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Promoting access to quality, safe, and relevant education for all persons affected by crisis

EiE Global Consultation Final Report

Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises –
Towards a Strengthened Response


This page provides a summary of the final report on the INEE Global Consultation, Phase II (click to download the PDF). A PDF summary is also available in English, français, español, português, العربيه.

As part of broad, global efforts to strengthen the response to education in emergencies and protracted crises, INEE led a global consultation to facilitate dialogue and collect inputs from all over the world. This consultation focused on gathering reactions to questions posed on the conceptual framework, priority functions, and scale of the proposed “Common Platform” for education in emergencies and protracted crises, which was proposed in a paper by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Click to read the full background of this initiative.

Global Consultation Process

Between 19 January - 12 February 2016, more than 500 people participated in the INEE global consultation process; more than 315 people participated in in-person consultations and online discussion forums, and 192 individuals from 53 countries responded to the online survey. Face-to-face consultations were held in Canada, Lebanon, Mali, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Switzerland, Syria, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States, involving  representatives from UN agencies, education clusters, international and local NGOs, civil society organizations (CSOs), donors, government officials, private sector and business representatives, academics, teachers, students, and members from crisis affected countries.

Consolidated feedback was received from the Basic Education Coalition’s (BEC) Education in Crises Working Group, the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Ed), the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), the International Pediatric Association (IPA) and its Technical Advisory Group on Humanitarian Emergencies, the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) and the UN Secretary General's Global Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group (GEFI-YAG). In addition, organizational submissions were received from ActionAid International, the British Council, the Danish Education Network, Human Rights Watch’s Disability Rights Division, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Malala Fund, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam and Oxfam IBIS, Plan International, Save the Children, Theirworld, and War Child UK. Many of these submissions were based on extensive consultation with members working at local, national, and international levels. All individual, group consultation, and organizational submissions received during this consultation are available online.

Global Consultation Results

The vast majority of consultation respondents applaud the Technical Strategy Group’s efforts to address the significant gap in funding for protracted crises and welcomed the opportunity to provide input on the proposed platform. Overwhelmingly, respondents favor the establishment of a platform that will:

  • focus on the functions of inspiring political commitment and generating new and increased funding for education in emergencies and protracted crises; and
  • support the existing humanitarian architecture to more effectively carry out the functions of improving planning and response across the humanitarian-development continuum; building national and global capacity; and data collection and evaluation for learning and innovation.

As for the scale of a Common Platform and how efforts might be focused, the vast majority of consultation respondents prefer Option 3 – or a version of it – because it is the most comprehensive and ambitious of the options, with the potential to impact the greatest number of children and youth. A majority of respondents also prefer the focus on reaching the most marginalized children and youth within forgotten and underfunded crises across the humanitarian-development continuum, including protracted crises.

Many respondents expressed concern with the lack of clarity and tangible detail within the ODI paper about how a new “Common Platform” will work practically, and many indicated that this impeded their ability to provide in-depth responses. Linked to that was a general sense that the consultation window of January 19 - February 12 was too short and that civil society, especially in crisis-affected countries, needed to be more fully engaged moving forward.

There was near unanimous agreement that lack of detail within the ODI summary paper precludes robust recommendations. In particular, there is a strong call for greater clarity and transparency as to:

  • How the platform will avoid duplication of existing actors, mechanisms, processes, and roles that are vital to the success of the work, and instead link with, be complementary to, and strengthen them, such as the IASC Education Cluster (global and country level), HRP process and OCHA, the Global Partnership for Education, INEE, and UNHCR. It would be useful to have a matrix showing overlaps and complementarities.
  • How the platform will bridge the gap between humanitarian and development actions, helping to align and bring convergence across existing humanitarian and development mechanisms, organizations, and bodies. The same goes for processes: how the platform will link existing EiE modalities and project planning processes with longer-term plans and sustained funding mechanisms to strengthen existing structures, genuinely fill gaps in the EiE response, and bridge the humanitarian-development divide.
  • How the platform will generate new funding in the current fiscal environment and ensure additional financing. In particular, there is not enough operational detail to understand how proposed innovative financing models will function, the extent of political will behind their creation, and the extent to which these would leverage additional revenue, which has implications for the design and architecture of the platform. Another common question around funding was how funding will be made available.

Another concern highlighted by many submissions is that the paper does not make clear what role different actors can play and how they can interact with and contribute to the decision-making processes of the platform, from civil society to local and national NGOs, local education groups, country-level education clusters, local and national government, the business community, international NGOs, UN agencies, GPE, INEE, etc. This ties into a recommendation in the next section around the importance of including a strong focus on accountability and transparency in the guiding principles of the platform. Many respondents specifically requested building a clear mechanism for constituency engagement and participation, including people affected by emergencies.

Consensus on the Conceptual Framework (Question 1)  

Consultation Question 1. Do you have any specific changes to propose to the conceptual framework for the Common Platform?

The following suggestions were recommended across a majority of consultation submissions.  

Need defined and consistent terminology:

  • Age: ‘Children and youth’ should be used consistently and defined as 0-24 years.
  • Quality: Need to define and bring in line with SDG 4 (‘inclusive and equitable quality education’). The focus on equity and inclusion should be strengthened not only as guiding principles in the platform’s conceptual framework, but also in the operationalization and implementation of the Platform.
  • Learning and learning outcomes: Need to clarify how learning is defined, how we address the needs of different learners, and how this would be measured.

Moreover, respondents noted the need for a stronger emphasis on and deeper conceptualization of the following issues throughout the conceptual framework:

  • Rights
  • Community participation and accountability
  • Alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Sustainability
  • Resilience
  • Do No Harm, Protection, Risk Reduction and Conflict Sensitivity

Overall, participants recommend a clear statement within the conceptual framework that efforts to respond to educational needs in emergency and protracted crises will be linked to longer term strategies for improving and expanding education and sustainable development. While there is strong support for a focus on equity within education responses, many respondents noted that the identification of the most vulnerable should be contextualized, needs-based and should be defined at the implementation (“field”) level to avoid being prescriptive and maintain principle of context as starting point.

Short humanitarian funding cycles is a critical problem with the current architecture, and many respondents suggested the timeline of 1-5 years should be expanded so that interventions in acute crises can be planned along a longer time horizon. Regardless of the end date for platform support, there is strong support for an explicit reference to pro-active planning for handover of initiatives to national education authorities and partners at the end of the project period. The platform needs a clear strategy for working with national governments and partners to take responsibility for education and build the necessary capacity to provide quality education for the longer-term, including aligning with country plans and systems and strengthening the capacity of national and local staff.

Consensus on Priority Functions (Question 2)

Consultation Question 2. Five functions for a Common Platform have been proposed: 1) inspire political commitment; 2) generate new funding; 3) improve planning and response; 4) build national and global capacity; and 5) strengthen accountability and learning. Based on your experiences working in countries affected by crises, are there 1-2 clear priority functions that a common platform should address? If so, what are they and why? Are there any functions, or elements within the functions, that are missing from the list and that should be added? Do you have any concerns about any of these functions? If so, what are they and are there any potential solutions to overcome these concerns?

There is broad agreement across global consultation respondents that each of the five functions proposed for the common platform are important to realize its mission and purpose (see box of survey results below). However, in the detail provided through individual and organizational submissions, consultation submissions and comments to the survey, there is general consensus that the platform should have two tiers of functions:

  • Tier 1: Priority functions for which the platform will have direct responsibility: Inspire political commitment (function 1), generate new funding (function 2) and accountability for what is delivered (part of function 5).
  • Tier 2: Existing systems are place to carry out functions 3, 4, and 5 but are not always fully functional because of lack of political commitment and lack of funding. Hence again, the importance of the platform directly focusing on functions 1 and 2. Armed with greater political commitment and new funding, the platform can support and help to align the existing architecture through resources, funding and incentives to more effectively address the functions of improving planning and response across the humanitarian-development continuum (function 3), building national and global capacity (function 4), and generating evidence, learning and innovation (part of function 5).

Across both tiers, strong communication and coordination with existing mechanisms and agencies, such as the education cluster (at global and country level), GPE, INEE, and UNHCR, and across sectors is essential to avoid duplication and bridge the humanitarian-development divide. How this will be done needs to be transparently communicated.

The approach of the platform to bridge the humanitarian-development divide is unclear in the current ODI paper. A large majority of consultation respondents expressed the need for a common platform to actively and explicitly work to bridge the gap between humanitarian and development architecture and actors by coordinating with development funders, policy makers and practitioners as early as possible to ensure consistent services and programming. This work must be made explicit both in the conceptual framework and as a crosscutting issue across all functions of the platform.

Consensus on the Scale and Efforts of the Common Platform (Question 3)

Consultation Question 3. There are three proposed options as to the scale of the Common Platform and how efforts might be focused. Which of these three options do you prefer? What are the strengths of the option(s) you prefer? What are the gaps and/or modifications that you suggest? Please detail any concerns you have, as well as potential solutions to overcoming these concerns. Do you have any suggestions regarding sequencing and scale up between the options? Do you have an alternative suggestion of an option for the Common Platform in terms of scale and how the effort might be focused?

Many consultation respondents expressed frustration with the lack of clarity, definitions and information within the paper (i.e. how are “accountability,” “traditional reporting” and “performance-based allocation” defined?), which impeded some respondents from making decisions on the options. Many remarked upon the difficulty in assessing the three options without more clarity on the specifics of funding levels available, hosting, governance, and implementation mechanisms. Furthermore, some respondents noted that it would have been preferable to comment on levels of ambition with an overview of options (and pros and cons) as well as sequencing paths that could be done within each rather than have ambition linked to particular target groups and functions.

Despite these gaps and concerns, the vast majority of respondents preferred option 3 because it is the most comprehensive and ambitious of the options, with the potential to impact the greatest number of children and youth.

Apart from the scale, a majority of respondents also preferred the focus on reaching the most marginalized children and youth, which can include the target group from option 2 [refugees and IDPs] within forgotten and underfunded crises across the humanitarian-development continuum, including protracted crises. Indeed, the need to focus on oft-underfunded protracted crises was highlighted as a priority and a strong strength of this option, echoing the recommendations from the 2015 INEE consultation process. Looking beyond formal schooling to non-formal education is also highly desirable, especially in meeting the needs of youth. The creation of country level champion groups was commonly noted as a strength of this option, as is high quality assessments, the focus on support for continuity, expansion and skills of teacher workforce. Another strength is the fact that Option 3 provides direct funding to a diverse range of actors, including CSOs and governments with the aim of developing sustainable systems and building capacity. Moreover, respondents viewed the variety of funding sources and innovative financing mechanisms under Option 3 as a strength, as well as the fact that it includes results-based financing and is more inclusive in terms of the involvement of stakeholders.

A majority of consultation responses that did not cite option 3 as the preferred option recommended moving beyond option 3 to increase the level of ambition based on a right-based approached in order to realize the rights of all children and youth affected by crisis. Indeed, many respondents expressed concern that capping the ambition of the platform to 25% of eligible children will lead to the platform missing hidden crises with the resources channeled to only the most high profile incidents. There is also concern that if too weak of an option is picked the platform could reach so few that donors would deem it a failure, not allowing for the scale-up outlined in the paper.

A smaller but still significant number of respondents recommended using a scale-up option that begins with Option 2 and provides a time-bound schedule for moving up to Option 3, perhaps within 5 years. The strength of such an option was described as a “long-term vision that is realistic but will engage donors and politicians and succeed in quickly reaching a large group of underserved children in crises.” However, there were many concerns about option 2, including the limiting context (recovery) and target groups (refugee and IDP children but not host communities; this is an approach with the potential to promote inequities between these groups that can contribute to a raft of other problems). Moreover, many participants disliked the rigid and traditional funding mechanisms and lack of non-formal education opportunities in Option 2 and suggest that many of the ideas within Option 3 be explored for Option 2 on a different scale.

A draft report of the global consultation was shared with the ODI team immediately after the INEE global consultation so that the feedback, questions, and recommendations could influence a new version of the proposal on the platform. The Technical Strategy Group has also taken up several of the recommendations from the consultation process, such as having more civil society representation in the process.  

Read the full report of this global consultation in English; a summary is available in English, français, español, português, العربيه.