“[I]t is education and the delivery of education to children that is the beginning of hope in a situation of conflict.” Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy on Education (Education Cannot Wait event in New York, 23 September 2013)
At the country level, advocacy is a key area of work for Education Clusters. Securing space for an education response in humanitarian appeals, ensuring education is included during the first phases of needs assessments and response interventions, and safeguarding education facilities from misuse are all significant challenges faced at country level. Working together with national Education Clusters partners can address these concerns in a coordinated way and have a significant impact not only on their own programmatic effectiveness, but on the lives of those children and young people affected by crisis.
Advocacy Results – Country Examples
In Haiti, the Humanitarian Coordinator prioritized education after a Ministerial Statement highlighted the importance of including provision of schooling and rebuilding the educational system as part of the emergency response. Advocating with national authorities and working closely with the Ministry of Education whenever possible can lead to support for education in emergencies at the highest levels.
In the second round of Common Humanitarian Fund resource allocations in South Sudan in 2011, the Education Cluster received zero funds. As a result, the Education Cluster worked hard to advocate with Humanitarian Country Team members as well as build links with other clusters in order to strengthen the position of the Cluster when inter-cluster decisions on funding were to be made. In the next CHF round, the Education Cluster was awarded the $2,8 million that was requested, and extraordinarily awarded an additional $2 million to cover supply items that had not been included in the funding request. The Cluster was congratulated on its clear strategy and messaging. Year-on-year the Cluster has built upon this success (by Britman at dhead inc), and in 2013 launched the results of an Impact Study, which supports further advocacy on the importance of education in emergencies in South Sudan. For more information about this work, please visit the South Sudan Education Cluster website.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Education Cluster in the DRC was aware that Education was systematically one of the least funded clusters. At a high level meeting that involved leading government ministers, as well as key humanitarian donors and OCHA representatives, the cluster delivered a powerful message. The Cluster used a film by Graça Machel to make the case for education in emergencies, and referred to relevant UN resolutions and declarations. The presentation and effective arguments led to the Cluster receiving 8.6% of the total allocation, a gain of 2.3% from the previous round of funding.
* Country Advocacy – photograph credits: © Nesbitt / UNICEF
Advocacy Brief: Education – An Essential Component of a Humanitarian Response
Global Education Cluster – 2012
This brief document outlines the rationale for education in emergencies. It summarizes the scale of the gap in provision for conflict and disaster-affected communities, and highlights some of the key benefits that education can provide. The brief also summarizes the intersection between education and other traditional humanitarian sectors such as health and WASH, emphasizing the multiplier affect that education responses can have. It is a useful summary for Cluster Partners, and can be shared as is, or adapted to your context, and given to key advocacy targets.
This tool provides a very useful overview of how to approach advocacy initiatives at the country level. It provides step-by-step guidance on how to plan and carry out successful advocacy. There are tips on how to reach a range of target audiences, and examples of successful advocacy efforts from the field. It gives a useful overview on the specific area of advocating for funding, and highlights the key funding mechanisms that are most relevant to Education Clusters at field level. The Guidance Note ends by providing a useful list of further resources for those working on advocacy issues.
Click here to download the infographic pictured left, which provides a graphic representation of the impact of conflict and disaster on education, and the potentially positive impact education has on affected communities.
Protecting Education in Countries Affected by Conflict – Booklet 8 – Advocacy
Global Education Cluster – 2012
The Global Education Cluster, with the leadership of Save the Children and in partnership with Education Above All have produced a series of booklets providing guidance and resources for field practitioners on critical protection-related issues. Booklet 8 focuses on Advocacy, examining different types of advocacy initiatives and campaigns that can be conducted by local, national and international organisations in order to strengthen the law, policy and practice to prevent threats to and attacks on education facilities, teachers and children in conflict-affected countries.
Education Cluster Coordinator Handbook
Global Education Cluster – 2010
This Handbook is intended to provide Education Cluster Coordinators with information that guides them in facilitating a coordinated and effective response to education needs in emergencies. Section 8 of the Handbook is devoted to Advocacy and Resource Mobilization. The Handbook gives a definition of advocacy, summarizes the arguments and rationale for education in emergencies and examines the role Education Clusters and various cluster actors should play in advocacy work.
A Global Education Cluster video, title Education Cannot Wait is available in on our Media page. It summarizes the rationale for education in emergencies and showcases some examples of education in crisis contexts. This video (or a short section of it) could be used as part of a presentation or awareness session for advocacy targets.
You can find more videos that could be used as advocacy tools on our Multi Media webpage here.