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.
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.