Crisis and conflict negatively affect the education of 80 million children worldwide. Many of us working in the field of Education in Crisis and Conflict (EiCC) recognize the complex relationships between education, conflict, and crisis; designed well, an education intervention can improve the conditions these children face, but done poorly, it can exacerbate the conflict. This is where conflict sensitivity proves critical. Conflict sensitive interventions avoid increasing the risk of (or aggravating the factors that drive) a conflict. Conflict sensitive designs also seek to maximize their positive impact on the factors that reduce violence.
Conflict sensitive design can be brought to bear not only on an education intervention in general, but also on the specific use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) within that intervention. Access to technology is growing worldwide, and use of it in educational contexts—for improved data collection, for better classroom instruction, for more efficient teacher development, and so forth—is increasing rapidly. It is, thus, an important time for us to consider how education interventions can be more conflict sensitive. As we design, implement, manage, monitor, evaluate, close-out, and hand-over an intervention, it is important to return to fundamental conflict sensitivity questions, such as:
- Are the education stakeholders and the key identity groups in the community equitably and meaningfully participating in the design process?
- Are ICT trainers and technical support staff representative of and appropriately matched with the diverse identity groups they are supporting?
- Does the M&E system adequately protect the privacy of users, particularly data that could be used to exacerbate conflict or put individuals or groups at risk?
- Has the close-out plan been communicated to communities and all identity groups in advance and in such a way that it appropriately manages expectations?
Members and staff of ECCN and INEE’s Technology and Education in Crisis Task Team (TecTT) formed a Reference Group to look at this issue, which led to the creation of a new guiding tool: the Checklist for ICT Interventions to Support Education in Crisis and Conflict Settings (ICT in EiCC Checklist).In Settings of Crisis and Conflict, Information Communication Technology choices require conflict sensitive design. Use the new checklist developed by members of INEE and ECCN to see how. Click To Tweet
The ICT in EiCC Checklist focuses on the intersection of conflict sensitivity principles and ICT design approaches to help ensure that education ICT interventions are conflict sensitive. It is meant to be a user-friendly tool that can guide reflection and planning throughout a project life cycle. It is divided into five phases: analysis, design, implementation, M&E, and close-out. The tool also tracks the holistic implications of an ICT intervention by breaking it into four ‘C’ components: the community context, the communication device, the content and pedagogy, and the connection.
These two things combined—the four ‘C’ components organized within each of the five phases—provide a simple framework to check your design. Ideally, this checklist should be completed during the early planning stages of an intervention to help avoid common pitfalls. And it should also be consulted frequently during the implementation life cycle to help shape thinking around issues that arise.
To learn more about the ICT in EiCC Checklist, join us for a webcast on August 29, 9-10 a.m. ET, for a more detailed introduction; RSVP by August 27. The tool will be circulated for general usage by interested partners, as the reference group looks for opportunities to pilot it in a country context.
IDRC, CIDA, Minbuza, GTZ, SIDA (2004). Conflict-Sensitive Approaches to Development, Humanitarian Assistance and Peace Building: Tools for Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment. Retrieved from: http://local.conflictsensitivity.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Conflict-Sensitive-Approaches-to-Development-Humanitarian-Assistance-and-Peacebuilding-Resource-Pack.pdf.
United States Agency for International Development, Education in Crisis and Conflict. Retrieved from https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/education/crisis-conflict.