Guinea: Mobilizing resources for sustainable results
February 22, 2023 by GPE Secretariat |
4 minutes read

GPE’s latest grant to Guinea is channeled through a pooled fund aligned with the country’s systems and priorities. It aims to improve the performance of the education system in terms of equity, learning and efficiency.

Since joining GPE in 2002, Guinea has withstood great challenges, including recurring disease outbreaks, such as measles and Ebola, the COVID-19 pandemic and two coups (in 2008 and 2021).

While the government has continuously prioritized education and made improvements to the system over the past 20 years, providing basic social services to all Guineans has been difficult.

With GPE’s support, Guinea is improving the financial and institutional capacities of its education system to achieve sustainable solutions to persistent problems, such as inequitable access to education and poor learning outcomes.

The latest GPE grant of US$37.9 million (2020-2024) is implemented through a sector-wide pooled fund called the Fonds Commun de l’Éducation/Budget d’Affectation Spéciale (FCE/BAS), or Education Pooled Fund/Special Budget Allocation. The fund includes co-financing from the Agence française de développement (AFD) and UNICEF, for a total of $60.7 million. The fund is open to additional partners.

The FCE/BAS supports the implementation of the country’s 10-year education sector plan (2020-2029) – a strategy for providing inclusive, equitable and quality education that enables Guinean children to contribute fully to the country's economic and social development.

Aligning funding with national systems

GPE promotes alignment of external aid with a partner country’s systems as part of its commitment to transform education and mobilize resources for sustainable results.

External aid for education has a history of being fragmented and operating on the margins of national budget systems.

Aligning funding with national systems can reinforce national coordination and accountability, with reduced fragmentation.

Alignment uses the partner country’s institutions, human resources, procedures and tools for the implementation of aid. This means aligning aid not only with national sector policies, strategies and plans, but also with government institutions and systems.

Alignment therefore offers unique opportunities to strengthen those institutions and systems.

These opportunities naturally come with associated risks that need to be managed. The pooled fund in Guinea is ringfenced within the national budget [not fully comingled with domestic financing], and expenditure is earmarked or traced as specific appropriations within the country’s annual budget and finance law.

In addition, independent technical assistance provides support to civil servants of the ministries of education and the ministry of finance; and independent external audits are commissioned by the development partners on a regular basis.

Strengthening implementation

Guinea established a steering committee in 2021 to set up the pooled fund, which strengthened coordination and collaboration among partners. The committee remained in place after the coup d’état that took place in the same year, continuing to advance program goals.

Joint oversight by members of the pooled fund engages the committee, for example, in technical dialogue and decision making between the three ministries in charge of education in Guinea.

Establishing and managing a pooled fund has not been without challenges, and Guinea has taken measures to improve the financial process, planning and technical capacity.

To strengthen operations and spending, the government and funders issued a procedural manual for Guinea’s pooled fund. Regular communication among partners about the results of audits and recommendations also helps keep grant implementation on track.

Additionally, representatives of Guinea’s steering committee will be part of a learning exchange event in Niger organized by AFD on pooled funds to improve the efficiency of this funding mechanism.

Harnessing the power of partnership

Aligning multiple donors’ funding with Guinea’s education sector priorities and government systems embodies GPE’s guiding principle of working in partnership to achieve the common goal of delivering quality education.

In addition to the collaborative funding mechanism, Guinea’s local education group brings together all actors involved in education – government, donors, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and foundations – to coordinate the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the country’s education plans.

The group helps boost sectoral dialogue across Guinea's three ministries of education.

The government and its partners agree that Guinea’s 10-year education sector plan lays a strong foundation for delivering quality education to every child. The FCE/BAS supports partners’ shared efforts to implement and monitor the plan.

Pursuing results at scale

One of the country’s top priorities is to make access to basic education more equitable. In Guinea, 1.4 million children (34%) are out of school and over 1 million of them are youth who were never enrolled. Lack of schools and the costs of schooling to households are the main barriers to equitable access.

GPE is helping Guinea remove these barriers by supporting school construction, especially in rural areas. The government and partners are also focused on stimulating demand for education.

Another priority is improving the quality of learning in basic education. Guinean early grade students have the lowest literacy outcomes among the 14 countries in the Program for the Analysis of Educational Systems of CONFEMEN (PASEC) 2019 study.

To address this and other learning challenges, Guinea is reforming its curriculum, purchasing new textbooks and training teachers. Additionally, the basic education cycle is being extended to the first 10 years of formal schooling.

Working in partnership is key to creating lasting change. Guinea’s pooled fund, aligning external aid with national priorities and systems, bolsters stakeholders’ efforts to collectively deliver quality education to all Guinean children.

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