Fostering Culture of Learning Exchange through Sub-regional Event

Main image
Group Photo after the last session
Makara, NEP Cambodia
Group Photo after the last session

Six National Education Coalitions (NECs) from East and South Asia share knowledge on education advocacy and collaboration.  

Collaboration and knowledge-sharing play pivotal roles in the dynamic landscape of education advocacy. This October, Education Out Loud Asia Pacific Regional Management Unit orchestrated a three-day sub-regional learning event in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The event brought together six National Education Coalitions (NECs) from East and South Asia. 

The learning event was organized to provide a platform for the grantees to share and learn from each other's project progress, experiences, opportunities, and challenges, so that areas of cooperation and collaboration could be explored together. Moreover, the workshop fostered a learning culture among the participating coalitions, including building learning collaboratives, and sharing learning across sub-regions.  

Concluded by a colorful social event organized by NEP Cambodia along the mighty river, Mekong, the learning event left participants with a deeply ingrained sense of solidarity, commitment, trust, engagement and strong willpower for inclusive policy advocacy and dialogue through transnational efforts and synergy creation at the sub-regional level.  


Workshop Highlights: Sharing Project Progress and Lessons Learned 

The workshop kickstarted with the sharing of project progress and lessons learned by the participating NECs.  

Afghanistan National Education Coalition Organization (ANECO), Afghanistan  

ANECO Afghanistan attended virtually and was the first to shed light on their project execution, accomplishments, challenges, and lessons learned. ANECO in Afghanistan operates effectively within the challenging context of the country, boasting a robust network of over 110 member CSOs across the nation. Actively participating in policy engagements, ANECO strives for positive change in Afghanistan through various campaigns, activisms, and research initiatives. Notably, they expressed interest in learning from experiences with provincial governments and leveraging insights from the OC3 grantee on Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA).  

Civil Society Education Partnership (CSEP), Timor Leste  

Meanwhile, CSEP in Timor Leste focuses on inclusive education and youth research, identifying potential opportunities for upscaling in the sub-region.  

NGO Education Partnership (NEP), Cambodia  

NEP Cambodia shared insights on CSO mapping, multilingual education for children in different provinces, and the finalization of LEG reports. Recommendations were made on learning on how NEP can put the policy bank on effective use and its sustainability plan and seek more inputs on disability inclusion and e-learning from ENET.  

Network for Education Watch (NEW) Indonesia  

NEW Indonesia highlighted its impactful advocacy against the privatization and commercialization of education, emphasizing the rejection of such policies. However, they expressed the need for broader education agenda coverage and expressed interest in learning from NEP and other NECs on private-public partnership education.  

Civil Society Network for Education Reforms, Inc (E-Net), Philippines 

ENET in the Philippines plays a crucial role in the institutional landscape of mobilizing lawmakers for policy advocacy and engagement, offering support to other NECs in the region, particularly in online learning platforms and alternative learning models.  

Vietnam Association for Education for All (VAEFA), Vietnam  

Lastly, VAEFA in Vietnam is actively engaged in disability sector planning and policy advocacy, offering support to NEP and other NECs in upscaling models for promoting inclusive education. 


The Blended Approach: Virtual Facilitation by Regional Education Advisor and Regional Finance Manager 

The workshop was innovative in the sense that a blended approach was adopted for learning sharing. RMU colleagues were present virtually at different instances further deepening the impact of the event through their insights on learning, synergy, and financial management.  

Regional Education Advisor for EOL delivered a presentation virtually on promoting learning cultures, EOL learning frameworks and learning collaboratives, which garnered great interest from the participants. During the reflection exercises, they shared that the input was valuable to improve the learning culture within the Coalition in general and as part of the EOL implementation. The discussion on adaptive management focused on how it can be used as a tool for planning and incorporating learning to ensure effective project implementation. There was also an opportunity to revisit a section of the report and reflect on how it can be made more explicit, concise, and focused, especially when coalitions are writing reports and documenting lessons learned.  

The presentation by the Regional Finance Manager focused on finance and compliance, including anti-corruption, conflict of interest, audit, and other compliance, which was well received by the participants. The Regional MEL Advisor clarified “Results” and logic model with some examples of results-based report writing and proposal revision tips. In about a few hours he went through LFA approach, outcome-harvesting tools, current issues in reporting and proposal revision.  


Event Reflection and Participants’ Feedback 

The coordinator of VAEFA Vietnam made a comment that the event of this kind is akin to the function of a Learning Collaborative at sub-regional level. The physical meeting at this scale and magnitude can eventually foster relationships and inculcate a sense of belongingness and avoid misunderstanding by and large.  

She added, “The past virtual sessions were not as effective as this event in transforming learning as most of them were lengthy and time-consuming processes”.  

Similar comment was made by Director of NEP Cambodia saying,

“This was an unprecedented opportunity for NEP Cambodia to host this learning event which brought colleagues together from the ASEAN countries and helped us exchange innovative ideas and experiences on multiple sectors. We can learn many things from other country such as ENET Philippines can share experiences on e-library and help NEP build its policy bank”.