Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Mark Garten.
The Inter-Agency Network of Education in Emergencies (INEE) Secretariat invited the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) to coordinate a global consultation with the business community on education in emergencies. Companies provided feedback on a paper examining the possibility of a fund for education in emergencies drafted by the Overseas Development Institute. Below is an excerpt from the survey explaining the background as well as the summary of responses.
Education in emergencies is gaining prominence in discussions and events on the post-2015 development agenda. Education was identified as a key area in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and will be also be featured in the COP 21 Climate Conference. In coming months, the World Education Forum in Korea in May will provide input to the third International Conference on Financing for Development in Ethiopia in July as well as the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in September. There will be forums, such as the Oslo Summit on Education for Development, which will focus on education specifically, and others, such as the World Humanitarian Summit, where education in emergencies will be discussed in the larger context of humanitarian response. The Oslo Summit will explore deliverables in four areas, including education in emergencies. In particular, the Oslo Summit aims to ensure increased and targeted humanitarian and post-crisis support for education, with a particular focus on marginalized groups.
In advance of the Oslo Summit, the Government of Norway has commissioned a background paper on education in emergencies from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Using existing evidence and through new analysis, the ODI paper will explore challenges and gaps; the current architecture, including humanitarian and development approaches; and potential solutions to address gaps, including a possible global platform and fund for education in emergencies.
The ODI paper — Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises: Toward a strengthened response (DRAFT May 2015) — will be drafted in two stages to allow for consultation and input: a draft of the paper will be made available to INEE members and all interested parties and used as the basis for a virtual global consultation via the INEE website from May 14-26. At the same time, there will be a series of face-to-face consultations organized by partners around key questions identified in the ODI paper. Partner events will target a wide range of groups, and consultations are already planned for the World Education Forum and elsewhere.
What challenge, or aspect thereof, needs the most attention by high level political actors at the Oslo Summit and beyond?
The most critical challenges include:
- A lack of funding: Of the $22.2 billion in humanitarian aid in 2014, only 1% went to education. We need to simplify where business can contribute and know they are having an impact.
The time to act is now. More than half of the 58 million out-of-school children live in emergencies or protracted crises and are denied their right to education.
The business community joins the call for a financing mechanism for education in emergencies.
- A lack of a global financing framework: To establish a financing mechanism, the business community seeks a financing framework which (1) maps how businesses can engage in the mechanism and (2) accounts for the business case to engage in education in emergencies in order to accelerate participation of companies of diverse sizes, industries and regions of operation.
A financing mechanism should address the following needs:
- Serving the most marginalized (especially girls and refugees): The paper should expand the education needs of specific marginalized communities and explain why they would be out of school in times of emergency or protracted crises. For girls, for example, it could be limited access to sanitation facilities, cultural discrimination or forced labor.
- Proactive planning and preparation: Ahead of an emergency, countries need to prepare to deliver education services in times of emergency or protracted crises. Plans should account for tested interventions with measurable impact, availability of technology, other modalities of schooling (when formal schooling is not practical), and access to existing learning data in order to continue monitoring learning outcomes.
- Developing life skills and supporting psychosocial needs: Depending on the phase of a crisis (per section 2.1.3), investments in education should support the development of life skills to help children and youth cope with a crisis. Equally important is addressing psychosocial needs, preventing children and youth from succumbing to violence, depression and crime.
What are the top 2-3 issues in terms of response architecture that should be addressed in order to better ensure quality education is available to all children and youth in crises?
●Simplifying existing architecture: The current architecture is bureaucratic, opaque and uncoordinated. In addition, while the current architecture may appeal to a company’s philanthropic interests, it does not necessarily appeal to a longer-term business and investment strategy. A financing mechanism should be able to accept financial contributions from business and also invest in innovations that may deliver quality education at scale more cost-effectively. The fund should support a range of financing vehicles and have the flexibility of delivering funds at a short notice at every phase of a crisis (per section 2.1.3) without bureaucratic delay.
●Sustainability of investments: Investments in education in times of emergency and protracted crises should be cost-effective, sustainable and sensitive to context. Investments should leave behind improved educational infrastructure and better trained teachers and school leaders that drive measurable learning outcomes in the long-term. A financing mechanism needs to bridge the divide between humanitarian and development funds.
●Supporting local actors: The response architecture must rely on the buy-in and input of local actors. Community and local-buy-in is critical to determine a sustainable investment and deploy financing in a responsible manner. Local actors should be identified ahead of time and be given adequate resources to act in time for an emergency or protracted crises.
Would a set of principles agreed at a high political level make a difference? How could they be used to hold governments, UN agencies and other partners to account?
A set of principles agreed at a high political level could make a difference. The right to education must be respected and supported during an emergency or protracted crises. Education is critical to developing a future workforce and the stability of a company’s operating environment.Principles should emphasize the importance of local context, proactive planning, transparent decision-making, efficiency of financial disbursements, local buy-in, improved coordination amongst funders and stakeholders, measurable learning outcomes, available data and baseline metrics, and accountability. It is also critical that the principles emphasize the role of teachers and school leaders in sustaining an education system in times of emergency or protracted crises.
What will it take to guarantee that additional funds are in place to support education and crisis? Is a global fund or financing mechanism for education and crises a good idea? If so, how should it be organized and used?
a) In what types of crises
b) Over what kind of timeframe
c) Who leads request (organization, coordination group, etc.)
d) Who is eligible to receive funds
e) Who should be involved in (i) in-country and (ii) global governance
f) How would a fund interact with existing architecture?
g) Other suggestion
A global fund or financing mechanism for education in emergencies is necessary, timely and urgent.
Any solution for education in emergencies or platform would need to include a dedicated fund for education in humanitarian crises that business could contribute. Disbursements would need to be able to report transparently about the direct results of the investments.
The financing mechanism could potentially exist in two ways:(1) a pooled fund that companies can contribute to philanthropically (i.e. like energy companies with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria) or (2) an investment vehicle that both disseminates funds and actively invests in interventions with measurable impact for all phases of a crisis (per section 2.1.3).
The second option would be an effective way to mobilize financing from the business community as it would encompass a range of business cases. A pooled fund may only mobilize companies motivated by philanthropic interests and exclude companies who have developed interventions that rely on their core business or interest in expanding to new markets. For example, an energy company pursuing a philanthropic strategy may more likely contribute to a pooled fund, while a media company interested in exploring new markets may pursue a social investment strategy that builds relationships and brand awareness and not see as much value in a pooled fund. Examples of financing vehicles may include innovative capital market type structures, a post-crisis social impact bond, or a government based matched financing program. It is critical that the financing mechanism hold fund recipients accountable for a measurable impact. Accountability may already be built into a range of financing vehicles, like a post-crisis social impact bond.
Additionally, business should consider investment in education as part of its business continuity plans, using the financing mechanism as a vehicle to address workforce needs, improve customer loyalty and maintain long-term investment in the local community where it operates.
The financing mechanism should have the flexibility of ramping up during a protracted crisis at every phase of a crisis without bureaucratic delay. There should be emphasis on preparedness, especially developing a robust Education Management Information System (EMIS) in order to leverage data to better articulate baseline conditions, mapping local actors, teacher and school leader training and developing life skills. A financing mechanism should also facilitate rapid assessments of the state of an education system during an emergency or protracted crises that results in a multi-year strategy for the near-term, medium-term and long-term.
The structure of the financing mechanism will depend on how much needs to be raised, the profile or type of investors and how quickly funds need to be raised.
Governments should be leading the response with the input and support of local actors. Implementation should be flexible -not only in terms of interventions but also in terms of implementers. Implementation could be done by a wide range of actors -including the business community -and companies could also leverage GBC-Education to facilitate partnerships with the financing mechanism and funding recipients. Coordination between government, multilateral donors and local NGOs will be important to avoid duplication of efforts.
Potential investments that could accelerate business engagement include:
●A teacher taskforce: A nimble task force of high-quality teachers to overcome an education disruption during an emergency or protracted crises (similar to how medical and engineering staff are deployed). This small task force could assist national governments in developing an education response policy in the immediate aftermath of a crisis as well as base themselves in a Ministry of Education to work with education officials on planning, budgeting and resourcing for education response efforts.
●Access to real-time data: The business community requires access to accurate, reliable data to assess whether it can make a financial contribution or engage with the financing mechanism. Data would include availability of local assets on the ground (transport, school infrastructure, etc.), availability of technology, cultural sensitivities and known stigmas.
●Vetting potential partners and measuring impact: The financing mechanism should vet
recipients of funds, freeing the business community to simply contribute and not carry the burden of due diligence. Relieving corporate donors from the responsibility of vetting and tracking the specific usage of their funds can remove barriers to the business community leveraging a financing mechanism.
How might we better improve the functioning and capacity of current architecture, as described above, in other ways? What key changes could:
a) Link humanitarian and development coordination
b) Lead to better response in regional crises, in particular for refugees
c) Increase number of capable partners for delivery
d) Improve needs assessment
e) Advance recovery and transition planning and costing
f) Strengthen information management / monitoring and reporting
g) Further address the issues you raised in question 2 or 3 above?
The current architecture is bureaucratic, opaque and uncoordinated and does not clearly identify how the business community can engage. It also does not account for the diverse ways business can contribute to education, from philanthropy to leveraging the core business.
The following recommendations could potentially improve the functioning and capacity of the current architecture:
●Improve access and quality of data: Countries should proactively develop their Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) to record and store critical education data and learning outcomes. Availability and accessibility of the data can help sustain an education system in times of an emergency or protracted crises and improve coordination amongst current actors.
●Focus on preparedness: Current actors need to involve other stakeholders (including the business community) to better prepare countries for an emergency or protracted crises.This could include integrating disaster risk reduction strategies into a common framework, better align expected outcomes of existing financing mechanisms and share best practices. Current actors also need to demonstrate how education is a cross-cutting issue across multiple other priority areas, like health, sanitation, shelter, food and nutrition.
●Identify the role of business: It is unclear how the business community can currently engage in the current architecture and manage how their contributions are utilized and measured.
Feedback submitted to INEE can be viewed here.