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.

Ash Hartwell

ECCN’s Ash Hartwell explains theories of change to a diverse audience of field- and Washington-based education professionals.

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, within and outside of the the E3 education teams and LAC bureau. We were joined by a team from the US Department of Labor as well, making for impressive diversity and an especially rich exchange of experience and information.

We at ECCN would like to share some of that rich exchange with you, our wider community of practice.

Day 1 – Conflict Sensitivity

Participants spent the first day learning about conflict sensitive education and why situations that may not seem “conflict-affected” benefit from context analysis and conflict-sensitive programming decisions. While the course was tailored to a US government audience, there were many resources shared that are publicly accessible and would be of interest to implementing partners as well. Some examples include:

Day 2 – Evidence and Theories of Change

What constitutes good evidence and how can it be used most effectively to inform program decisions? Participants experienced various high-quality collections of data and evidence in the field of education in crisis and conflict, such as:

  • IRC’s Outcome and Evidence Framework – this database provides evidence for interventions that work or don’t work to achieve program outcomes, and includes guidance on how to measure progress.
  • ECCN Evidence gap maps relating to internal and external threats to safety in learning environments – these interactive charts are intended to provide an alternative way of exploring evidence-based literature around safer learning environments beyond typical internet or database searches.
  • 3ie –  a searchable collection of evidence on the impact of programs related to Education

Facilitators introduced prominent literature reviews, such as:

  • Dana Burde’s What Works in Education in Emergencies – a rigorous review of evidence found in the literature that shows which interventions promote educational access, quality of learning, and wellbeing among children who live in crisis-affected areas and those in settings where a crisis has just ended.
  • Reaching the Underserved: Complementary Models of Effective Schooling – a review of nine case studies which demonstrate that complementary education programs can provide a unique and critical role in addressing Education for All (EFA) goals, particularly for disadvantaged and underserved populations.

The slide presentation is here if you would like to see for yourself.

Participants worked in groups to unpack theories of change of an existing USAID project, using guidance from ECCN’s Ash Hartwell. His presentation is here.

Day 3 – Feedback Loops and ICT for M&E

On the third day, participants looked more closely at feedback and monitoring systems; they worked together in groups to come up with effective feedback loops for a real project in El Salvador. They considered the challenge of injecting resources (e.g technology, even when used just to collect data) in the crisis/conflict context. Two interesting and important resources related to this challenge are:

  • Technology for Evaluation in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States – this paper provides a five-step sequence of questions to ask when using technology in evaluation programs. The information is relevant to monitoring as well.
  • ICTs for Monitoring and Evaluation of Peacebuilding Programmes – this document discusses the breadth and depth of new technologies that are currently available, or could potentially be available, to monitor and evaluate results of peacebuilding programs.

The course will undergo revision and run again— please stay tuned for times and dates in 2018. ECCN is also developing courses that are open to all members of this community of practice. Updates and information will be shared as it becomes available via the ECCN monthly newsletter. We hope to work with you sometime soon.


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