Education Out Loud – the Global Partnership for Education’s new funding mechanism for advocacy and social accountability (ASA) - provides funding to support civil society to be active and influential in shaping education policy to better meet the needs of communities, especially of vulnerable and marginalized populations. It is resourced by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and managed by Oxfam IBIS.
The Global Partnership for Education is dedicated to building stronger education systems in the world´s poorest countries in order to ensure inclusive and equitable quality learning. GPE brings together governments from developing countries, donors, international organizations, civil society, teachers´ organizations, the private sector and foundations. It is active in more than 65 countries, and it prioritizes to support fragile and conflict affected countries.
The five-year ‘GPE 2020’ strategic plan includes three goals and five objectives to support the vision of the partnership, with clear roles and responsibilities which embed and promote mutual accountability and transparency for delivery across the partnership. As part of this, GPE actively encourages civil society organizations to participate in the partnership, enabling inclusive, evidence-based policy dialogue, so that they can monitor plans and help ensure democratic oversight of education policy.
The Education Out Loud mechanism builds on the lessons learned from the Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) that has supported the Global Campaign for Education, the regional coalitions/secretariats and the National Education Coalitions in the eligible countries since 2009 in their efforts to engage in developing and monitoring the implementation of quality education sector plans.
The Theory of Change underlying the Education Out Loud - mechanism assumes that education outcomes are more likely to be achieved when there is widespread public engagement and demand for equitable, inclusive, effective and efficient quality education. Education Out Loud intends to build the capacity of civic groups to strengthen the mutual accountability of education policy dialogue and monitoring and a broad diversity of civil society actors. Increasing the effective representation of civil society in institutional policy dialogue, improving the availability of relevant information to enable the development of more informed policy responses, and supporting advocacy to advance the public interest in education, all comprise important strategies to help build strong public education systems.
Education Out Loud, the Advocacy and Social Accountability mechanism has the overall goal to “enhance civil society capacity to further GPE 2020 goals in learning, equity, and stronger systems, by improving the participation of civil society, their efforts to strengthen advocacy and to ensure transparency and increased effectiveness in national educational policy and implementation processes”.
This goal will be realized through the following three objectives:
Objective 1 (OC1): Strengthen national civil society engagement in education planning, policy dialogue and monitoring
This objective aims at improving inward accountability of governments to their citizens. The participation of a diverse range of civil society groups is vital to prevent ‘elite capture’ of policy spaces, ensure that there is healthy debate and deliberation, and to ensure that civic space is inclusive even of those traditionally lacking in institutional power. Facilitated processes to ensure equitable participation of marginalized groups is critical because the most marginalized people are often the least able to participate due to constraints in terms of time and opportunities costs, but also the norms that influence their relative power and position in society.
Objective 2 (OC2): Strengthen civil society roles in promoting the transparency and accountability of national education sector policy and implementation
This objective aims to ensure that civil society groups are able to undertake strategic multi-level monitoring of education policy and budget implementation, and to use the evidence generated to formulate and act on relevant policy solutions and redress mechanisms. Groups working on transparency, governance and other sectors, on behalf of the public interest may be able to contribute valuable skills, creative strategies, and wider networks for collecting and disseminating information that can be used to strengthen education accountability. Consequently, ASA seeks to diversify the range of actors – and the evidence base – contributing to operationalizing the principle of diversity as a vehicle for increased accountability and transparency in the education sector.
Objective 3 (OC3): Create a stronger global and transnational enabling environment for national civil society advocacy and transparency efforts
This third objective aims to bring together consortia of civil society actors to work collaboratively on transnational initiatives or campaigns that bear on GPE country level work, particularly in the areas of aid effectiveness, financing, and cross-sectoral synergies. This is important because in the current global system, many of the enabling conditions for effective national education policy planning and implementation in low- and middle-income countries remain subject to powerful influences generated outside the national sphere.
Together, these objectives tie in with the theory of change of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), especially objectives 2 and 5, which speak to the need for “supporting mutual accountability through effective and inclusive sector policy dialogue and monitoring” (objective 2, country-level) and “building stronger partnerships” (objective 5, global/cross-national level).
Education Out Loud’s overall goal and three objectives
The development of strategies and activities through the Education Out Loud funding mechanism has led to the articulation of three funding streams, or “Operational Components” (OCs), to meet each of the three objectives. Each OC has specific emphasis on one of the three objectives.
This Call for Proposals is only related to Component 1: Strengthen national civil society engagement in education planning, policy dialogue and monitoring.
However, in the last quarter of 2019, Oxfam IBIS will launch other Calls for Proposals under Component 2 and 3, respectively, which are open for participation of a broader spectrum of organizations.