Mozambique: Better alignment of funding increases engagement and efficiency

A common fund enables several partners to come together and strengthen technical dialogue and engagement with the Government of Mozambique, all with a single objective, to give more children access to a good quality education.

January 18, 2022 by Britta Lambertz, GIZ Mozambique, and André Conjuane Utui, Ministry of Education, Mozambique
4 minutes read
Students listening in class. Mozambique. Credit: GPE/Arnaldo Langa
Students listening in class. Mozambique.
Credit: GPE/Arnaldo Langa

In Mozambique, the Education Sector Support Fund (Fundo de Apoio ao Sector da Educação, FASE) was set up in 2002. Since then, it has helped the Ministry of Education and Human Development (MINEDH) to substantially increase access to education, improve its quality, and reduce gender disparities in the country.

Although external funding accounts for only a small fraction of the total education budget in low-income countries, it still plays an essential role in supporting programs and activities by filling gaps where public budgets fall short.

The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education make financing for the sector even more urgent.

Rapid population growth requires ever-increasing funding for the education sector. Mechanisms such as FASE, which channel about 90% of external funding to education, are the right answer: they align the external funds more effectively with the national systems and increase efficiency and effectiveness.

This funding modality is incorporated and identified in the State Budget. It also contains a set of partner requirements that the education sector observes to be eligible for funding. There are also rules on procurement, accountability, auditing, and other issues.1

Eight development partners are currently contributing to the fund, including the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), World Bank, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and UNICEF.

Rationalization of plans and financing

The Ministry of Education and Human Development prepared a new education strategic plan for 2020-2029, which provided an opportunity to develop an updated agreement between the Ministry and the FASE partners, shifting the focus of sector support:

  • from planning and financing to reforming and implementing;
  • from increasing access to improving teaching quality; and
  • from focusing on inputs to producing results.

These improvements, in conjunction with new financial reporting and procurement processes, aim to enhance quality and efficiency in the delivery of education services to children. FASE has been the lead agency in supporting the implementation of the education sector plan, including a US$299 million World Bank/GPE grant that emphasizes improving learning outcomes and empowering girls in Mozambique.

Over the years, FASE has made significant contributions to improving, strengthening, and broadening the quality, efficiency, and relevance of the sector policy cycle and dialogue system.

Among the various forms of external funding for the education sector, FASE is a visible external funding modality in the State Budget to which many partners have subscribed.2 Its alignment with the national education system ensures that donor contributions contribute directly to the objectives of the sector plan.

The financial contributions are used transparently and service delivery challenges can be addressed directly and jointly. In addition, donors are committed to creating synergies and jointly supporting the activities contained in the annual work plans.

Policy development and dialogue between MINEDH and partners

An inclusive approach means that all key actors, both civil society and donors, can participate in the local education group and the annual review meetings.

In the new FASE Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the partners and the Office of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education set out the FASE implementation process. The Public Finance Management Group is responsible for the technical aspects of the budget and the financial process, which includes monitoring the FASE budget.

The FASE dialogue mechanism includes regular joint coordination meetings and Education Sector Working Groups. The latter consist of Ministry of Education Directorates, donors, and civil society; they provide technical advice on key service delivery programs (primary and secondary education, etc.). Specific Working Groups address particularly urgent issues, such as gender-based violence.

Reports from the schools, provinces, and districts are presented to the Working Groups which play a key role in sector development by producing information and reporting on the various components of the system, thereby ensuring that all relevant information +on service delivery issues is considered.

Pursuant to the new FASE MoU, an implementation support team is being set up, including consultants in specific areas to assist in identifying and overcoming implementation constraints.

Annual joint visits to selected schools and a mechanism for sharing lessons and good practices make it possible to obtain an x-ray of reality and gain a much clearer picture of implementation. This is then reflected in national planning and policy processes.

Use of FASE funds

FASE funds are initially transferred to the Treasury and the national financial management and information system for subsequent transfer to the education sector account. In this way they complement domestic funding and the national budget. The funds in question are then channeled to provincial and district education departments and schools throughout the country.

The fact that the partners send timely information on the amount of funding they will donate makes it easier for the Ministry to plan activities and expenditures.

The greater efficiency created by FASE has led to the sector budget having a much larger proportion of external funding than other sectors, maximizing resources by reducing the time and energy spent in the management process.

In addition, FASE has minimized duplication of reporting and audits and has enhanced the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and challenges.

By strengthening public finance management systems and making them more transparent, and by targeting resources according to the greatest need, more of the funds made available through FASE are spent where they are needed.

  1. MINEDH, Plano Estratégico da Educação 2020-2029 [Strategic Education Plan, 2020–2029], p. 177. Maputo, 2020.
  2. MINEDH, Análise do Sector da Educação (ESA) [Education Sector Analysis], p. 71. Maputo, 2019

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