Blog: How can civil society actors help implement GPE 2025? Examples from Kenya and Nepal

Ram Gaire, National Campaign for Education, Nepal and Joseph Wasikhongo, Elimu Yetu Coalition
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Students at Mwangala Primary School Photo Kelley Lynch 680x453
Photo: Kelley Lynch, GPE

Creating broad and active sector dialogue and aligning interests, resources and capabilities require civil society actors to find new ways of working in collaboration and new learning modalities.

The partnership dynamics at the national level need to be diversified and the internal coordination and dissemination mechanisms need to be strengthened. One way to these goals is by including system transformation in the advocacy agenda and securing broad and diverse voices at the core of the development, implementation and monitoring of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) strategic plan for partnership (GPE 2025).

The following examples show how civil society organizations (CSOs) are seeking to achieve those by taking part in the implementation of GPE 2025.

Country-led priorities for system transformation in Kenya

In Kenya, the National Education Coalition (Elimu Yetu Coalition) first learned of the implementation of GPE’s new operating model in Kenya through the Education Out Loud Regional Management Unit and the GPE board representative of CSOs.

The coalition was further involved in the process through their participation in Kenya’s local education group, Education Development Partners Coordinating Group (EDPCG), and through Elimu Yetu’s nomination to represent CSOs in the compact development.

The implementation of GPE 2025 emphasized the need for an all-inclusive development process and highly encouraged the participation of civil society. Since the beginning, it was made clear that the ministry was expected to lead the process, with the EDPCG providing support.

With the technical support of GPE and the Independent Technical Appraisal Panel (ITAP), the ministry and EDPCG identified the key priorities and enabling factors that, if addressed, would result in transformation of the education system.

After careful analysis of competing priorities, the country and EDPCG members decided to focus on improving learning outcomes by diving into the following enabling factors: improving quality teaching and early childhood development and addressing gender disparities in schooling, improving access to education and addressing matters of equity and inclusion.

The compact, including the country priorities, was unanimously endorsed by the EDPCG in which Elimu Yetu, the British High Commission, African Development Bank and UNICEF were proposed as signatories.

Taking inclusive sector dialogue to the grassroots level in Nepal

Children recieve snacks at school Nepal Photo Kelley Lynch 680x453

To support GPE 2025 in Nepal, a government-led working group within the local education group identified priority areas based on the government’s capacity. The working group, integrated by CSOs, development partners and education experts, decided to focus on gender equality, early childhood education and quality teaching as main priorities for the country.

The local education group validated them after getting consensus and support across the education sector. The consensus for priority selection was achieved through online survey consultations.

The decision to lean on online modalities to collect feedback was based on conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and following education sector plan–related consultations that had the aim of reaching different parts of the country.

The new education sector plan recognizes the importance of local-level dialogue, planning and monitoring. The National Campaign for Education Nepal (NCE Nepal), as a CSO member of the local education group, participated in this consultation process and sought to ensure the survey responses captured the voices of local communities.

Some local organizations, however, found it difficult to provide inputs as the survey was not designed and available in the local language.

The implementation of GPE 2025 offers opportunities for broad and active sector dialogue and to find new ways of collaborating, working with different partnerships and learning modalities. It can also accelerate gender-responsive education planning and align interests, resources and capabilities of the government.

To this end, education transformation should be a key objective; broad and representative voices need to be brought into the development, implementation and monitoring of GPE 2025; national-level partnership dynamics should be further diversified; and internal coordination and dissemination mechanisms further strengthened.

GPE has always supported the pursuit of gender equality in and through education by ensuring financing, efficiency and quality of education. Systemic changes, sustainable and continuous dialogue, and engagement are prerequisites to achieve it.

The GPE 2025 pilot in Nepal is expected to enable system change as it focuses on system transformation through the compact, supported by the system capacity grant and system transformation grant. Its success, however, will depend on the localization of the process so the key partners of change—that is, grassroots stakeholders—can become an integral part of the transformation of the system.

Likewise, there is still a challenge in maintaining equity in wider participation and building ownership of local governments. Considering the system transformation approach of GPE 2025, it is natural that some of its processes would need centralized interventions even when, at its core, GPE’s new operating model has a main objective of being more localized and more accommodative to the wide diversity of education stakeholders.

This blog was originally published on GPE's website.