SESIL Objectives

Strengthening Education Systems for Improved Learning (SESIL) was a five-year, £27.4 million programme under the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), aimed at improving the equity and quality of measurable learning outcomes for girls and boys in Uganda at the lower primary school level. The programme was funded by the UK government, in partnership with the Education Above All Foundation (EAA) and the Luminos Fund, and managed by Cambridge Education. SESIL was launched in 2018 and concluded in September 2023.

A more detailed outline of the approach and lessons from CLL can be found in the resources and in this video.

SESIL’s objective is to improve the foundational literacy and numeracy levels of early grade children in some of the most marginalised communities in Uganda. The programme operates in 17 local governments in the West Nile region and the east of Uganda. Working with and through the MoES and the Ministry of Local Government, SESIL designs effective system strengthening initiatives which are low-cost, scalable and sustainable. SESIL’s Managing for Results (M4R) approach was tested in over 1,800 government primary schools with over a million children, before the Covid-19 pandemic refocused programme efforts.

The Community-Led Learning (CLL) initiative was then launched in 2021 and went to scale in 2022 and targets the untapped potential of communities to support their children’s learning. So far, CLL has reached over 260,000 children and proven to be more than twice as effective as schooling alone. It is a very important programme… it helps to bring parents and community back to supporting the education of their children, which is what we’re trying to do... It gives the parents the confidence to play their role. I really value CLL and wish we could carry it across the country as it will strengthen primary education,” Janet Museveni, the First Lady and Honourable Minister of Education and Sports (March 2023).

The initiative aims to improve the literacy and numeracy levels of the most marginalised girls and boys in Uganda at lower primary level (P1 – P3). CLL is a low-cost approach, which enables communities to take ownership of their children’s learning and arose in response to Covid-19 school closures and the subsequent need to catch-up on lost learning once schools reopened. It is a form of remedial learning or extra classes and complements and supports the learning opportunities that are available in school. CLL is community-driven and led by volunteer Community Learning Facilitators (CLFs).  

Following its integration into the School Reopening Plan, the initiative has reached 340,000  children. The First Lady has lauded the initiative and expressed her wish for the approach to be expanded across Uganda (video link).  All the guiding materials on how CLL works, how it can be rolled-out at scale and implemented, and the lesson handbooks and resources for facilitators can be found on the 'Resources’ section below. The findings from the impact assessment can be found under the ‘Learning and Impact’ section.

Until 2020, when schools were closed due to Covid-19, SESIL adopted a systems-strengthening approach called Managing for Results (M4R) which used data to drive active and effective management at all levels – from school to Ministry and vice versa. This included building the capacity of education sector stakeholders at the central, district and school level to analyse and use data effectively. Once system blockages are identified, stakeholders are supported to come up with solutions and course-correct, using simple management routines at central and decentralised levels. SESIL has delivered a range of interventions to support districts and schools to improve learning for all children through better managing performance and ensuring that the system is joined up around the key factors enabling learning.