The civil society community plays an increasingly vital role in education governance. At the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) we recognize that civil society advocacy and social accountability is fundamental to ensuring stronger accountability throughout the partnership.
Moving ahead with ASA’s design
Last month, GPE took a major step forward in its efforts to support civil society to play a stronger role in holding partners accountable for their contributions to ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all. After a year of intensive work, consultation, research and design deliberations, the blueprint for GPE’s new Advocacy and Social Accountability (ASA) funding mechanism was approved.
The blueprint sets out the approach GPE will take to investing in civil society work, with the goal of enhancing civil society capacity to further GPE 2020 goals in learning, equity, and stronger systems. This means improving civil society’s participation, advocacy and efforts to ensure transparency and increased effectiveness in national educational policy and implementation processes.
This goal will be realized through the following three objectives:
- to strengthen national civil society engagement in education sector planning, policy dialogue and monitoring
- to strengthen civil society roles in promoting the transparency and accountability of national education sector policy and implementation
- to create a stronger global, regional and transnational enabling environment for civil society advocacy and transparency efforts in education.
The ASA funding aims to help build strong public education constituencies capable of motivating the achievement of GPE 2020 goals. With a resource envelope of at least US$60 million over three years, the ASA mechanism will consist of a competitive call for proposals from community-based, national, regional or international civil society organizations.
The blueprint sets out three grant windows to support civil society:
- Support for national civil society coalitions
- Social accountability grants
- Transnational advocacy grants
The first component aims to strengthen national civil society engagement in education planning, policy dialogue and monitoring. Component 1 will provide grants of between US$150,000 to US$450,000 over three years to the national education coalitions of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) for their work to coordinate national advocacy and civic participation in education policy, building on the strengths of the Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF). National coalitions will be supported in their efforts by GCE and regional secretariats, which will continue to provide cross-country capacity building and to coordinate the collective advocacy of its members.
The second component aims to strengthen civil society roles in promoting the transparency and accountability of national education sector policy and implementation. Component 2 will provide grants of between US$450,000 to US$1.2 million over three to four years to diversify GPE’s support for civil society by supporting the work of national organizations to experiment, test and innovate social accountability practices that strengthen transparency and social mobilization for education.
The third component aims to create a stronger global and transnational enabling environment for national civil society advocacy and transparency efforts. Component 3 will provide grants of between US$450,000 to US$1.2 million over three to four years to support the work of transnational civil society alliances to undertake joint advocacy to influence education policy agendas.
Building the field of evidence for ASA practice
Grantees supported through all three windows will be given the opportunity to collaborate, learn from one another and find synergies in their strategies and tactics. In addition, they will be supported to monitor their approaches, take stock of what works, reflect on what doesn’t and adapt, and help share that learning with others.
The ASA funding mechanism will enable this primarily by providing a “year zero” before full implementation to give grantees the time to assess the context and environment, develop their skills and knowledge, and create sound implementation plans that build in time for learning and adaptation as part of their work in ASA.
To support them in these efforts, ASA also makes provision for a network of learning partners with expertise in different areas to respond to grantees learning goals, supporting and mentoring them through their journey. The end goal will be not only greater public accountability for education policy and implementation, but a growing field of knowledge about creative practices in advocacy and social accountability that help to align education systems with people’s needs.
The blueprint provides the vision and guidance for how ASA should work. GPE will now collaborate with Oxfam IBIS, the selected implementing partner, to develop a full operational plan for ASA with the aim of launching in mid-2019. With the blueprint now approved, GPE is one step closer to operationalizing ASA.