Impact analysis of the Komensky Fond between 2008 and 2015
Education is the key
Children and young people who grow up in difficult social and economic situations often find it harder than others to take advantage of their educational opportunities. For their future, this can also mean that they will find it more difficult to escape the poverty spiral. To make this challenge easier for them was the idea when ERSTE Foundation and Caritas Austria jointly established the Komenský Fond in 2006.
Education, they agreed, can sustainably improve living conditions, fight poverty and promote inclusion. By involving the community, civil society can also be strengthened.
How efficient and effective are the KomenskýFond's non-formal education and training courses?
On behalf of Caritas Austria, four of the nine projects in Central and Eastern Europe were analysed to answer this question. These were those of Caritas Jihlava (Czech Republic), A Mi Házunk (Hungary), Caritas Alba Iulia (Romania) and Caritas Aleksinac (Serbia). In the course of an impact analysis, the most important stakeholders were identified. These were primarily the participating children, young people and alumnis. But parents and relatives of the participants and (voluntary and full-time) employees of local NPOs are also important.
By means of extensive qualitative and quantitative survey methods, numerous impacts, especially on the social, cultural and psychological level, could be identified and measured among the three stakeholder groups: Among the participants, school performance has improved in all countries. The general education of alumni in particular has improved. They also stated that they had gained more self-confidence and creativity. In the Caritas Jihlava, A Mi Házunk and Caritas Alba Iulia projects, it is also becoming apparent that the project promotes community participation and volunteer work and conveys a sense of security and belonging. Their health has also been improved through community activities such as cooking or sports. The increased feeling of "belonging" will sustainably promote their chances of social inclusion. Many confirmed that they use their free time in a much more meaningful way through the project activities they took part in as part of the Komenský Fund.
For parents and relatives of participants, probably the most significant effect is the experienced (financial) relief in everyday life. In the Serbian project Aleksinac in particular, a financial improvement was highlighted. The feeling that the participants were in "good hands" sustainably reduced the pressure on parents and relatives. They were also made more aware of the importance of education. Numerous impacts were observed among the local NPOs involved and their staff. In particular, the financial support provided by the KomenskýFond has not only made them noticeably more flexible in their actions. It was also possible to guarantee financial stability and economic sustainability for the acting NPOs and increase their capacities. The project also contributed to improved transnational networking, exchange and cooperation.
Apart from demonstrating the impacts of the Komenský Fund, the participating organisations were also given recommendations for future action.