Evaluation of mentally disabled children : program of Sibusiso Foundation

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Southern New Hampshire University
As one of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Community Economic Development in the Southern New Hampshire University at the Open University of Tanzania I engaged in conducting evaluation research of Mentally Disabled Children Program of Sibusiso Foundation, an organization situated at Arumeru district in Arusha region. My engagement with the organization, lasting for a year, involved undertaking evaluation research with the active participation of Sibusiso Foundation staff, parents of the cmd, government and religious leaders at different levels. The overall purpose of the evaluation was to gain greater understanding, with specific objectives including; enabling the Foundation to see if the program runs as expected and realize objectives and purpose, learning people's point of view, assessing impacts of the program, and taping ways of increasing community participation. The paper presents literature review relevant to the program and the problem of mentally disabled children. Literature review is done along aspects of causes of child mental disability and strategies to deal with this problem. Literature review also involves analysis of relevant policies at international and national level. Research methodology involved the use of primary as well as secondary sources of data. Secondary sources of data included the Foundation's progress reports, annual reports, audited financial statements, meetings minutes and other program's literature. Primary source of data were obtained through data collection methods, namely; interviews, the use of questionnaires, observation, the use of photographs and focus group discussion. The findings of the research are analyzed and presented in qualitative and quantitative data presentation formats. This involves text presentation and employing numbers, percentages, graphs and figures to express information. As a result of the evaluation, the program was found to be efficient and addressing the needs of the community. People were satisfied with it, there were positive impacts to the intended beneficiaries and public in general, and there have been good cooperation with other stake holders. However, there were some reservations, some parents complained of the behavior children acquire while on program. There is too much foreign donor dependency and lack of some professionals, which hamper sustainability of the program. Out of the evaluation observations and recommendations the organization has started to do some activities intending to implement what have been recommended. These activities include; starting engaging external agent to lead evaluation exercise in every three years, increase leaders' participation, increase publicity to improve community participation in community meetings and publish and circulate quarterly publication. Generally, however, the program is sufficient and satisfactory. The program addresses the need as viewed by the community. It is my opinion, therefore, that the program should continue as its services are commendable. (Author abstract)