costs per successful learner
This is a relatively high cost compared to the other two pilot programmes and reflects the small scale of the programme in a country where the costs of living are high. Whilst Bangladesh was also a small scale programme the salary and printing costs were low. It is rather ironic that the one country where volunteer facilitators were used turns out to be the most expensive of the three pilot programmes. There would be a massive reduction in costs if the programme was to function on a larger scale.
CASE STUDY: LAS CONCHAS - EL SALVADOR
Las Conchas is high up in the hills in an area which, up until the late 1970s was a huge coffee plantation. During the civil war it was abandoned owing to conflict. The coffee became overgrown as did the buildings of the old hacienda. In 1991 a group of landless families from elsewhere in Usulutan came to the area in a desperate search for land. In the past some of them has worked on harvests for the past landowner in the area, receiving a pittance. They cut down some of the coffee and started planting maize and beans for subsistence.
In 1992 these families formalised themselves into a cooperative and started to clear the brambles which had over-run the hacienda. With the peace accords and agrarian reform, by 1993 they were able to gain legal recognition and titles to 200 manzanas of the land. Part of this has been divided up between the 35 families in the cooperative, giving each 2 manzanas, with the rest being left as coffee to be worked collectively. Much of the coffee is still overgrown and un-productive.
There are many serious problems still faced by the community, perhaps most notably, soil erosion (on the slopes) and the shortage of water. They have to walk long distances (up to an hour) to collect water.
The literacy circle opened in early 1994 and rapidly became a focus for many discussions of local issues. Through construction of a natural resource map they were able to have an active and focussed discussion of the water problem. They organised to seek and obtain funds from Asay, a national NGO. The literacy circle then acted as a focus for planning daily work groups of 4 people for 3 months to build four large water tanks. They are now awaiting the rains to fill the tanks. They are also planning to rehabilitate an abandoned well, concreting the walls and cleaning it out.
The household map produced a focused discussion on access to the community which led to mobilisation to repair the main access road. The agricultural map produced discussions around the theme of soil erosion. The circle recognised the problems associated with cutting down coffee on slopes to plant maize and beans - gulleys have started to appear and the soil is being lost. As a result coffee is no longer being cut down in the hilly areas and strategies to save the soil through bands and the planting of strips of pineapple across the slopes have begun. Organic fertiliser and the planting of tomatoes are other actions that have emerged from the circle.
As a product of the literacy circle, many of the learners are now more active in community organisations, even taking up formal positions of responsibility. One learner is now treasurer for the cooperative, one is president of the credit committee, one is coordinator of the women's group, one is active in the education committee and one is active in a new committee on soil conservation. These are all new positions taken up in the past year, since the start of the literacy programme, and represents a dramatic democratisation of the community.
Many problems still remain. There is no school in the area for the 20 children of school age and there is little prospect of the Ministry of Education providing one in the near future for so few people. The nearest school is over an hour's walk away. In this context, teaching the adults to read and write is vital to enable them to pass on skills to their children.
Land tenancy Map produced in Las Conchas showing individual landholdings, plantations, cooperatives and land in dispute. The analysis of land ownership turned out to be of practical value.