Malawi: Strengthening Education and Global Development

A child-headed home In Machinga, Malawi, 2013.
A grandmother-headed household in Machinga, Malawi, 2013. Grandmothers (Gogos) are the strongest thread in the social fabric, holding together life for about 40% of Malawian orphans

Our interdisciplinary 4W Team is building on over a decade of engagement in Malawi led by Dr. Nancy Kendall. These efforts aim to make change at the community level and inform national policy. The work is based on the belief that education, broadly defined to include school-based programs and the many non-formal education spaces in society, is both central to and essential for development—especially in creating equity and voice for women and girls.

Monitoring and Evaluation for Quality Improvement (MEQI)

MEQI takes the point of service provision, whether in education, health care, social services, or other development efforts, as the entry point for change, providing a tangible, practice-oriented grounding for participants to envision quality. Initial success creates an organizational climate conducive to change and gives team members the skills and cohesion they need in order to take on more complex organizational processes. Iterative cycles of reflective analysis and action foster change and help identify system components or processes that need to be redesigned. Outcome measures that emerge from this process are readily understood and accurate, and evaluation and reporting are part of an ongoing improvement process. The MEQI effort began in summer 2017 with an exchange visit from Dr. Zikani Kaunda, a Malawian leader in education and organizational development. We anticipate working on health, education, agriculture, and other critical development activities and having national impact within five years.

The MEQI Approach

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Building a culture of quality

What does quality look like? Learn to collectively envision what quality looks like at point of service delivery to help articulate shared goals and values. Learn to think about the different dimensions of quality. Learn how participatory monitoring and evaluation approaches support an institutional culture that emphasizes quality and quality improvement as the work of each and all.

Continuous assessment for improvement

How is this working here and now? Learn to build a critical, reflective practice that regularly makes real time adaptations to fit changing contexts and avoid rigidity of implementation. Ensure that this learning process is fully incorporated into institutional/project/program monitoring and evaluation frameworks to assure alignment between institutional practice and external assessment of performance and accountability.

Ensuring equity

Does everyone have a voice? Does everyone feel heard? Ground work in the lived experiences of those being served, and treat the MEQI processes as a reciprocal learning exchange. Ensure that indicators and program outputs reflect the understandings and interests of those being served.


Nancy Kendall, Zikani Kaunda, Sophia Friedson-Ridenour, & Lori DiPrete Brown