Ensuring education aid effectiveness

A lot of financial education aid flows to Malawi year in year out. Some of this aid is provided to change or introduce policies aimed to change education indicators within the primary education sector. My work sets out to develop outputs that suggest an ideal way (a framework) through which education aid should influence policy. At the heart of this framework lie the effectiveness and efficiency of the financial resources at play.

Coming from a youth and community development background, I now see myself pursuing education policy as an area of my personal and to some extent professional interest. Under the Sustainable Futures in Writing venture, my writing is targeting policymakers and practitioners in the field of education management. These are the powerful and most influential figures who determine, shape and craft the course of primary education provisioning in Malawi’s education system.

But what voice do I have? What influence do I have? Being a fresh master’s graduate, I do not consider myself as someone who has much rigour, influence and voice in this field. Thus, what I can and will do is turn to the sources from where my target readers draw references, inferences and a source of direction from; published work. Specifically, policy briefs are a powerful entity that significantly shapes debates and consequent direction in the field of education management. By attempting to publish such documents, not only do I attempt to put a mark in the history of the trade, but I am also set to place my views, opinions and voice into a large and already existing body of knowledge, which keeps evolving and changing with time, more research, training and practice.

The work I intend to do tries to introduce a well-developed and crafted framework for education policymaking as influenced by foreign education aid to Malawi’s primary education sector. This work is drawn on findings from my postgraduate research on the “implications of foreign aid on education policy and practice in Malawi”. What my work tries to do is place me within the dialogue, and more specifically at the forefront of the dialogue on the most effective and efficient way in which education aid can influence education outcomes through the policy development/creation process. In this regard, I draw on three important theories: political ecology, which understands how policies are enacted in various contexts; decoloniality, which focuses on empowering local indigenous people in the decision making processes; and situated learning, which appreciates and considers locally-based options that are in line with place-specific traditional and cultural values.

I would lie to myself if I think this will be easy: there are complicated complexities between my intended overall objective and the described way in which I hope to achieve it. Firstly, reaching a point where my final output is ready and is accessible to the targeted audience would not be easy. There are a couple of bottlenecks that stand in my way. Having the output ready will require hard work and diligence, which I am committed to providing. However, having the audience get to read through my outputs is a whole different story. Also, having the outputs in a form that is easily accessible to the audience is something that I will need to deeply consider as I go through this process. Regardless, I remain optimistic that in the end, I shall succeed. I believe hope is one of the most powerful forces in the universe and it so happens that I do have it in abundance!

Stewart Paul

My name is Stewart Paul and I am a project development and implementation professional, currently working in the youth development as well as environmental sustainability spaces in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as Malawi’s developmental blueprints. I have extensive experience in end-to-end project management, with a demonstrated history in proposal writing and planning, service delivery and administration, documentation, and financial management. I am currently working as a Research and Projects Manager for Abundance – a non-profit organization working towards creating better lives for people and caring for the environment. Further to this, I am closely working with the Malawi Hub of the Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) Network in a Research Associate capacity. I hold an MSc in Educational Studies (Adult education, Youth studies and Community development) from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom. I am furthering my skills, capacity and overall professional development in the fields of community development, environmental sustainability and youth development in Malawi.