Evaluation of UNICEF's Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Programme (PBEA)
UNICEF's Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy (PBEA) is a programme that was developed to test and/or implement innovative education solutions to achieve peacebuilding results. Funded by the Government of the Netherlands (GoN) for a total of USD 150 million over a period of four and a half years (2012- 2016), the vision of the PBEA was to "strengthen resilience, social cohesion and human security in conflict-affected contexts" while its strategic result was to "strengthen policies and practices in education for peacebuilding." PBEA implementation targeted five outcomes areas:
- The inclusion of education into peacebuilding policies, and vice versa;
- Increasing institutional capacities to supply conflict sensitive and peace education;
- Increasing capacity of children, parents, teachers and duty bearers to cope, reduce, and prevent conflict and promote peace;
- Increasing access for children to quality, relevant, conflict-sensitive education that contributes to peace; and,
- Generating evidence and knowledge on linkages between education, conflict and peacebuilding, and evidence upon which programming practice can be based.
The evaluation began with a document review of all 14 PBEA implementing country offices and PBEA activities conducted by the Education Section and collaborating units at Headquarters and Regional Offices (RO). Working with UNICEF country staff and implementing partners through a "outcome harvesting" exercise, the evaluation identified changes that have occurred as a result of PBEA inputs, and articulated them as ‘results statements'. An iterative process was used to engage programme management and implementing partners to refine and validate the result statements. The third stage of data collection comprised field visits to three PBEA implementing country offices (Burundi, Pakistan and South Sudan), key informant interviews were conducted with UNICEF staff and partners in country offices, regional offices and the global level. In all 285 informants contributed documents and information to the evaluation.
- PBEA has, by and large, achieved substantial results in each of the five PBEA outcome areas and is following the most promising practices for peacebuilding programming. However, a number of important lessons were learned about programming choices that are required for UNICEF to increase the likelihood of achieving sustainable results in peacebuilding.
- PBEA has demonstrated that the choice of using a social service such as education for delivering peacebuilding results is the right one, even though some of the necessary building blocks are yet to be put in place.
- PBEA's emphasis on conflict analysis based programming was the right approach and leads to responsive context specific programmes that can contribute to peacebuilding.
- UNICEF is well-positioned to engage in peacebuilding work based on its mandate and institutional strengths. However, the organization needs to navigate sensitivities, identify entry points, focus resources on high risk environments to achieve scale and emphasise the primacy of context specific programming.
- Programme implementation partnerships, including new partners, have enabled UNICEF to increase its reach and access and deliver peacebuilding results. High level advocacy partnerships and management of implementing partners for better knowledge exchange across organizations are required.
- PBEA demonstrated that conflict-sensitive and/or peacebuilding programming that attempts to address drivers of conflict requires strong leadership support to enable cross-sectoral collaboration, and ultimately mainstreaming of peacebuilding solutions.
- PBEA programme management has developed well to support accountability and learning and to mobilize support of multiple sectors. Adjustments to allow more flexibility for country offices to focus on local needs and increased capacity for backstopping in regional offices improved performance. Dedicated programme staff with peacebuilding expertise significantly improve country office programme management.
- The PBEA resource allocation process was, by and large reasonable, transparent, and communicated clearly. However, utilization and management of funding was not as efficient as it should have been, mostly due to the fact that donor accountability and accountability for funding decisions was at the global level, while accountability for results was decentralized.