CALL FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST for Global Learning Partners to support Education Out Loud

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An information session about this Call will be conducted online on Wednesday 28 February 2024, at 2:30-3:30 PM (GMT+1). At this session you will hear more details about the Call and you will be able to ask questions. Zoom link:  https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81696966543?pwd=RwrODRaNZVFL9cDqRPy1XP6gsHdkS…;

Education Out Loud (EOL) is seeking to identify and select 4-6 qualified and engaged Global Learning Partners to support learning and capacity strengthening among civil society organisations and to build knowledge and evidence in support of strategic planning and programme implementation as well as to inform the broader education community with relevant research and lessons learned.   

Education Out Loud (EOL) supports civil society in more than 60 countries to take part in shaping education policy and implementation so that the needs of communities are recognised and the right to quality education for all is met as laid out in Sustainable Development Goal 4. EOL is funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and serves as GPE’s fund for advocacy and social accountability. The EOL grant is managed by Oxfam Denmark with the help of a global grant management unit and four regional management units.

Objectives of Education Out Loud

The goal of Education Out Loud is to:

Contribute to promotion of inclusive, gender responsive and equitable national education policies and systems through enhanced civil society capacities and participation in social accountability and policy advocacy processes.

This is achieved through three EOL objectives:

  1. Strengthening of national civil society engagement in inclusive and gender responsive education planning, policy development, implementation, and monitoring.

  2. Strengthening of civil society roles in promoting the transparency and accountability of national education sector policy and implementation; and

  3. Creation of an enabling transnational environment for civil society policy advocacy and transparency efforts in education.

These objectives are operationalized under three Operational Components with separate funding windows under which 80 civil society organisations and alliances in 60 countries are supported with EOL grants in the ongoing grant period (2024-2027). See more details about the EOL programme on the EOL website.

Learning in EOL

Learning is a core element in EOL’s implementation strategy and across its three Operational Components. Firstly, EOL supports learning efforts to inform and improve the practice of EOL grantees and related civil society organsations to enhance their effectiveness and strategic impact on education policies, their implementation and social accountability throughout the education sector. Secondly, the focus on learning is also to inform and influence the practices of the wider stakeholder group around education advocacy and accountability, including the GPE secretariat/partners, international and national NGOs such as Oxfam, ministries of education and other decisionmakers at national and regional levels in relation to civil society participation in education policy processes.

EOL’s strategic approach and operational steps to facilitate learning across the programme portfolio and the EOL management architecture are described in detail in the EOL Learning Framework (2023). The Framework (summarized in the brochure Learning in Education Out Loud) is operationalised through interlinked learning plans at different levels. Among those learning plans, the Global Learning Plan outlines strategic learning efforts at the global level to contribute to capacity strengthening of EOL grantees as well as strengthened knowledge and research relevant to the wider education stakeholder group.

The Global Learning Plan 2024-2027 complements four regional learning plans that are developed in response to EOL grantees’ capacity and knowledge needs in each region. The Global Learning Plan offers an additional layer of strategic efforts to respond to EOL grantees' joint learning needs across the whole EOL portfolio and to identify research themes that when explored can strengthen knowledge and practices across EOL and beyond to the wider education community.

Following considerations of key learning processes in EOL so far and assessment of relevance and impact of learning activities up till now, the Global Learning Plan 2024-2027 identifies six global learning priorities that will be explored by EOL in the coming years. These priorities are divided into two sets of (1) cross-cutting thematic and strategic issues, and (2) issues relating to the capacity and organizational development of civil society organisations.

A. Exploring strategic, cross-cutting issues 

  • Gender equality

EOL is strengthening its commitment to gender equality through the promotion of gender transformative interventions and approaches in its programming, including identification of realistic, attributable, and measurable achievements relating to gender equality. EOL aims to make the principle of gender equality “operationable” and accessible for grantees’ uptake and integration into their advocacy work and into their organizational practices and structures, and thereby build a body of evidence on how civil society advocacy can lead to gender transformative education, and to share tools and approaches on how it can be done.

  • Social inclusion

Many children continue to be excluded from quality education because of issues of poor learning outcomes, poverty, their status as refugees, migrants, or internally displaced, or if they are living with disabilities. In school, children may experience discrimination, an unsafe school environment, or teachers not trained to meet special needs, and likely further exacerbated for children belonging to marginalized groups due to their religious, ethnic, LGBTQIA+, or other minority identification. To prevent and fight discrimination and inequality in education, voices of marginalized groups must be represented in education advocacy, and their special needs integrated in education policies. Transformative education equalizes access to opportunities if the right inclusive education systems and policies are in place and implemented. EOL wishes to explore further how to realise inclusivity at the decision making and policy development level and to share valuable lessons learned with a wider audience.

For these first two priorities the forthcoming EOL Policy guidance note on inclusion and gender unpacks challenges and opportunities in more detail, and follow-up. Implementation of this guidance across the EOL portfolio will be high on the agenda in the next steps of EOL implementation at all levels.  

  • Fragile and conflict-affected contexts

It is estimated that more than a third of EOL-supported grantees operate in contexts severely affected by sudden or persistent crisis and conflicts with changing or weak government institutions and with seriously hampered or non-existing space for civil society to push for change. Communities living in such contexts are often further marginalised and at risk of being left behind, including their children of school-going age. EOL prioritizes efforts in these contexts in support of the most marginalized and excluded communities and groups. Operating and creating results under such circumstances require special skills, risk and adaptive management tools, and careful considerations of changing contexts. EOL wishes to ensure that its support to grantees operating under challenging circumstances is appropriately responding to their needs in order to strengthen them to be resilient, agile, and strategic civil society actors.  

A forthcoming EOL Policy guidance on advocacy in fragile and conflict-affected areas will contribute to shaping EOL’s approach to this area.     

B. Strengthening capacity and organizational development

  • Advocacy and social accountability

Grantees’ strengthened advocacy skills and practices are central to the EOL programme so that civil society actors are able to influence education policies and hold duty-bearers accountable. Much of the capacity and learning support to grantees is facilitated by EOL’s regional management units and by regional learning partners. To ensure that the learning tools and approaches applied remain relevant, effective and impactful for the grantees, EOL will continue to analyse its learning streams and identify, document, and share best practices and feed them back into programme implementation and general civil society strengthening. 

  • Adaptive management

Adaptive management forms an important part of EOL’s approach to learning, organizational development, and programme implementation. It encourages a reflective process of learning from implementation - successes and failures and a strategic and adaptive approach to organizational processes and project management with the goal of increasing effectiveness and impact of programmes. EOL wishes to explore further how best to support civil society organisations in becoming more strategic, change-responsive, agile and adaptive, and to develop training and tools to promote such an approach within EOL and in learning efforts with grantees.   

  • Sustainability (organisational, financial and programmatic)

The extension of the EOL programme in 2023 reiterated a focus on sustainability with the critical assumption that strong civil society and improvements in education policies and systems will remain after the EOL implementation period. Also, improved skills and knowledge of civil society organisations are meant to enable them to continue advocacy and policy influencing beyond the timeline of EOL. The EOL Extension Proposal lays out three types of sustainability – organisational, financial, and programmatic. How to support such a process in the remaining period of the EOL programme is a task to be explored with the grantees and with learning partners.

 

Global Learning Partners in EOL

Regional and Global Learning Partners play an important role in operationalising EOL’s Learning Framework, including the Global Learning Plan. Four Global Learning Partners have since 2022 carried out strategic learning projects to support the realization of EOL learning objectives at the global level, focusing on distilling learning from observation and analysis of grantees’ advocacy practices and contexts, and supporting grantees in reflecting on and strengthening their way of working. The four current Global Learning Partners are: Accountability Research Center (ARC), Institute of Development Studies (IDS), International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO), and MDF Training & Consultancy (MDF) & Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) (MDF and ACER as a consortium).

In addition, 52 pre-qualified Regional Learning Partners are currently rostered by EOL to provide learning services at the regional level, with a focus on capacity strengthening of grantees. The Global Learning Partners’ efforts complement the learning initiatives of the Regional Learning Partners but focus on priorities and thematic areas beyond regional specificities and engage in longer-term research and learning processes that may also resonate among others than immediate EOL actors.

EOL’s experience with the first group of Global Learning Partners has shown the usefulness of partnering with different kinds of learning facilitators that each bring their strengths and methodologies to the table. The collaboration with Global Learning Partners, with their analytical expertise and applied research skills, has contributed to a deeper understanding – for grantees and for EOL - of the contexts within which EOL’s work unfolds. It has also supported the development of strategies for civil society’s advocacy and impact, and provided direct learning, tools, and skills facilitation for grantees who can now better position themselves and have influence in complex education decision-making spaces.

EOL is now seeking to engage a new group of Global Learning Partners to start their work in August 2024, following the completion of the projects of the four current Global Learning Partners.

 

The Call for Expression of Interest

Oxfam Denmark invites applications from expert organisations, centers of excellence, and institutions (academic/research centers, NGOs, INGOs, think tanks, training centers, consultancy firms) to support EOL in generating knowledge and evidence-based learnings from ongoing programme implementation and civil society work across the three operational components to be used by EOL grantees, EOL staff and the wider education community.

This will be done through the following means:  

  • Conducting of research within the areas of the above-mentioned six learning priorities followed by production of research reports, policy and guidance notes, and other research outputs,

  • Analysis of grantees’ data and reporting to aggregate and distil learnings and identify best practices and gaps to be fed back into EOL programme implementation,

  • Building and facilitation of shared learning spaces and processes in collaboration with grantees, EOL staff, and Regional Learning Partners through the creation of learning platforms, convening of webinars and online discussions, and through use of other appropriate methodologies, and

  • Production of learning outputs relating to the six global learning priorities (publications, articles, digital content, films, online learning elements, and more) to be made available for EOL grantees and a wider audience of education actors and decision-makers.

Applicants will be required to outline and explain their chosen approach in the application template (see below).

Criteria, qualifications and competencies of Global Learning Partners

  • Strong experience with and knowledge of education systems, and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4,

  • Strong experience of working with CSOs, including alliances, membership-based coalitions, and community-based civil society actors, within the fields of advocacy and social accountability,

  • Demonstrated expertise through analysis and research in one and preferably more of the six global learning priority areas of EOL,

  • Capacity to work with rights-based and gender responsive approaches to civil society participation and education advocacy,

  • Capacity to facilitate organisational development and action learning in a civil society context, and facilitate collaboration between diverse groups of civil society members, academics, and policymakers,

  • Experience in identifying and assessing lessons learned and applying strategic learning approaches, and translating into outputs for the uptake of a wide group of stakeholders,

  • Diversity of staff and resource people and of their areas of expertise,

  • Presentation of a strong grounding and experience of work in the global South,

  • Demonstrated experience in the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to facilitate learning activities, and in communicating research results and analysis to a diverse audience of practitioners and decision-makers, and

  • Capacity to work in the relevant contexts of the EOL portfolio and main languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic are languages in use across the EOL network).

Please note: Organisations and institutions receiving funds from Education Out Loud under any of the Operational Components (OC1, OC2, and OC3) are not eligible to apply under this call. This includes alliance members of OC2 and OC3 grant recipients.

EOL welcomes applications from coalitions/ consortiums of organisations and institutions.

Apart from the above criteria, Global Learning Partners will be selected to achieve a balanced pool of expertise. 

Submission details and process

Please use the application template to submit your Expression of Interest to become a Global Learning Partner. Applications must be written in English in the template and sent by email to glp.call@oxfam.dk. Please indicate ‘Application for Global Learning Partner’ in the subject line of the email and add the application as an attachment. The use of the template is mandatory.

The period for the implementation of the learning initiatives of the next Global Learning Partners is from August 2024 till July 2026 (24 months). Allocations for each Global Learning Partner will be up to USD 400,000 for 24 months.

Applications should be submitted to EOL no later than 19 March 2024.

An information session about this Call will be conducted online on Wednesday 28 February 2024, at 2.30-3.30 PM (GMT+1). At this session you will hear more details about the Call and you will be able to ask questions. Zoom link:  https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81696966543?pwd=RwrODRaNZVFL9cDqRPy1XP6gsHdkS…;

Received applications will be assessed by a Global Independent Selection Panel. Shortlisted applicants will be contacted on 19 April 2024 at the latest and invited to submit a more detailed proposal and work plan by end of May 2024. Final selection, agreement on work plans, and contracting will take place in June 2024. The expected start date for the new group of Global Learning Partners is 1 August 2024.