The ALiVE Way: Contextualizing the Measurement of Life Skills and Values in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda
Established in August 2020, the Assessment of Life Skills and Values in East Africa (ALiVE) is a learning-focused initiative of the Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI). ALiVE aim at supporting the movement from policy formulation to implementation through the development of contextualized assessments, generation and sharing of evidence to raise public awareness, by informing policy decisions, and by strengthening local capacities. ALiVE is a collective impact process by the Values and Life Skills (VaLi) cluster of RELI, involving 20 civil organizations across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and a learning and self-empowerment community of over 100 individuals in the three countries.
Many previous interventions lacked profound contextual clarity and used assessments developed for different contexts to measure progress. Arguments have been made that foundational skills are deeply embedded in culture and that they are understood and expressed within specific contexts (Tabulawa, 2003; 2013). Therefore, if the assessments of these competencies are to be relied on, then there is the need to pay keen attention to the contextual definitions. Jukes et al. (2018) underscore the importance of not just a mere process of adapting tools to the Global South contexts, but a ground-up process that starts with the prioritization and definition of the competencies and values for each context, while taking into account local beliefs, culture and pedagogy (Nguyen et al., 2006).
There are four main steps in the ALiVE contextualization approach: 1) Prioritizing the competencies in context; 2) Understanding the skills in context; 3) Developing tools in context; and 4) Defining the assessment process in context.