Home | 2011 Workshop




USAID and Other USG Agencies: Sector Support and Coordination

The opening plenary discussed USAID’s involvement with other USG agencies, featuring speakers from the Department of State (DOS), National Security Council (NSC), Department of Defense (DOD) and Peace Corps. The session focused on innovative ways in which USG agencies can work together towards common goals in international education initiatives. The challenge to this cooperative relationship often stems from the fact that many USG agencies work in parallel, with little opportunity to build partnerships across sectors and regions. For example, there is a campaign to develop more funding at the NSC for global education and foreign assistance; some of the key issues being looked at by President Obama include at-risk youth, education in transitioning and post-conflict states, and innovations in science and technology. The DOD also has various offices working on education sector initiatives, but any education projects implemented by the DOD are required by policy directives to coordinate with USAID. Peace Corps has a strong partnership with USAID as well; their philosophy is that youth are assets to be developed, and education programs sponsored by Peace Corps have focused on integrating youth into decision making.

Department of State representatives also spoke about the close linkages between State and USAID programs. For example, the PEPFAR program has partnered with USAID to support education initiatives in spreading knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Additionally, the Foreign Assistance office at the State Department develops and integrates foreign assistance budgets for the Secretary of State. Currently, just under $1.2 billion is appropriated to programs in basic and higher education. FACTS is the indicator-reporting system supported by F, and FACTS Info is an internet-based system to produce data reports. Missions worldwide will gain access to FACTS Info soon, so that they may see budget information and access timely indicator data.

For the full session summary, please click here: USAID and other USG agencies: Sector Support and Coordination Summary


School Management Effectiveness

Education effectiveness studies indicate that school management influence performance. This session brought together a number of distinguished presenters to discuss tools that are being used to assess school management. Data were presented from the application of these tools, and the implications of the findings were discussed. This was enriched by the presentation of country case studies of management improvement projects in Jamaica and Macedonia. These initiatives illustrate that there are tools being used to assess and improve school management, feeding crucial data that can inform decision making and improvement plans at the school level. While the tools presented would need to be adapted in order to be used in other country contexts, it is important to make sure that these types of tools are used to help teachers and schools improve their decision-making abilities.

For the full session summary, please click here: School Management Effectiveness Summary

Public-Private Partnerships in Basic Education

Public-private partnerships in basic education take advantage of synergies among the interests of different actors, but after that common fact, they differ greatly. The simplest models involve straightforward donations from a business to a school; more complex activities include multiple actors and longer-term relationships and more comprehensive support. Missions can reach out to different resources at their disposal – the GDA office in Washington and also regional actors – to learn about and enact types of partnerships that best match their country context. The process involves significant negotiation and attention to donors’ motivations and interests, to ensure that these stakeholders’ needs are also met. Networking and pairing up these synergies is more often than not serendipitous – ideas or needs come across the desk of an Education Officer and s/he starts looking for ways to meet that need or take advantage of that idea. Missions can also plan and encourage partnerships based on particular identified needs, drawing in partners whose resources and interests correspond. The public and private sectors have some difficulties to overcome in order to work together – such as some mutual distrust – but awareness and education of how PPPs can make a difference is in order. Success stories like Nicaragua’s and Uganda’s, presented in this session, provide some examples to share.

For the full session summary, please click here: Public Private Partnerships in Education Summary

Higher Education as an Asset to Other Sectors and Vice Versa

This session focused on the role that higher education institutions play in the educational spectrum, and how strengthening universities can benefit overall development goals. For USAID and other implementers, higher education institutions are often seen as impartial and as having community support and resources at the local level that can be invaluable to program implementers. Universities also provide valuable technical support for USAID/Washington and the field. Both in-country institutions and those in the United States view participation in development projects as something prestigious and an asset to their capacity and qualifications. This has been especially true for smaller higher education institutions, who have been fierce competitors of the larger, more established institutions. Higher education institutions provide a space to test programs and their applicability before being implemented on a larger scale. Especially the smaller institutions can do small scale implementation with a smaller amount of funding that can provide valuable context for later, larger applications. Finally, higher education in-country institutions provide a wealth of contacts, context and local know-how that is essential for partnerships with U.S. institutions and implementers.

For the full session summary, please click here: Higher Education as an Asset to Other Sectors and Vice Versa Summary

Engaging Youth Globally Through the Internet

This session focused on harnessing the global power of the internet to bring together youth from around the world in leadership roles. The propensity of youth-to-youth and youth-to-mentor dialogue to enhance development, communication, and action translates into a widely untapped resource for international development goals. Representatives from Mercy Corps described the Global Citizen Corps (GCC), a program that brings together youth from around the world to dispel conflict, promote empathy, prepare a global workforce, and foster positive psychosocial development among youth. Thomas Johnson discussed the Palestinian Youth Portal, a forum through which Palestinian youth leaders are able to access educational, news, ESL, and other information, as well as directories of educational institutions and other youth groups in their area to develop activities. Ed Gragert of iEarn described the organization’s YouthCan programs, which provide tools and human networks to young people so that they can engage in collaborative online projects, develop professional skills and promote the use of ICTs in the classroom, and work on various MDGs like health, hunger, and human rights. Presenters emphasized that building local capacity is critical, and that such endeavors need to be as local as possible.

For the full session summary, please click here: Engaging Youth Globally through the Internet Summary


Numer@cy and Liter@cy: Using Technology for Basic Education

This session discussed the challenge of preparing a digitally-fluent generation of learners through the use of multimedia platforms. Presenters focused on the need for a crisp definition of learning expectations and targets to ensure that a given project has a shared vision; the necessity of using available tools and assessing local need; and accessing virtual (human) networks to interact with professionals (e.g., special interest groups). Presenter Lucy Kithome (USAID/Kenya) described the Takafari Project, which provides training and resources related to ICT to teachers and students. Charlotte Cole discussed how Sesame Street has implemented multimedia learning projects around the wide, utilizing local methods, culture, and references, while Don Knezek of ISTE described the overarching challenge of developing internationally-appropriate technology-based programming that brings together related international organizations and stakeholders.

For the full session summary, please click here: Numer@cy and Liter@cy: Using Technology for Basic Education Summary

Leveraging Private Financing for Education

Private financing for education is a developing initiative to provide school and student loans for private schools. The focus of private financing is private education, which has often been a point of contention among international donors. However, in many countries throughout the world, large quantities of schools are private (in Haiti, for example, 75 percent of primary schools are private). Programs financed by USAID, the IFC and the Gray Ghost Venture were described in Ghana, Haiti and India. Program successes in private financing have led to loan initiatives for more students and expanded access to education, and schools and families are responsible and react with a high loan repayment rate. However, many challenges inhibit the growth of loan financing, especially if banks and loan credit bureaus are not developed in-country or are unwilling to share in the loan financing or risk-sharing.

For the full session summary, please click here: Leveraging Private Financing for Education Summary

Building Capacity for Teacher Training

During this session several case studies of capacity building for teacher training were covered. The first partnership presented was between University at Buffalo-SUNY and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. This partnership focused in teacher training for mathematics and pedagogy for 10-12 graders. Among the tools and strategies mentioned were the use of low-cost technology and the development of new materials that facilitate the visualization of the course content. The partnership between Virginia Tech and Domasi College in Malawi focused on the professionalization of primary teacher training after the government institutionalized universal primary education, skyrocketing school enrollment. Among the mechanisms to guarantee the quality of the teachers being trained was the creation of a framework of self-study that recognizes and empowers the skills of teacher educators. Post-graduate students were sent to Virginia Tech to complete their education and return to Malawi to disseminate good practices. The last partnership presented was between Utah University and universities—public and private—in Jordan. These partnerships focused on preparing undergraduates to teach in kindergarten. In order to bypass the disconnection between theory and practice, constant classroom observations were introduced in their education. Dynamic teaching was seen as the key to ensure student engagement and fostering student inquiry argued to be a teaching tool more effective then memorization. Across all the partnerships, it was stressed the need to introduce hands-on activities on teacher training curricula.

For the full session summary, please click here: Building Capacity for Teacher Training Summary

Youth, Conflict, and Extremism: Moving from Humanitarian Assistance to Sustainable Development

More than half of the countries with a youth bulge are in critical condition or in danger of failing, and 12 of the 15 countries with the largest bulges have been home to conflict. Three-quarters of the “youth bulge” countries at risk are in sub-Saharan Africa. Lila Stern from the International Rescue Committee described what is believed to be solidly known about youth and violence, Sylvia Ellison from Creative Associates discussed “Lessons Learned” from efforts to restore youth to rejoining civil society in post-conflict Liberia as productive members of society, and Keri Lowry described Africa Bureau efforts to identify drivers of violent extremism among youth and a range of possible programmatic approaches to prevent or mitigate these drivers. Among presenters and discussants, there seemed to be a consensus that it is necessary to help disaffected youth move from the margins to become resource providers who are given a sense of responsibility. However, it is necessary to address issues on a systemic basis, rather than simply an individualized one: experience has shown that comprehensive approaches are far more successful than are ones that address only particular pieces of a problem and that in addition to addressing immediate issues, it is vital to implement approaches that will address the issues for a permanent basis. It is important to keep in mind, also, that over-targeting some groups, such as ex-combatants, while leaving others neglected, can easily become counter-productive as can youth empowerment programs in inappropriate settings. While typologies as to the drivers of youth violence are being developed, as well as an indication of some approaches that can be effective, it is essential to ensure that in practice, issues and potential solutions are addressed on a case-by-case basis.

For the full session summary, please click here: Youth, Conflict, and Extremism: Moving from Humanitarian Assistance to Sustainable Development Summary

Monitoring and Evaluation for Workforce Development: Pakistan Case Study

Presenters gave an overview of the M&E process being developed for the Workforce Development project in Pakistan. Presenters made it clear that there is no standard M&E mechanism used for developing countries especially with fragile environments; therefore they were basing this process on practices and extensive experiences in standard use with M&E projects in the US, Canada, and Europe. The M&E is also not a stand-along project in Pakistan rather is closely interlinked with all the other USAID-supported Economic Growth projects including entrepreneurship, agri-energy, job creation, increased competitiveness and training to develop a monitoring and evaluation process for system-wide use. The Economic Growth portfolio is demand-driven by the private sector in Pakistan and the M&E process will be one component is this network for improved economic development.

For the full session summary, please click here: Monitoring and Evaluation for Workforce Development: Pakistan Case Study Summary

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