Learning Event Accra: Strengthening civil society for greater influence in education
“Together we become strong; united, we can remove the obstacles that arise on our way”
— Cheik Mbow, Executive Director, Coalition of Organizations in SYnergie for the Defense of Public Education (COSYDEP).
The portfolio of the EOL Regional Management Unit in Western and Central Africa (WCA) comprises 26 grantees of the various EOL operational components (OC1, OC2 and OC3). The grantees are present in 20 countries, and the recent regional learning event displayed the diversity of the representatives of different organizations and coalitions – some new, others still establishing themselves. It is the only region that includes grantees from Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone countries.
In addition to the EOL WCA grantees, stakeholders included representatives from Oxfam, the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), and the Africa Network Campaign on Education for All (ANCEFA), as well as the virtual participation of the EOL Global Management Unit (GMU), the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and UNESCO.
Face-to-face at last
It was the first face-to-face meeting since the beginning of Education Out Loud implementation in the WCA region in 2020. During this period, all the EOL components were rolled out and implemented. Lessons were learned and real changes achieved. But online interactions have not fully nurtured one of EOL’s core objectives: to inform and improve the practices of EOL grantees and related civil society organizations in order to enhance their effectiveness and strategic impact on policies in the education sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions had left very little flexibility for trips and face-to-face gatherings.
EOL grantees shared experiences and lessons learned in the last two years
Areas of synergy and learning among and across the operational components were Identified and planned
Understanding of Education Out Loud’s learning agenda and learning collaboratives
Areas for knowledge exchange and learning between grantees were identified and learning collaborations were formed.
As the workshop progressed, and discussions began, both the organizers and participants felt that although the three days were a good beginning, they were not sufficient to fully explore possible areas of synergy for common learning and exchange. However, the participants were inspired by the panel discussions and the experiences shared by each country and project.
“We learned other ways to advocate, and how we can organize collaborative learnings… We made contact with members of other operational components … But we have so much more to learn,”
- Braham Moumouni, Coordinator of the The National Coalition of Associations, Unions and NGOs for the Education For All in Niger (ASO EPT – Niger).
Notwithstanding, the event hit its target within the number of allocated days and was rewarding. Learning collaborations were created according to common thematic areas of interest, synergies were found, and connections were made between grantees working in the same countries as well as between grantees from different countries. The participants confirmed this achievement:
“The presentations were very inspiring. We picked up new ideas on how to increase or leverage our own membership… We learned strategies that other organizations use to gain attention at a national level. We even had the opportunity to network among ourselves and form learning collaborations.”
- Wedadu Sayibu from School for Life Ghana.
A culture and space have been created for cross learning, exchange and combined efforts. Momentum is gathering for a stronger, more knowledgeable civil society that is more vocal at national and international levels.
Read more about the EOL/WCA regional learning event in the full report