Review of Save the Children Norway’s Education Programmes and Partnerships with National Government Institutions at Country Level
About the publication
- Published: September 2018
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Swedish Development Advisers AB
- Commissioned by: --
- Country: Mozambique, Nepal, Somalia
- Theme: Children, Education and research
- Pages: 37
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organization: Redd Barna
- Project number: GLO 0605 QZA14/0477
Background and objectives
The purpose of this review is to increase Save the Children Norway’s (SCN) internal learning and knowledge of how to best work with government institutions in education programs. The review has mapped what has been done, what has worked and why in education programs funded by Norad. The review also presents results achieved within the government authorities, for children, and for the civil society. The review has attempted to assess if SC is achieving its partnership goals: to “be the voice”, “be the innovator” and “achieve results at scale”.
Data has been gathered primarily through a desk review, an electronic survey of Save the Children (SC) offices in 15 countries and from interviews with SC office staff and government officials in Mozambique, Nepal and Somalia.
The results of the government partnerships mentioned by SC offices shows a significant improvement in both the quality of and access to education as well as an increased capacity of government to fulfill its mandate.
Other important results mentioned are governments improved technical skills, increased ability and willingness to adopt new tools/methods and take in information as well as better coordination between government and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
The information collected shows that SC offices are closely involved in the educational planning processes, at central as well as at province and district level and help governments draft national educational plans, legal frameworks and educational standards.
The SC offices base their own plans and programs on the national educational plans and policies and are closely aligned and relevant to the national contexts. The data collected shows that SC is seen as an innovator by the government officials interviewed and there are a large number of examples of methods and tools introduced by SC into the education sectors. Taking methods to scale is only possible if and when government decides to adopt such a method on a broader scale, which has also happened due to SC offices’ ability to become a trusted partner to the governments.
SC’ role as a strategic partner to the government, ability to involve government in the implementation and funding or co-funding of pilots are factors that influence the governments’ willingness to adopt tools/methods on a broader scale.
SC’ ability to “be the voice” of children comes out less from the data collected although five SC offices state the government have become more child-focused as a result of the partnership.
The factors that have helped to implement SC initiated methods at a larger scale have primarily been:
- The building of a relationships based on trust with government at different levels
- SC’ role as strategic partner
- helping develop policies and plans. - SC offices’ funding and implementation of activities.
- SC’ role as part of networks/coalitions of CSOs working in education.
The SC’ theory of change appears to be validated. By building trust with the government, SC can introduce new and innovative methods and change government’s policy. If and when the government trusts SC as a partner, its proposals, learning and evidence from testing forms the basis for decisions by the government to implement SC’ initiatives at scale.
There is a worry among seven of the 15 SC offices surveyed of increasing dependence of the government on SC. There is also evidence that SC offices are implementing activities that are the responsibility of the government e.g. payment of teacher salaries, construction of schools, printing of books etc.
This may be relevant activities in providing education to children, but SC should bear in mind that funding service delivery projects and budget support is not a sustainable practice and SCN needs to carefully consider such proposals from SC offices.
In the cases when such funding is deemed necessary, a clear exit plan should be established and clearly communicated with the government agency. Innovations that could be scaled up by the government should be considered for funding with a plan for how to broaden the uptake.
- SCI should consider the content of the MoUs with government to ensure that these include operating principles, responsibilities of each party and the goals of the contract.
- SCN should consider how it can help SC offices manage the planning cycle in order to involve government agencies as early on in the planning process as possible. This would contribute to gaining governments’ buy in, ownership, alignment to national plans and acceptance of SC’ limitations to budget, timing, capacity etc..
- SC offices need to consider the types of activities it will fund in order to establish clear phase out strategies for service delivery and budget support projects and scale-up strategies for pilot projects.
- SCN should consider analyzing the SC offices’ proposals to assess which initiatives fall into “budget support”, “funding of service delivery” and “funding of new methods/programs/pilots where there is a potential to take these to scale”. The latter type would be important to fund, while the former need more careful consideration.
- SC should consider addressing issues causing high teacher turnover in the schools as experience has shown that this is a success factor to achieve sustainable change in teaching methods.
- SC offices should analyze the specific roles of the community in the respective village/district/country in order to establish a strategy for how it can support community structures.
- SC offices and SCN should consider the proposed initiatives in terms of scalability, innovativeness. In the cases when an initiative is not scalable, it may not be sustainable and a clear phase out plan for such support should be established and clearly communicated with the government agency. If the initiative is innovative and a potential for taking it to scale exists, a plan for the latter should be developed.
Comments from the organisation
Save the Children Norway has developed a management response and action plan based on the recommendations of the review.