Blog

What’s Being Taught in USAID’s Foundational Course “Essentials for Education in Crisis and Conflict”?

Ash Hartwell

USAID Education in Crisis and Conflict Network’s (ECCN’s) latest iteration of its foundational course Essentials for Education in Crisis and Conflict took place in Washington, DC May 1-3  2017.

The focus of the course was on the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, and we were lucky to be joined by field practitioners from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. We were also joined by professionals from throughout USAID, Read more  »

Posted in Community of Practice, Cross-Cutting and Management Activities, Professional Development

The State of Education in Syria

People in front of a chalkboard

When USAID’s Middle East Bureau asked RTI’s international education team to assess what has been happening to formal education in Syria during the ongoing tragic conflict, I was happy to raise my hand and take on this task. My mother was born and raised in Aleppo and my maternal family roots are deeply tied to the past 150 years of its history.  Watching the annihilation of parts of Aleppo and learning of cousins becoming refugees in Lebanon, Read more  »

Posted in Community of Practice, Forced Displacement Education, Understand and Strive for Equity

Key take aways from UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week 2017

Mobile Learning Week

UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week 2017, in partnership with UNHCR and held in late March, intended to, “examine how new and affordable technologies can reinforce education in emergency and crisis contexts and expand learning opportunities for displaced people while facilitating their inclusion in national and community settings.” ECCN members attended the event to contribute to sessions on ICT solutions for learners, teachers and systems in emergency and crisis settings. Several trends stood out… Read more »

Posted in Community of Practice

The Role of Higher Education in Fragile Contexts

Taken outside a university in Western Kenya, the picture shows a sign that states "Prevent Bad Situations" - installed after the election of 2007-2008 incited violence in the community.

How do systems of higher education rebuild in post-conflict and post-disaster settings? What is the role of higher education in peacebuilding? Can higher education be a mechanism to support conflict transformation on campus and communities? For scholars facing threats and dangers, what alternatives are available to them?  At the annual Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) conference in March, a panel of higher education scholars and practitioners discussed these questions about the role of higher education in fragile contexts. Read more  »

Posted in Conflict Sensitivity in Programming, Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs, Peacebuilding Programming, Strengthen Local Institutions

EiCC Students Takeaways from CIES 2017

Daniel Fwanshishak

The Comparative International Education Society (CIES) Conference 2017 in Atlanta, GA (March 6-9) featured many key sessions around issues related to education in crisis and conflict (EiCC). As graduate students in the field of EiCC attending our first CIES conference, we identified three key takeaways from various sessions, including conflict-related information and communications technologies (ICTs), quality data collection and management, and the utility of the “Communicating, Learning and Adapting” (CLA) framework. Read more  »

Posted in Community of Practice, Interview

When Education Mitigates the Negative Effects of Violent Conflict on Youth

Mozaik

Violent conflict presents one of the greatest threats to human development. Nearly half of the more than 1.4 billion population living in fragile and conflict affected states are below the age of 20.[1] This blog post explores recent reports that indicate that equitable and relevant education is one critical way to build young people’s capacities and strengthen social cohesion to mitigate the negative effects of violent conflict on young women and men’s lives. Read more  »

Posted in Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs, Peacebuilding Programming

Revisiting the Two Faces of Education in Conflict: Implications for Education Materials

Reading card

Bush and Saltarelli (2000) told us that there are two faces of education in ethnic conflict – education grievances and structural features that can act as drivers of conflict, and education policies that can build connectors and promote peace. Many countries face new and divisive tensions as economic and other forces impact unevenly on different ethnic, linguistic, religious and other groups, leading to instability and sometimes armed conflict.

The Sustainable Development Goals Targets 4.1 and 4.7 ask educators to see that all children complete primary and secondary school, Read more  »

Posted in Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs, Understand and Strive for Equity

Refugees in Germany – A Quest for Social Cohesion

Sirad with her children

Another year has come to a close, and within the EiCC community, we are well aware of the 65 million displaced people around the world who are still in search of a safe home that will allow them to pursue fulfilling lives. A couple of months ago, ECCN hosted a roundtable on urban refugee education and the key takeaways are available here. Conversations from that event lingered in my mind during my recent trip to Germany last month, Read more  »

Posted in Community of Practice, Forced Displacement Education, Understand and Strive for Equity

Workshop: Essentials for Education in Crisis and Conflict

Map of Kampustan

In early November, eleven USAID education officers joined the USAID ECCN training team for a week in balmy Bangkok, Thailand for the second iteration of our foundational course: Essentials for Education in Crisis and Conflict.

The goals for the course were to:

  1. Use data and information on crisis and conflict-affected contexts to inform responsive programming
  2. Procure and oversee or manage a Rapid Education and Risk Analysis
  3. Design relevant,
  4. Read more  »

Posted in Cross-Cutting and Management Activities, Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs, Professional Development

Highlights from the mEducation Alliance Symposium 2016

mEducation Alliance

The 6th annual mEducation Alliance Symposium took place in Washington, DC in October and members of USAID ECCN joined dozens of others to learn and engage with innovations that have evidence of promising impact along focal tracks, such as: Crisis, Refugees, and Conflict, Education System Strengthening, and Youth and Workforce. Read more »

Posted in Community of Practice, Cross-Cutting and Management Activities

Equality in Educational Materials – USAID Guide also Applicable for EiCC

Gender guide cover

Teaching and learning materials have a powerful impact on children because the images and language they contain can influence a child’s understanding of the world—and themselves. Especially in environments that are prone to conflict and crisis, those materials can have a compounding effect and help mitigate or contribute to conflict in the society.  In support of the goal to promote inclusivity and equality in teaching and learning materials, the U.S. Read more  »

Posted in Understand and Strive for Equity

The New Global Agenda is Here: Are We Ready?

Historic change has happened at the global policy level that will have a profound impact on how we work.

In little over a year, world leaders have come together and agreed to the High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants, World Humanitarian Summit Commitments to Action, Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Security Council Resolution on Youth, Peace and Security, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Read more  »

Posted in Community of Practice, Cross-Cutting and Management Activities

USAID ECCN Attends Dubai Cares and INEE Event at UNGA

USAID ECCN Support Team members attended several events surrounding the UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York this week. Below, USAID ECCNs new Senior Researcher Colette Chabbott details her experience at the Dubai Cares and INEE event on September 20, 2016.

Despite a very early morning start, attendance was encouraging and energy was evident at the launch of a new $10 million E3 research initiative,  Read more  »

Posted in Community of Practice, Cross-Cutting and Management Activities

Armed conflict and education inequality: What do we know?

Education Inequality - Violent Conflict

To learn more and engage on this topic, join us for a webcast on September 8.

What do Ethiopia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Niger have in common? Each country had episodes of conflict in the 1990s, and each bucked the global trend of declining education inequalities in a subsequent time period. Researchers have long puzzled over the relationship between inequality and civil conflict; do grievances over a lack of access to resources or social capital actually lead people to go to war? Read more  »

Posted in Understand and Strive for Equity

Youth Leading Education and Peacebuilding in Conflict and Crisis Settings – Their Reach and Impact

Manipur

Five young activists from Nigeria, India, Colombia, Morocco and Syria are leading education initiatives that exemplify what the UN Security Council Resolution 2250 has called for in regards to youth involvement in peace and security building within communities. Challenging the perception that youth are either victims or perpetrators of violence, these five young leaders are heroes and models for how young people in conflict areas around the world are partners for peace and development. Enjoy the synopsis of a rich discussion that illustrates how these five activists are building peace and resilience within their communities through a variety of education initiatives. Read more »

Posted in Cross-Cutting and Management Activities, Interview

Making Gender Equity a Reality in Somalia

Three women in Somalia

Gender mainstreaming is an approach that seeks to identify the distinct roles, needs and opportunities of different gender and age groups and to put strategies in place that will ensure equitable access to services and close opportunity gaps. In Somalia, there are profound disparities between the sexes that start early in life and in this context gender mainstreaming is a critical step toward equity and getting girls to school. Somalia is not an easy place to be female. Read more  »

Posted in Community of Practice, Understand and Strive for Equity

El Salvador Rapid Education and Risk Analysis: Gang Violence and Education Access

Girls

In March 2016, I traveled to El Salvador as part of team looking at the impacts of violence and insecurity on education. Although I was aware of the high levels of violence in this country, I was shocked to learn the extent to which the daily lives of students and teachers were affected by violence. Teachers, principals, and international partners alike referred to the drop-out “crisis” in El Salvador – the disappearing students – as a result of gang violence. I heard stories of students who were forced to flee their communities, and in some cases, the country, or hide in their homes instead of attending school. Read more »

Posted in Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs

New Collaborative Initiative Focused on Recommended Education in Crisis and Conflict Indicators

USAID ECCN is launching a new initiative to identify, gather, and share a repository of strong indicators related to increasing equitable access to education in areas of crisis and conflict. Through this initiative, the community of practice will have the opportunity to inform and shape how the field collects and uses monitoring data to capture and guide our work in years to come. We invite you to get involved! Below we briefly describe the purpose and approach for this initiative. Read more  »

Posted in Cross-Cutting and Management Activities

A USAID ECCN Member Voice from the World Humanitarian Summit

Panel participants

USAID ECCN member Giulia McPherson with Jesuit Refugee Service recently returned from the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and volunteered to share about her experiences through a brief interview with USAID ECCN. 

USAID ECCN: How were you and your organization involved in the Summit?

Jesuit Refugee Service co-hosted a side event at the World Humanitarian Summit entitled Delivering Quality Education in Emergencies: What Needs to be Done? Read more  »

Posted in Cross-Cutting and Management Activities, Interview

Conflict Sensitive Psychosocial Approaches to Education in South Sudan

student in Sudan

Most education service delivery in conflict- and crisis-prone areas takes place in contexts where education is already in a state of crisis. The reality of people’s lives in many places is that they are either already in a crisis situation, emerging from one or entering one. These complex social and economic dynamics at community, national and regional levels often negatively impact the delivery of essential services, including education. Despite the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement, Read more  »

Posted in Community of Practice, Make Learning Safer

Workshop: Effective Education Program Design and Management in Crisis and Conflict Settings

Group of adults

May 12-14, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: USAID education staff from 7 African conflict-affected countries, joined by State Department and USAID/E3 Foreign Service Officers, participated in a newly developed USAID ECCN workshop titled Effective Education Program Design and Management in Crisis and Conflict Settings. USAID’s Nina Weisenhorn welcomed participants to the workshop and described how programming in crisis and conflict requires a shift from USAID’s traditional management approach, which assumes that we can foresee, with some certainty, how a country or sector will change over time.  Read more »

Posted in Cross-Cutting and Management Activities, Professional Development

Adaptive Management: Nice Idea, How Do You Do It?

Students in Kenya

Many practitioners struggle with program design and management of education projects in places where the threat of conflict is ever-present, where militias, gangs, and even just bullies are right around the corner. Recent reports from the field provide insight and tools on adaptive management and feedback loops, the core of USAID’s Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) approach. Read more »

Posted in Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs, Theories of Change

RCT – Randomized Controlled Trial or Risk of Confusing Truth

Comic Strip

The infatuation with randomized controlled trials that has swept the field of international development in recent years has certainly not been without clear benefits. The language of “causation” versus “correlation”, “attribution” versus “contribution” and so forth has helped both donors and practitioners to think more clearly about the impacts of different aspects of programming. But what many RCTs have shown – and the comic provides one example of – is just how complex international development is, Read more  »

Posted in Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs

Planning for crisis – what can education systems do to prevent and prepare?

Hazards, either natural or human-made, do not necessarily lead to crisis. While education systems are often impacted by crises, there are measures that can be put in place to mitigate risks and increase efficiency and equity.

Ministries of education (MoE) are increasingly aware of this and countries including South Sudan, Uganda, Mali, Burkina Faso and others have started planning for crises before they occur. Read more »

Posted in Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs

How Do We Promote Equity in Education? A New Research Initiative

Rising inequality is one of the greatest challenges facing the global community today – and equity is rightly at the heart of the new development agenda, reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Education 2030 Incheon Declaration. Nowhere is the challenge of equity more salient than in education, with its potential to positively shape life outcomes – or further exacerbate societal disparities.

How prepared are we in the education community to address this challenge? Read more  »

Posted in Understand and Strive for Equity

Mind the Gap: Using Evidence Gap Maps to Improve Education in Conflict and Crisis Programming and Research

If you have a headache, you can take an Advil. In an ideal word, all projects would be conceived to address a specific ache with a “treatment” that we know will ease the pain. But the aches of countries in crisis and conflict are complex, multifaceted, and closely interlinked. How do we find an Advil for that?

We can begin by documenting what works (and what does not!) – by amassing evidence in a systematic way. Read more  »

Posted in Make Learning Safer

Are you a hazard?

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, Read more  »

Posted in Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs

The Refugee Crises in Africa and Europe: We Are All in It Together

Foto of a Refugee Camp outside Stuttgart, Germany.

I grew up in Germany, in a village outside Stuttgart. It’s a pretty traditional area where most people know each other and most speak Swabian, a German dialect that is almost impossible to understand for the un-indoctrinated.

I’m back home for a visit and we’re watching the evening news as we’ve always done. Today’s events: another 40 people died crossing the Mediterranean – amongst them 17 children. 10,000 refugee minors are declared missing. Read more  »

Posted in Community of Practice, Forced Displacement Education, Understand and Strive for Equity

Telling the Goal 3 Story: Are we capturing the impact of our work?

To answer this question, the ECCN support team recently conducted an analysis of 26 Performance and Evaluation Monitoring Plans (PMPs) from current USAID Goal 3 (G3) programs. The analysis investigated current efforts to measure the impact of our work towards increasing equitable access to education in conflict and crisis-affected areas. As a community of practice we are working in diverse contexts, implementing innovative approaches, and surely making a difference in the lives of our beneficiaries. Read more  »

Posted in Cross-Cutting and Management Activities

Adaptive Management: In the Loop

Is your education project in places where the threat of conflict is ever-present, where militias, gangs, or just bullies are around the corner, and where one runs away from rather than toward security forces for help? These situations, in the words of Ben Ramalingam, present “wicked problems”, where:

  • Goals are difficult to define, often with powerful stakeholders diverging on personal, political and institutional interests;
  • Change requires shifts in culturally conditioned relationships and behavior;
  • Read more  »

Posted in Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs, Theories of Change