Projects aimed at improving basic service delivery are more likely to be scaled up if they are low-cost and low-tech

Summary

  • The Sub-National Governance programme is working to improve the quality of governance at the provincial and district levels in Pakistan. As part of the programme, the District Delivery Challenge Fund finances pilots that seek to reform the way public services in education and healthcare are delivered to communities.
  • The pilots that have been identified for scale up have two things in common: they require minimal technology and are low cost.
  • These two factors make pilots easier to scale up and replicate as compared to pilots that depend on more complex IT support, equipment and software or pilots that require larger amounts of funding.

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Background: Implementing a challenge fund to improve governance

The Sub-National Governance Programme (SNG) in Pakistan supports the provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Punjab to improve basic service delivery, to better meet the needs of citizens, especially the poor, women and girls. The District Delivery Challenge Fund (DDCF), a sub-component of the programme, supports this change through a combination of public sector support and the funding of innovative education and healthcare pilots. Successful pilots are to be scaled up within and across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces.

This process aims to develop a practical framework and tools that will enable all districts throughout Pakistan to identify, pilot and evolve bespoke public service solutions after the programme has finished.

The Sub-National Governance programme is funded by the UK government. The District Delivery Challenge Fund component is managed by Coffey.

Scalable, successful pilots are low-cost and low-tech

Considering that all education pilots have achieved their intended objective, they have all been successful. However, the two models that have been approved for scale up share one common thread - they are low tech and low cost interventions. These two factors make pilots easier to scale up and replicate than pilots that depend on more complex IT support, equipment and software and those that require larger amounts of funding. Two pilots exemplify the success of simple and effective interventions: Broad Class – Listen to Learn and Science Camps.

The first pilot that was selected for scale up is called Broad Class – Listen to Learn. This pilot project focused on improving enrolment and education amongst school children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project combined radio broadcasts with interactive classroom activities that covered numeracy, writing and speaking skills.

The Broad Class model used radio to encourage children to become excited about learning and to improve their social skills. It required a simple radio, which costs about £35, and a short teachers’ training to enable the teachers to facilitate interaction between the radio and children. While simple, in 2016, the project received the Global Development Network’s award for Most Innovative Development Project.

The second pilot selected for scale up is called Science Camps. It provided children with access to interesting activities aimed at improving scientific literacy. The activities were ‘brought’ to children through an innovative mobile van travelling from school to school. In a typical Science Camp, children had the opportunity to play science games on tablets, participate in learning new concepts related to scientific topics and take part in live physical and life science experiments.

The Science Camps model used low cost indigenous or waste material for science education. The cost of organising a Science Camp is estimated at £30, which makes the model economically viable to be implemented across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Implementation of the model will generate significant externalities as teachers will learn to apply interactive activity-based teaching pedagogy that can enliven otherwise boring classrooms.

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