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What’s Good Enough? A Webcast on Strategies for Data Collection and M&E in Conflict Zones

September 26, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am


Have you faced challenges in data collection efforts while evaluating activities in conflict or crisis zones? Do you wonder what the best research design is, given the constraints you’re facing? Have you considered how to adapt findings for stakeholders with differing agendas?

On September 26, 2017, ECCN hosted a webcast about navigating challenges in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) when working in crisis and conflict zones. This webcast was part of an ongoing series of events ECCN is hosting about M&E strategies and practices when working with education programs in crisis and conflict settings (EiCC). The webcast considered issues around assessment development and adaptation, enumerator recruitment and supervision, data collection, and funders’ measurement expectations in unstable environments. Panelists, featuring development practitioners from Chemonics, School-to-School International, Creative Associates, and USAID, shared lessons learned from reporting on a national EGRA (Afghanistan’s first) and other stories and lessons from crisis and conflict zones, including experiences shared by attendees. ECCN also communicated updates on a new guidance tool for data quality considerations and indicator development efforts aimed at improving equity in EiCC programming.

What's Good Enough? Slide deck

Slides from the webcast.

The collaborative webcast on M&E Standards in Crisis and Conflict was both thought-provoking and candid. Field experts challenged participants to re-imagine the relativity of data collection as well as the reality of school samples in crisis and conflict zones.

The webcast slides are available here, and the recording is available above.


You might also be interested in:

  • Our July 25 webcast on Adapting M&E Tools for Crisis and Conflict Settings. Access the recording and resources on our website.
  • ECCN’s Rapid Education and Risk Analysis (RERA) Toolkit, which helps implementing partners collect timely inputs about their environment and communities in conflict or crisis settings to inform program design and implementation. RERA works within USAID’s Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) framework. In December, ECCN will offer in-depth training on the revised version of the toolkit (RERA 2.0).
  • You can read more about STS’s recent experience in navigating common M&E challenges in crisis and conflict settings in a new blog post.
Submit a Comment/Question

Webcast Presenters

Moderator: With over 30 years’ experience in international education development, including in crisis and conflict zones, Dr. Mark Lynd brings in-depth skills and knowledge in the design and implementation of large-scale education initiatives. Since 2002, Lynd has served as president of School-to-School International (STS), working to build educational systems and improve learning outcomes in contexts where safety, security, and stability were at times uncertain. These contexts include post-war northern Uganda, southern Sudan before independence, northern Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Guinea, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. He has designed and implemented Early Grade Reading Assessments (EGRAs), Early Grade Mathematics Assessments (EGMAs) impact evaluations, experimental and quasi-experimental studies, monitoring and evaluation systems, and fidelity of implementation research across the globe.

Mark Lynd

Dr. Jordene Hale is a monitoring, evaluation, and education specialist with over 25 years’ experience in strategic planning and project management. Hale recently joined Chemonics as an education technical director. Prior to this, she served as chief of party on the USAID funded READ M&E in Ethiopia. Hale has provided oversight to projects in counter-terrorism with the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of State (DOS), diplomacy in the Lower Mekong region, Democracy and Human rights in Pakistan, among others. She has extensive experience in education, mother tongue instruction, Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), and gender. She has worked in several areas of crisis and conflict, including Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone. She holds an EdD in education from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Jordene Hale

Dr. Sarah Jones is a senior monitoring and evaluation (M&E) advisor for USAID’s evidence team in E3/Education. Jones brings to the position over 15 years of experience in research and evaluation of social reform programs domestically and internationally with specializations in research methods, education, and youth. In her previous position as technical director at Social Impact, she focused on the evaluation of education and youth programs. She has also worked across sectors on complex evaluations, including serving as a technical lead on the Impact Evaluation of the Malawi CDCS Integration Initiative and as the qualitative specialist on the Food for Peace baseline studies in Uganda, Niger, and Guatemala during her time at ICF International. Both professionally and personally, her primary objective is to increase learning and improve education and youth-based programming to better meet the needs of children and youth (especially in countries affected by conflict or crisis). Jones holds a BA in Spanish and Italian from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1996), a Masters (2000) and PhD (2004) in Sociology, and a Post-Doctorate in Education (2005) from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Sarah Jones

Casey McHugh, a program manager at School-to-School International (STS), brings over six years of experience in international education, gender, program management, and monitoring and evaluation. She has experience in applied research and monitoring and evaluation, specializing in both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. McHugh managed STS’s subcontract on the USAID-funded Resources, Skills, Capacity Building in Early Grade Reading in Afghanistan (RSC-EGR), implemented by Chemonics International. Collaborating closely with Chemonics and a local data collection firm, McHugh managed the assessment design and data collection processes for Afghanistan’s first nationally-representative Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and accompanying School Management Effectiveness and Safety (SMES) survey, including a sample of over 1,200 schools and over 19,000 students across Afghanistan. She coordinated and supported the training of EGRA and SMES assessors through a mix of in-country and remote technical support, with 238 assessors trained over three rounds, including 89 MOE participants from the provincial education directorates.

Casey McHugh

Karen Tietjen has 35 years’ experience in international education including through her current work leading design and implementation of EGR programs for Creative Associates. She has supported education program design and implementation for USAID and other donors in a range of countries, including Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia. Tietjen has implemented programs, conducted research, and developed monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems in several conflict countries, including Afghanistan, Haiti, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Yemen. She specializes in education planning and design, early grade reading, institutional and systems development research and M&E, and policy development and reform. She holds an MS in Economics of Education from Florida State University.

Karen Tietjen

Webcast Questions and Answers

Submit a Comment/Question
Ahmed: Which is better in this situation tool, Table or chart, or....any other?
Lam: Could you elaborate on 'recce' as part of the data collector security as mentioned in slide 3?
Autumn: In measuring dosage--we have challenges collecting individual level student attendance data and tracking it over time. Do you have any methods that have been successful? Or know of any innovative approaches in this area?
Tim: What problems do you think technologies like satellite imagery and GIS can help overcome?
Lam: Do you have examples of solutions when organizational M&E capacity is limited (I.e. data collection is just one 'hat' that organizational staff wear and they are stretched pretty thin)?
Sabeen: Are there examples where solely/primarily qualitative methods were used in EiCC settings and were deemed successful and relatively reflective of the larger setting/context? (Over mixed-methods or quantitative methods?)
Daniel: Re: Sampling: Overall Size is a function of structure, i.e., cluster size. Any approaches, guidance, experiences to estimating a plausible ICC?
Chemonics: One of the presenters mentioned including students or teachers who questioned why they weren't included in the surveys. Does this negatively effect the statistical design of the monitoring/surveying in random sampling?
  1. afzal shah 3 months ago

    Mark Lynd sorry for delayed response as i went through your comment now. VES volunteer education system was devised to cater the issue of damage schools, during the shift of uncertainty in the area I work was about the building or infrastructure which was under severe threat and were blown up mostly. The main cause at the end observed as community and public-sector linkages and understanding of initiatives. There fore once we design the concept of VES in which local community member with minimum graduate qualification to start educating children with in community building minimum of 25-40 children case to case varied due to geographical divisions. They were provided with incentives based on assessment results of the children and number of the children with registered body, State was responsible to provide books, salaries, and other incentives accordingly with the number and grades of the students. After completing specific time of 4 years based on progress school was supposed to be recommended for infrastructure by providing building in appropriate place. But this doesn’t last for long due to political and economic shifts. Federally administered tribal area education foundation and National commission for human development Pakistan were the platform where we drafted the said model for implementation.

  2. afzal shah 4 months ago

    well awesome research and methodology opted the source of investigation which is language, but one thing is confusing for assessment of children at schools seems unwise at this stage when the systems itself not working or available with EMIS records then obviously communities comes under direct support through citizen led initiative. what if the research was house hold based covering the out of school children and never enrolled children. Dari, Pashto or else are not beneficial for sustainable development goals, they are required with geographical arrangements by simple techniques of location data base, focus should be locations not schools as due to this might be most of the children did not participated into the schools. Early science, Mathematics and other topics of interest to be focused for research at this phase especially the buildings and the communities houses and hamlets.
    In conflict area one concept was developed which was Volunteer Education schooling system. this ensures the involvement of each and every stake, communities and benefiacries.

    • Mark Lynd 4 months ago

      Hi Afzal, Mark here. I completely agree with you: in order to meet sustainable development goals, research like the types we described in the webcast should go beyond formal schools to include out-of-school youth and their communities, as well as language minority groups. I’d love to learn more about the Volunteer Education schooling system so please send information. I’m aware of other volunteer efforts, including ASER/UWEZO assessments conducted largely by community volunteers, and the BRAC model of education which draws extensively on local citizens and community volunteers to staff its schools, often with very good results. I agree that these and similar volunteer- and community-based initiatives should be part of the conversation, with the research issues that arise in these contexts. For the webcast, we focused on some of our immediate experiences in formal schools but as you say, this is not the whole picture. Thank you for your observation!

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