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5) One expert was concerned that only focusing on girls doesn't tackle systemic change and recommended, ' looking into implementing gender synchronized and gender transformative approaches with adolescent boys and girls that enable reflection on gender/cultural norms that influence perceptions of masculinity and femininity'

Yes! We don't intend to just focus on girls. Our idea is unique because it emphasizes teaching entire communities about sexual and reproductive health. Most programs focus on girls only, and honestly we might have done that too, if we didn’t hear directly from girls how important it is to include boys and adults as well. Everyone in Liberia is suffering from a lack to adequate information.

We are looking into using Think Equal equality studies curriculum for early childhood education that explore gender and cultural norms. Our community groups led by the Guardians will use role playing other approaches to address these challenges as well.

Finally, at the systems level, we are working to establish a partnership with the Ministry of Gender to help bolster protections for women and girls, garner support for our program, and aim to make this program or something like it accessible across the entire country.

2) It would be good to see some specific outcomes that the project is working towards as a result of their interventions. Have you considered the types of behaviors that you would like to see individuals engaged in (e.g. increased use of contraception, increased enrollment, reduced drop out). what other activities might you need to implement at community level of school enrollment rates are low?
Our overarching goals are:
-No “sex for grades” in schools, children know their rights
-Adoption of non-violent, non-physical, non-humiliating discipline at home and school = stress-free learning environment
-No unwanted pregnancies
-Gender parity in our schools (which means increased enrollment of girls and decrease in dropout rates)

1) “Schools are often a popular place for programs to start because they can reach a captive audience and can potentially be scaled through education system, but may not always reach the most vulnerable adolescents if enrollment rates are low. Education sector not always receptive to these types of health interventions. The challenge for school-based programming is sustainability. Is the MoE strong enough to take this approach to scale or will it be reliant on NGOs to provide this intervention?” and how are you thinking about tackling some of your obstacles in your work?

More Than Me is operating public schools as part of a national public private partnership called Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) which started in 2016. MTM operates 18 schools, serving over 3,500 children, and has catalyzed the national PSL effort, which has already provided 70,000 children with a better education in Liberia. Teacher and principals are on government payroll, and partners recieve $50/student each year to operate the schools.

Results from year 1 of an independent randomized control trial of PSL by Innovations for Poverty Action, a research firm, show that children are learning 60% more in PSL schools than in non-PSL schools, and 110% more in More Than Me schools. But this is still not enough.

More Than Me recognizes the holistic needs of our students and seeks to address them through our schools. Our model is called (S)HE Matters and focuses on the safety, healthy, education and monitoring to ensure the basic human rights and quality education of all children. With parent, student, teacher, and community engagement, schools become the hub of community life. Parent engagement capacity leads conduct outreach to increase enrollment and ensure more vulnerable populations are attending school in each community. Additionally Guardians' programming will be open to all community members, regardless of their enrollment in school.

Our model is focused on sustainability ensuring that we develop programs that can be scaled and sustained beyond More Than Me's tenure. We are working to partner with the Ministry of Gender to provide further support for the Guardians program and are already working with the MoH - Community Health Worker program to provide onsite health interventions at our schools.