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Pathways for agile implementation

Identifying the active elements of Raising Voices’ Good School Toolkit

IDinsight Associate Jenna Amlani with an enumerator and school administrator at Kinyamasika Primary School in Kabarole, Uganda. ©IDinsight

Report: Identifying the active elements of Raising Voices’ Good School Toolkit - 5 MB

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Executive Summary


The Good School Toolkit (GST) is an intervention developed by Raising Voices to prevent violence against children (VAC) in Ugandan schools. The program achieves this through influencing relationships among students, teachers, administrators, parents, and the surrounding community. The effectiveness of the GST was demonstrated by a randomised controlled trial conducted from 2012 to 2014, which showed that the GST led to a 42 percent reduction in VAC by school staff.

As the program includes over 60 different activities and can be time-intensive to implement, Raising Voices is interested in developing an abridged version of the GST which will be called GST Agile. This agile version will be easier for schools to implement and therefore easier to scale, while maintaining the effectiveness of the GST.

IDinsight partnered with Raising Voices to conduct a qualitative process evaluation of the GST in order to inform the development of GST Agile. This engagement consisted of two phases. In Phase I, a Theory of Change (TOC) was developed to map GST activities, intermediate outcomes, long-term outcomes and key assumptions. The TOC informed Phase II, the evaluation phase, which had two primary objectives:

  1. to understand which aspects of the GST are most important for changing relationships within schools and ultimately reducing VAC; and,
  2. to elicit feedback from stakeholders on the program and specific activities in order to improve the GST.


Qualitative data were collected from stakeholders at nine primary schools in Luwero and Kabarole districts of Uganda. This included 108 semi-structured interviews with teachers (n=27), students (n=45), administrators (n=9), and parents (n=27), and 18 focus group discussions (FGDs) with teachers (nine FGDs) and students (nine FGDs), totalling 107 participants.


The high-level takeaways from this report are as follows:
Important aspects of the GST
  • GST activities, particularly the student court and the suggestion box, are perceived to help students improve their relationships with teachers, each other and the school. Few activities were cited as not being important for observed changes.
  • Workshops educate students, particularly on why VAC should not be used, children’s rights, and how to treat other students.
  • Most students provide feedback to their teachers; the preferred mechanisms are the suggestion box and speaking directly to a teacher.
  • GST-recommended policies are implemented in schools, but student and staff understanding of the details of these policies can be inconsistent.
  • The Parents-Community Committee (PCC) has had moderate success in educating its members on positive discipline, but more engagement of parents is needed in order to decrease VAC in the community.
  • Teachers and administrators find that key aspects of the model, including the six steps structure of the GST and multiple protagonists, to be useful in program implementation.
Improvements to the GST
  • Many stakeholders had additional ideas for program refinements, including providing more workshops and trainings to schools and prioritising community outreach and sensitisation.


The study recommends that, for GST Agile to be more effective and impactful, Raising Voices should:
  1. Prioritise the following activities:
    1. Suggestion box because it is a preferred student feedback mechanism, particularly for girls, and is widely considered to be an important activity for improving relationships between teachers and students and among students.
    2. Student court because many stakeholders view this activity as important for improving relationships among students, as well as between teachers and students.
    3. Guidance and counselling of students by teachers as this is a crucial activity in helping teachers develop empathy towards and a greater understanding of children, which further helps to improve teacher-student relationships.
    4. Workshops since they seem to have contributed to education and awareness of critical VAC issues.
    5. Meetings (open meetings or meetings with the senior man/woman) as they seem to be effective in encouraging freer communication and building stronger relationships between students and teachers.
  2. Consider deprioritising the following activities:
    1. Teacher evaluation forms as they have only been implemented in about half of surveyed schools and few respondents cite them as being a particularly important activity.
    2. Magazines/newsletters because they seem to have only been
      implemented in two or three surveyed schools, they did not emerge as being important activities for any of the key changes, and they do not seem to be commonly used as a student feedback mechanism.
    3. Albums with GST-related songs as they seem to have only been implemented at one school and were rarely mentioned by respondents at that school as an important activity.
  3. Implement the following critical refinements:
    1. Provide more workshops and trainings to schools. There are many
      new teachers and students who have not been exposed to the GST
      and require sensitisation to the program.
    2. Provide clearer guidance on anti-VAC policies and consequences,
      including training on these policies, to school administrators. As we found variations in implementation of policies across schools, more guidance in terms of a detailed policy framework should be provided to school administrators.
    3. Encourage female students to become more comfortable speaking up and sharing their opinions. Though there seem to have been improvements in interactions between teachers and female students, girls generally still seem to be less comfortable approaching their teacher to provide feedback than boys.
    4. Improve communication channels between school administration and parents. More communication regarding activities taking place at the school and explicit invitations to participate in these activities may help to encourage community involvement in the GST.
    5. Prioritise community outreach and sensitisation. Utilising existing community structures and communication platforms to sensitise communities about the GST and the importance of VAC reduction may help to increase community support for the program.
    6. Extend protagonist training to all teachers and allow schools to select their own desired number of protagonists. This will allow schools to have greater flexibility in GST implementation and will also help schools to better mitigate against the effects of teacher transfer.
  4. Consider exploring the following program innovations:
    1. Make feedback mechanisms more accessible and user-friendly. In
      order to make activities such as the suggestion box more accessible to younger students with less developed writing skills, Raising Voices could explore using suggestion forms with visuals.
    2. Encourage more collaboration among schools. This would allow schools to share best practices and learn from each other’s experience.
    3. Provide additional GST materials to schools and communicate regularly with schools about materials required. Raising Voices should provide additional materials to the schools that require them, as well as develop a mechanism to regularly communicate with schools to ensure they have sufficient copies of all required materials at all times.
    4. Improve the physical toolkit by including more visuals and increasing the font size. Incorporating these suggestions may improve the ease with which school stakeholders interact with the GST material.
    5. Find ways to include younger students in the GST. This may include workshops and meetings specifically for younger students that present the GST material in an age-appropriate manner.
  5. Conduct structured feedback sessions with schools so they can regularly make suggestions for GST iterations and improvements to improve the GST. This will allow school stakeholders to regularly engage with Raising Voices to optimise the GST.