How does education impact conflict, and vice versa? How do we design education programs that truly are conflict-sensitive? How can we collaboratively analyze, interpret and use data and evidence in order to improve educational programming? These were some of the topics in which over 60 participants immersed themselves over three days in USAID’s Education in Conflict and Crisis Network’s (ECCN) first field workshop — in Abuja, Nigeria from September 14-16, 2015. The workshop aimed to improve participants’ knowledge about, use of, and collaboration around initial and ongoing conflict analysis for education programming in Nigeria.
Over the course of three days, workshop participants — representing USAID, other bi- and multi-lateral donor agencies, UN organizations, local and international non-profit organizations, and high level education and emergency representatives from the Federal level as well as Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi states — focused on conflict sensitive education programming, conflict assessment, and the use of feedback loops to improve education planning and delivery in northern Nigeria. USAID’s Education Crisis Response (ECR) project, implemented by Creative Associates International as well as local and international partners, served as the case study for the workshop. ECR aims to expand enrollment in appropriate, protective and relevant educational options for children and youth affected by violence in four states — Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe.
On day 1 of the workshop, participants, collaborating in cross-organizational teams, focused on conflict sensitive education and conflict analysis. They shared their own experiences working in conflict contexts, wrestled with conflict sensitivity through a number of authentic conflict-related scenarios, discussed conflict analysis principles and examined the purpose and components of conflict and education assessments.
Days 2 and 3 of the workshop offered in-depth examination of feedback loops for problem solving primarily through a problem-solving simulation. Working in cross-organizational teams, participants analyzed educational data and identified key issues and priority actions based on these data. Assuming roles — a donor, the State Education Management Agency, an internally displaced mother of several school age children (See Figure 2) — participants had to design their problem solving approach taking into account multiple stakeholder perspectives. They then shared their priority actions with the larger group (See Figure 3).
The workshop offered a rich source of professional learning for participants. For Ayo Oladini, a project director at the Education Crisis Response project, the workshop deepened his expertise and helped him to build and share knowledge with Nigerian and international colleagues to address important issues around education in northern Nigeria. Charity Dubi of Adamawa state shares Ayo’s sentiments. “This has been wonderful. Thank you ECCN — and thank you, USAID!”
The ECCN is a community of practice (COP) composed of USAID education staff, implementing partners and other partners working to increase equitable access to, and improve the quality of, education in crisis and conflict affected environments. This COP was initiated by USAID to promote knowledge generation and sharing among practitioners, policy makers and researchers related to Goal 3 of USAID’s Education Strategy — improved equitable access to education in crisis and conflict affected environments.
For more information about ECCN, see this overview.