Data validation report for the USAID ASSIST Project orphans and vulnerable children improvement work in Malawi
This report summarizes findings of a validation exercise for data collected and reported under the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project in Malawi by University Research Co., LLC (URC) as part of technical assistance to improve orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) service delivery in Balaka and Mangochi districts through support for community quality improvement teams. The goal of the exercise was to answer four broad questions:
- How do data collected during the validation exercise compare with previously reported data;
- How quality improvement teams collect and interpret data;
- How do data collected by teams compare with data available in schools; and
- How does student educational performance in schools working with ASSIST-supported improvement teams compare with that in schools not supported by improvement teams.
All five QI teams had records for the outcome indicators for education performance. We found some variation in the criteria used for classifying whether a student had “passed” their exams and in the quality of records maintained by different teams. When compared to schools that are supported by QI teams, control schools generally had fewer records that could be used to track student performance and poorer quality of data records.
The qualitative data validation exercise showed that data reported by ASSIST Malawi are similar to what have been collected and maintained by community improvement teams that are supported through the project. We also found that QI interventions that are implemented by these teams have had a positive impact on education performance in primary schools and on household economic strengthening in these rural, low-income settings.