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Insight 14/12/2018

Integrated capacity development in Somalia

Between 2010 and 2013 Education Development Trust supported the UNICEF Somalia funded programme, Integrated Capacity Development for Somali Education Administrations, focusing on five core strategic areas.

The challenge

Following the withdrawal of UN troops from Somalia after a period of unrest and civil war, we have been working continuously in Somalia since 1994. Education Development Trust has been working with the Ministries of Education and other partners to support education reform in a country with extremely low school attendance where education systems and infrastructure had been severely damaged during the civil war.

Education Development Trust supported the UNICEF Somalia funded programme, Integrated Capacity Development for Somali Education Administrations, focusing on delivering in five core strategic areas:

  • strategic planning and policy development;
  • human resource management and organisational development;
  • financial management and planning;
  • standards based quality assurance; and
  • gender mainstreaming and girls’ participation in education.

The project demonstrated our commitment to sustainable solutions and our technical expertise in managing significant reform in a highly fragile context.

Our approach

Strategic planning and policy development

We helped ministries complete key policies, such as the Education Act and the Education Policy Paper, and Special Needs Education Policy, along with the development of the five-year Education Sector Strategic Plans. The process of planning and creating these policies hand in hand with ministry staff greatly improved the policy environment and the ministries’ technical capacity. This advance in education strategy has the potential to improve and increase aid effectiveness into the future.

Working with ministry staff to improve their technical skills, we established the Education Management Information System, a reporting tool which made possible the first primary school census (funded by UNICEF) and the first Annual Primary School Census Statistics Yearbook 2011/2012 in Somaliland and Puntland. This data improved accountability and means ministry staff can prioritise activities through more effective project planning and programme development.

HR management and organisational development

Ministry of Education staff in South/Central Somalia were supported by our experts in driving reform. This included developing a range of key documents in advance of restructuring:

  • a draft organisational structure,
  • terms of reference for directorates,
  • job descriptions for key staff,
  • an appraisal system, and
  • HR standard operating procedures.

Twenty-five Ministry of Education staff members retired as part of the Human Resources and Organisational Management Reform succession plan. This was widely recognised as a significant act towards greater accountability and organisational effectiveness. The Government of Somaliland commended the Ministry of Education and held it up as an example of best practice among ministries. As a result of these reforms the Ministry recruited new staff, better qualified to drive reform.

Financial management and planning

Ministry of Education officials were trained by our experts on public financial management and budgets and were supported in developing robust financial processes in all three administrations across Somalia. Ministries in Puntland and Somaliland were awarded a greater increase in their education budget following support from our experts to produce annual education budgets in line with international best practice.

Standards based quality assurance

Our sustainability-focused approach ensured ministry officials took the lead - adopting a 'Somalis for Somalia' strategic approach to recruit and embed high quality technical specialists from the Somali Diaspora within the Ministry of Education. These Technical Advisors supported institutional reform and strengthened capacity from within the ministries across all five key areas.

They also supported Education Officers in cultivating their leadership and technical skills in order to hold additional responsibilities and often take the lead for specific regional activities. The impact of this additional capacity was immediately noticeable, and department Directors expressed their satisfaction with the increased capacity. Our consultants were held to account by ministry Directors and worked in close collaboration with ministry officials, taking responsibility for training two newly recruited education officers in their area of specialism.

Our impact

Increasing participation of marginalised girls

As a result of this programme, significant achievements have been made in girls' participation in the Education sector. Gender Units in the Ministries of Education led and coordinated gender work in both Somaliland and Puntland. Gender Technical Working Groups in the two regions provided a platform for planning, designing and implementing gender work; addressing areas of duplication; and highlighting good practices to be used elsewhere. The Units' capacity to manage programmes was proven through the management of the Accelerated Female Participation in Education (AFPE) Fund scholarship programme and social mobilisation projects.

Building strong partnerships

We developed constructive working relationships with ministries, UNICEF and the EU. In fact, UNICEF were so confident in our ability to deliver results in a difficult environment, that they expanded the scope of the contract through four contract variations. At the conclusion of the contract in May 2013 UNICEF asked us to continue providing technical assistance in Somalia, with particular reference to Education Management Information System development in Central South Somalia, building on the work so far achieved in the most fragile of the regions of Somalia.

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