A new fund to strengthen civil society organizations’ engagement in education

Alice Albright and Kristian Weise
Main image
Educatiing children
Photo: Eva Køngerskov
Developing country governments across the globe have made impressive strides to extend quality education to more of their children. And while these governments are always at the center of those efforts, their job is tougher when they go it alone.

That’s why governments often rely on national and international civil society organizations that help with the enormous and essential task of strengthening their education systems.

Civil society partners can play a formative role in shaping education policy that will better serve a wide range of communities, especially of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. They can also help build public support for the government’s long-term education plans and monitor how the government is keeping up with the commitments in those plans.

This is the need Education Out Loud, the Global Partnership for Education’s new advocacy and social accountability fund, intends to meet. Education Out Loud, which is managed by Oxfam Denmark, supports greater involvement of civil society groups in building strong and sustainable education systems. With an allocation of 55.5 million US dollars from GPE, Education Out Loud is the largest fund in the world dedicated to support civil society capacity building and engagement in education policy processes.

Education Out Loud is building on a strong foundation

Education Out Loud was born of the need to accelerate progress toward the ambition of the fourth Sustainable Development Goal: to educate all the world’s children by the year 2030.

Partnership is at the heart of GPE’s approach to strengthening national education systems, and we’ve seen how civil society’s collaboration with government is fundamental to promote the principle of mutual accountability. That’s been the guiding principle behind Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF), financed by GPE, which has for 10 years supported national education coalitions in 62 countries.

The rich experience of CSEF-funded initiatives has informed Education Out Loud, which will provide increased support for a diverse range of actors including national organizations working at the community and grassroots level in GPE developing partner countries, as well as transnational civil society alliances.

Oxfam Denmark is the GPE grant agent for Education Out Loud, bringing a track record of more than 50 years of civil society support in the education sector. Education Out Loud will build on Oxfam Denmark’ extensive experience of transforming education so learners can actively participate irrespective of their socio-economic status, and where students learn about their rights, democratic values and how to be active citizens by influencing policy makers.

How will Education Out Loud support civil society?

By financing the work of an informed and active civil society to advocate for improved education and incentivizing innovation in the field of advocacy and social accountability, Education Out Loud supports good governance of education systems, leading to better outcomes in education.

Education Out Loud supports:

  • national education coalitions’ involvement in education planning,
  • policy dialogue and monitoring national social accountability efforts to monitor government commitments and mobilize citizens to demand and shape education policies that meet their needs
  • transnational advocacy to follow up on commitments related to the right to quality education
  • Education Out Loud also promotes capacity building and the long-term goal of sustainability for its grantees.

Education Out Loud is calling for proposals

Education Out Loud has just issued its first call for proposals to support national education coalitions in developing countries. We will issue two additional calls for proposals for national civil society organizations and transnational alliances at the end of 2019 and in mid- 2020. We encourage civil society groups to join Education Out Loud and engage through the different calls for proposals.

GPE and Oxfam Denmark are excited to be launching this new fund and enabling a stronger civil society contribution to strengthening education systems in developing countries. And with that, more equitable and better learning outcomes for millions of girls and boys. by Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer GPE and Kristian Weise, Executive Director, Oxfam Denmark.

This blog was also published on Global Partnership for Education