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Reforming education in fragile and conflict-affected states

CfBT has more than 20 years of experience in supporting education reform in fragile and conflict-affected states. We work with governments and other partners to minimise negative impact on children and their education.

Almost half of all the primary school age children in the world who are out of school are living in conflict-affected, low-income countries. At CfBT we believe we have a moral duty to help these children. As a result we have developed leading edge expertise in supporting education reform in situations where there is a recent history of political violence and government fragility.

Expertise and policy-based research

CfBT has more than 20 years of operational experience in supporting education reform in fragile and conflict-affected states. We have expertise in the analysis of the complex set of factors that determine an education system's ability to implement effective reform. We are global thought leaders around issues such as political economy analysis for the education sector and the role of the education sector in state-building. Our expertise derives from our operational experience coupled with a significant portfolio of policy-based research for donors.

We have undertaken major strategic research partnerships with the Brookings Institution and UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning, see the Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states report. Partnership with these leading bodies has brought complementary skills to the investigation of vital  issues of educational service delivery and good practice in these challenging contexts. Find out more about our partnership with IIEP-UNESCO.

Education and fragility

CfBT is an active member of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Working Group on Education and Fragility; visit the INEE website (opens in a new window). We played a leading role in the INEE working group on education finance; we wrote the INEE Guidance Notes on teacher compensation in situations of fragility, displacement and post-conflict recovery and we currently co-facilitate a project promoting professional learning and dialogue on the role of education in state- and peace-building.

Our expertise is not in immediate crisis or emergency management but in helping build local institutional capacity for medium- to long-term recovery and development especially in post-conflict settings.

Some key examples of our interventions include:

  • An integrated capacity development project for Somali Education Administrations across the three zones of Somalia. This enabled them to manage more effectively. We helped the government agencies to plan and deliver formal and non-formal educational services efficiently and equitably. See Supporting sector-wide policy in Somalia case study for more information.
  • A major sector support programme for basic education in Cambodia, funded by the European Commission, to strengthen institutional and human resource capacity to deliver efficient and effective education services. 
  • The provision of support to the government of Zimbabwe, in partnership with UNICEF,  to develop a national level medium-term plan for its education sector.
  • Research on the links between service delivery, state-building and peace-building in Nepal, Rwanda and South Sudan.
  • The provision of support to the Ministry of Education's decentralised planning and budgeting systems in South Sudan.

Supporting educational reform

CfBT supports educational reform in countries affected by a variety of challenging circumstances from civil war, poor governance and terrorism to environmental disaster, climate change and the global financial crisis. CfBT is able to assist in countries where the basic foundations and institutions of legitimate politics, security, justice, economics and trade, as well as revenue collection and service delivery have been eroded or seriously compromised.

Case studies

Working with UNICEF in Somalia

CfBT has worked with UNICEF to deliver the Integrated Capacity Development for Somali Education Administrations Programme. Students, teachers and parents share how the programme has changed their lives.

Education reform in Libya

CfBT is working with the Ministry of Education in Libya as well as the Teacher Development Centre (TDC) to achieve better education outcomes through efficient and effective use of the teaching workforce.

Support to education in South Sudan

CfBT Education Trust has undertaken two assignments in South Sudan: we have supported decentralised planning and budgeting systems; and we have designed the education component of a European Union support programme.

Latest research

State-building and service delivery

01 December 2012 | Nepal, Rwanda, South Sudan

A literature review and synthesis report looking at the key concepts of state-building, peace-building and service delivery in fragile- and conflict-affected states, based upon fieldwork in Nepal, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Building effective teacher salary systems

01 October 2012 | Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia

This report provides practitioners – including governments, donors and United Nations agencies – with a clear framework for assessing teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS).

The impact of sector-wide approaches

01 September 2011 | Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Focused on education sector-wide approaches, this research highlights key historical trends, presents new findings from the global literature and emerging good practice from the field, as well as looking at implications ...

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Susy Ndaruhutse

Head of international development and education

Contact Susy Ndaruhutse

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