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.
Why Collect and Share Indicators?
ECCN just released a report on our analysis of a sample of Education in Crisis and Conflict projects’ Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Plans (PMEPs). The purpose of this analysis was to examine which indicators are currently being used by USAID projects working towards Goal 3 of the Education Strategy (2011-2015), what type of outcomes and outputs are being measured through these indicators, and what important elements of our work are not being tracked through current M&E efforts. Through this analysis, we found that PMEPs provide a coherent and well organized structure to link project objectives, outcomes, and outputs to specific indicators. We also identified areas for improvement in terms of identifying and using indicators to monitor progress towards increasing equitable access to education in crisis and conflict areas. Specifically, our recommendations for USAID and the wider USAID ECCN community of practice include:
- Increasing the number of indicators used to measure equity, safety, and conflict sensitivity.
- Moving towards more consistent measures by identifying and using common indicators for commonly measured constructs (e.g., equitable access, student socio-emotional wellbeing).
- Increasing attention towards how we measure the results of our work (outcomes), using evidence-based theories of change.
For more information about our findings and recommendations visit our blog “Telling the Goal 3 Story: Are we capturing the impact of our work?” or read the full report here.
USAID ECCN will help address these recommendations by engaging with the community’s members to develop and/or identify indicators that focus on safety, equity, and conflict sensitivity, that are based on common definitions that lead to uniform measures, and that better measure the results of our work.
How Will Indicators Be Identified?
If you have experience with equity in education; school safety; or conflict sensitive education, and would like to lend your expertise toward developing strong indicators for programming in these areas, then please consider joining one of these thematic working groups:
- Education Equity Research Initiative/Conflict and Fragility Working Group: Initiated by FHI 360 and Save the Children, the goal of the equity initiative is to inform policy and programming on the effective ways of strengthening equity in and through education systems. The initiative’s conflict and fragility working group—one of four working groups under this initiative—will pursue research to examine the intersection between education inequality and conflict/fragility, as well as develop guidance on improving practice to promote equity in education in conflict- and crisis-affected environments. Immediate activities for the working group include conducting a landscape review of research on equity in education in areas of conflict and fragility, identifying context analysis and M&E tools that address education inequity, and developing guidance on conducting research related to education equity in areas of conflict and fragility. USAID ECCN members who join this working group will have an opportunity to work with other partners to generate new knowledge, shape thinking, and inform policy and programming on effective ways to strengthening equity in and through education systems. We are looking for researchers, evaluators and education practitioners with experience working in fragile and conflict-affected contexts who are willing to commit a few hours per month to work collaboratively on this important endeavor. For more information about the initiative, review the TOR and contact Shai Fuxman and Anne Smiley.
- Safer Learning Environments Working Group. The USAID ECCN support team and other members of the network have reviewed the academic literature and evaluation reports from various projects (both USAID funded and non-USAID funded) to identify evidence that supports strategies aimed at increasing safety for learners in areas of conflict and crisis. Building on this work, USAID ECCN will soon launch a new working group to identify existing, and design new indicators and tools that measure various aspects of safer learning environments in a given context (e.g., school-related gender-based violence, gang violence, education under attack, armed conflict, health emergencies, natural disasters). USAID ECCN members who join this group will have the opportunity to work with partners to create approaches, tools and indicators that have the potential to shape future USAID education program design, implementation and evaluation. For more information on this initiative, review the TOR and contact Gwen Heaner.
How Will They Be Shared?
Indicator Database: USAID ECCN is in the process of building an online, interactive database, which will house all recommended indicators. Users will be able to search for indicators by topic, as well as to filter by other criteria (e.g., outcome/output, projects using indicator, countries where indicator has been used). Indicator records on the database will provide information about the source of the indicator, how and where it has been used. Indicator records will also link to the measures and tools used to capture the indicator.
For more information, click here to read a guidance note about this initiative, contact Shai Fuxman, or leave a comment below.
Shai Fuxman is Protocols and Metrics Specialist with USAID ECCN.