When was the last time you asked yourself that question? Too few people do, and too few organizations do. Then why should you?
Because if you don’t understand the risks around you and your intervention, and how you and your intervention are in a relationship with those risks, odds are you’re a hazard. That means you’re increasing the risks faced by the communities you’re serving.
(The Do No Harm Project helped sound the alarm back in the 1990s about how donors, international agencies and NGOs can be hazards—or do harm, and this led to the crucial concept of conflict sensitivity.)
Even if you are not actually causing harm, you may be limiting the potential of your intervention by not considering risk. We know education strategies and programs in high risk contexts can both foster conditions for violence or promote social cohesion. And we know that a business-as-usual, technical-only approach is not effective in addressing the unique challenges in these contexts—displacement, violence and insecurity to physical damage and trauma.
Adapting and fine tuning education programs to these high risk contexts is crucial for program quality and sustainable results. The essential starting point is understanding context—and that means not only looking at the education sector, but its relationship with all the major drivers of risk.
Despite the importance of risk analysis, the reality is that integrating risk analysis methodologies—such as conflict analysis, disaster risk assessment and resilience analysis—into education sector assessment or diagnosis is far from the norm. Fortunately, good work is currently being done at the policy and field implementation level to change this.
In a couple of weeks, I will host a panel at CIES that will look at the opportunities and challenges of doing a mult-risk and education analysis. The panel will look at recent developments at the level of policy and guidance, and lessons from implementation in the field. I will discuss the overall opportunities and challenges of doing multi-risk and education analysis, including ECCN’s own Rapid Education and Risk Analysis tool that I’ll be piloting in El Salvador next month. I’ll be joined by Leonora MacEwan at UNESCO’s IIEP, who will share lessons from UNESCO’s work on resilience and multi-risk and education analysis, and Jeffrey Coupe from Creative Associates, who will discuss how Creative’s innovative program in Northern Nigeria is increasingly factoring in more risks.
Have you carried out an education assessment or analysis that integrated multiple risk analysis methodologies? Share your story below.
And stay tuned for more.
For more information on Jim’s session at CIES, please click here. USAID ECCN recently launched a CIES Event page where you can access information about USAID ECCN hosted presentations and featured member organization presentations.