Assessing Conflict for Improved Education Programs
August 24, 2011 – 3:45 p.m.
||Yolande Miller-Grandvaux, USAID Office of Education
Cynthia Lerner, U.S. Department of State
Christina Ciak, USAID Office of Military Affairs
This discussion centered on the problems with planning and implementing education programs in conflict zones. Presenters suggested that it is often hard to identify the many actors, circumstances and relationships in such areas. This makes it difficult to plan for programs that address the problems of conflict in education in an effective and culturally sensitive way.
Yolande Miller-Grandvaux of the USAID Office of Education opened the session by stressing the importance of monitoring and evaluation to ensure program effectiveness. When it comes to education in conflict areas, there are not many assessment frameworks to consider. Miller-Grandvaux indicated there are two assessment tools, one developed by the U.S. Department of State and one by USAID’s Office of Military Affairs (OMA).
Cynthia Lerner of the U.S. Department of State introduced the first of these tools, the Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework (ICAF). The ICAF involves embassy staff going to the field to conduct interviews and “bring the words of the people” back with them. The ICAF seeks to understand sources of conflict and resiliency at the local, national and international levels, and stresses taking a systems approach to conflict and resilience that is more conflict-sensitive and less intrusive than that of some other models.
Christina Ciak of the Office of Military Affairs at USAID talked about the second tool, the District Stability Framework (DSF). The DSF seeks to delineate local populations and their environment, implement activities to address local concerns, and measure effectiveness in reducing and eliminating local concerns that could lead to conflict. This framework has been tested in Afghanistan, but since there was interest in applying it to other contexts as well, it has been piloted in Garissa, Kenya. The DSF can ultimately precede education programming by identifying sources of instability, encourage program officers/partners think about obstacles to implementing education programs in conflict areas, and help different organizations communicate with other stakeholders.
Key take away points were that the field of education in conflict will receive increased attention in the future and will need effective frameworks that identify sources of conflict and already-established resilience structures that can be incorporated into programming. While the frameworks presented are still evolving, they are a good first step. Monitoring and evaluation of education programs in conflict areas will be absolutely essential to identifying best practices and programming future activities.