26 July 2023Tags: centres of excellence, comprehensive sexuality education, costing tool, CSE, Sexuality education, SRHR
A new costing tool for civil society organisations that run comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) programmes has been launched by Rutgers and Planned Parenthood Association Ghana.
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The free, easy-to-use tool can be used to make CSE programmes more cost-effective so that organisations can do more with existing funds. It can also generate graphs, charts and policy briefs that show government and donors the value of CSE programmes by linking investment in CSE to health and social goals. And it can help with policy advocacy and scale-up planning.
“This tool can calculate the minimum costs needed for the maximum impact,” says Ardan Kockelkoren, Senior Programme Officer at Rutgers. “Organisations can use it to make informed policy asks and present concrete evidence about what gaps need addressing. They’ll be able to position themselves as CSE experts and engage in policy conversations about shared responsibilities and resource dedication.
“They’ll also be able to generate evidence to take the next step, from in-school or in-community delivery, to engage on a district or national level in scale-up conversations so that more young people can be reached.”
Ardan Kockelkoren, Senior Programme Officer at Rutgers
How the CSE costing tool works
The tool is available to anyone to use and adapt. It comes with clear instructions and a comprehensive training manual.
“You don’t need any prior knowledge to use the tool, you just need to know your programme. If you have the data it’s pretty straightforward. In one morning you can get it filled out,” says Ardan.
The kind of data needed includes the number of CSE sessions in the curriculum, how long sessions last for, and the costs of materials, training and educators’ salaries. Once this data is inputted, the tool can identify the main cost-drivers of a programme. This will enable organisations to remove or adapt costly elements that are not central to impact.
The tool can also calculate the costs of integrating a CSE programme into the school system. It includes the option to split and present resource investments between different government departments or donors, and it can be tweaked to take different factors into account, such as inflation or a changing policy environment.
“This tool allows you to compare the options that are available,” explains Caesar Kaba Kogoziga, Programs Coordinator at Planned Parenthood Association Ghana. “For instance, a civil society organisation may be able to use it to prove that, if half the resources that have been invested in an out-of-school programme were used for in-school programming, every young person in the country could be supported to get CSE. That is a very strong message.”
Investing resources in the right places
The tool has been tested by Planned Parenthood Ghana and a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working on CSE in Madagascar.
“Using it made us question if all we are doing in terms of spending resources on CSE are cost-effective,” says Caesar. “For instance, it made us question the number of subjects or sessions we have in our CSE manual… This kind of analysis allows you to better invest your resources in the right places to make programmes more effective.”
In cases where an organisation’s CSE programme has been passed to the government to be integrated, scaled up and maintained, the tool can be used to develop agreements and MoUs, and outline who is going to pay for which elements of the expansion.
The executive director at the Malagasy NGO said:
“We have been directly implementing comprehensive sexuality education in schools in Madagascar, and we are now working to transition key elements of our model to the Ministry of Education… This tool will be right at the forefront of those conversations.”
Both organisations say they will use the tool to make the “strongest winning case” for investment in CSE with government and donors.
“There is more and more competition for resources in developing countries,” says Caesar. “If you don’t come with clear terms and figures of what to invest in and how much is needed, the government may see CSE as too bulky a thing to fund… This tool will help you better make your case and advocate for the scaling-up trajectory that we all want. Because, ultimately, the aim is to get every young person access to CSE.”
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