After the Conflict Subsides
The Vital Role of Conflict Sensitive Education
In September, Laura Harrington, Chemonics International manager for West and Central Africa and Haiti, attended the Conflict Sensitive Education training in Washington, D.C. Harrington supports a program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that is improving access, quality, and governance in both formal and non-formal education. In 2017, conflicts erupted in Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental, where one-third of their target schools are located. While the conflict has subsided, its impact remains. “Given the context in which we work,” Harrington said, “the training was well aligned.”
The two-day training, presented by ECCN in partnership with FHI 360 and Save the Children, brought together 35 participants including donors, multilaterals, and implementing partners working in education in crisis and conflict. The training introduced practitioners and policymakers to INEE’s Conflict Sensitive Education (CSE) Pack and offered a discussion about the complex interplay between programs and conflict. Participants also learned when, how, and why to procure and implement a Rapid Education and Risk Analysis (RERA) as well as how findings from a RERA can improve programming.
Anna-Maria Tammi, the operations officer at Global Partnership for Education (GPE), also attended the training. She sought to gain a more nuanced understanding of the INEE guidance in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. “I was aware of the INEE minimum standards,” she said, “but not of the guiding principles on integrating conflict sensitivity in education policy and programming.”
Over the past two years, Tammi has supported education sector development in a number of GPE’s partner countries, including South Sudan and Somalia. Her work, like Harrington’s, aligns closely with the content of the training. “Having an understanding of the various sources of risk in fragile and conflict-affected contexts and the ways programs can influence conflict, a focus on the training is integral to my work.” Tammi said. “It helps me ensure that we are looking comprehensively at the risks to delivery and safeguard across our portfolio.”
Harrington liked that the training “covered all aspects of program implementation and did not rest on theory.” She added, “The facilitators and participants brought in their experiences to enrich the conversations and learning.”
Tammi agreed. “The trainers were very knowledgeable about the subject matter,” she said. She liked that the training was interactive, “with ample time for discussion.”
Both Harrington and Tammi felt the training provided them with insights that will assist them in future work. Tammi said, “Having a better understanding of the various conflict sensitive strategies for education programs will be really helpful.”
Harrington said the training gave her a “new lens through which to look at the work we are doing and how we are implementing.” She added, “I’ll come back to the reflection tool, the ECCN safe learning environments qualitative toolkit, and the monitoring and evaluation indicators that were discussed.”
More information about the Conflict Sensitive Education training, including slides and resources, is available here.