A Peek at our Partners: An Interview with FHI360 Posted March 4, 2016 by Elizabeth Youle

A little girl picks up a book in Spanish

For this month’s Peek at Our Partners we profile FHI 360, an NGO active in El Salvador.

What are the mission and core values of FHI 360??

FHI 360 is a nonprofit human development organization whose mission is to improve lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. Our staff includes experts in health, education, nutrition, environment, economic development, civil society, gender, youth, research and technology — creating a unique mix of capabilities to address today’s interrelated development challenges. FHI 360’s core values include innovation, mutual respect, passion, accountability, commitment to excellence, and teamwork.

Can you tell us a bit about the program that FHI 360 is working on in El Salvador?

FHI 360 is partnering with a network of local civil society organizations and the Salvadoran Ministry of Education to implement the Education for Children and Youth Program (ECYP) in El Salvador. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), this program aims to improve educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged students in lower secondary schools (grades 7-9) and out-of-school youth living in municipalities with high crime rates. Specifically, ECYP has worked to enhance academic achievement and increase 9th grade completion rates by building the pedagogical capacity of more than 650 teachers, 230 school administrators, and 280 ministry staff in active learning methodologies. The FHI 360 team has also conducted a dropout prevention pilot program in a high risk community to introduce strategies such as positive youth development and an early warning dropout system that have been effective at preventing school dropout in the U.S. Together with their partners, FHI 360 is strengthening safe learning environment programs that help reduce school violence and provide innovative education incentives to low-income students. By the end of the project, ECYP will reach 750 schools serving students in the target population.

FHI 360 and IBB worked together in 2014 and 2015 to send 113,448 brand new books and educational materials to El Salvador. How do these books fit into your program goals in El Salvador?

The lack of quality books and educational materials negatively impacts educational quality in resource-constrained Salvadoran schools. Through our partnership with IBB, FHI 360’s ECYP team donated books in both Spanish and English to 544 schools to support key subject areas across grades K-9. Many of the institutions that received books are part of integrated systems (or clusters), which allow schools to share the books and educational resources with one another. The donated books complement existing educational resources and contribute to improving educational quality. The Ministry of Education in El Salvador highly values the English books in particular as English proficiency is key for El Salvador’s economic growth, and there is a scarcity of trained English teachers and related quality educational materials.

What new programs are on the horizon for FHI 360?

FHI 360 recently launched the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Ghana Partnership for Education: Learning, which is strengthening the local education sector’s capacity to improve pedagogy and learning outcomes in early grade reading and mathematics. Through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)-funded Reading and Numeracy Activity (RANA) pilot project in Nigeria, FHI 360 is improving the quality of literacy and numeracy instruction for students in grades 1-3. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo FHI 360 is helping improve educational access and literacy outcomes for children in grades 1-4 through the USAID and UK Department of International Development (DFID/UKAID)-funded Accelerating Equitable Access to School, Reading, Student Retention, and Accountability (ACCELERE!) project. Through the USAID-funded Haiti Let’s Learn to Read and Write (Ann ALE) project, FHI 360 is collaborating closely with Haiti’s Ministry of Education and Professional Training (MENFP) to improve reading and writing skills for students in grades 1-4. FHI 360 expects to launch other programs focused on literacy in the near future at both the primary and post-primary levels, among other initiatives.

What are you reading right now?

The ECYP team has been reading a diverse sample of both fiction and non-fiction books. Here is a sample of books that team members are currently reading: