Home | 2011 Workshop

Education and Crisis: Pakistan Case Study

August 17, 2009 – 1:30 p.m.

Presenters: Marion Pratt, USAID Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Bureau,
   Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance

Stacia George, USAID Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Bureau,
   Office of Transition Initiatives

Moderator: Grace Lang, USAID Afghanistan

This session discussed the relevance of education for both child and gender protection, and for democracy enhancement in emergency contexts, a wide rage or implementation models, and program previews. Challenges mentioned included sheltering of refugees in schools, preventing children from attending classes.

Marion Pratt shared the mission of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA): “to save lives and reduce suffering.” She emphasized the need for greater budgetary resources due to unforeseen disasters and the importance of having funding at the ready. The OFDA approach to education stresses the importance of psychosocial programs for the rehabilitation of child soldiers, among others, and the importance of training staff to deal with trauma in child populations.

Stacia George emphasized the unique approach of the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in responding quickly to U.S. foreign policy needs by helping priority countries to achieve quick stabilization. The OTI approach to education formulates rapid response to U.S. foreign policy interests by helping priority countries that are at risk or experiencing political instability. OTI acts in part based on political considerations. As a result, its activities are different in each country in which they operate, ranging from supporting peace in Uganda to supporting counter-insurgency in Colombia. The goal in Pakistan is to foster local government legitimacy in tribal areas.

Both presenters emphasized the short timeline for their activities – their programs are measured in weeks or months instead of years, as in many development projects. In the context of an emergency, it was noted, one is under “the tyranny of urgency.” Education activities that are provided in such environments included “School in a Box” – a materials kit serving 15 students for 6 months, and cross-sectoral opportunities like using Food for Work or Cash for Work to get underemployed locals to help rebuild schools.

Key take away points of the session included the idea that promoting education improves local communities’ perceptions of government capacity and utility. Education has a key role in stabilization in emergency contexts- educational components may be embedded in different initiatives, from protection to cross-sector partnerships. At the end of the session, participants noted the importance of building flexibility into a scope of work that is specific about the operational procedures and goal, but that gives space to modify components of the program, such as having a contingency plan in case the program needs to extend from one region to another.

To view the presentations, please click on link below:
Education and Crisis-Pakistan Case Study USAID OFDA : Open

For questions related to the 2009 Education Workshop,
please contact Rebekah Levi at rlevi@jbsinternational.com