Welcome to the July 2012 CSEF Bulletin!

In this issue we are focusing on results. Through the two years running of CSEF - resourced by GPE and a bridge grant from AusAID this year - national education coalitions have been able to achieve remarkable outcomes. Coalitions across 45 countries have actively engaged in advocacy activities that have lead to important policy, practice and social change. We have also seen the strengthening of broad-based and democratic movements, leading to increased credibility and enhanced engagement of civil society in education sector dialogue. In the last few months a set of brochures, case studies and a film have been produced to demonstrate progress and learning, and which illustrate the importance of civil society advocacy in education. You can read more about this in the sections below, enjoy!

Kjersti
CSEF Communications and Learning Manager


Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) Bulletin July 2012

Influencing policy change
1 CSEF has enabled capacity building for national education coalitions to engage in and influence education sector dialogue. In just over two years progress has been made across the CSEF countries, with several coalitions having contributed to important policy development, often due to the enhanced participation in Local Education Groups.

Some examples can be found in the new brochure Civil society advocacy: Good practice case studies. In Kenya for example, the Elimu Yetu Coalition and its members actively participated in the constitution-making process after the 2008 election process. Elimu Yetu now works to monitor the full realisation of the right to basic education in Kenya and engage with technical teams of the Ministry of Education to finalise the new Education Bill and National Education Policy. In Ghana, the National Education Campaign Coalition, GNECC, influenced policy making through inputting into the government’s annual education sector review, based on broad-based civil society consultations. This type of engagement has gradually become possible due to GNECC’s persistent lobbying for broader participation in education debates, as well as focus on building a democratic and credible movement. GNECC is now considered a vital partner and representative for civil society in education development processes. In Mozambique, MEPT represented civil society in planning and review processes allowing civil society to influence important strategic papers that guide the education sector such as ensuring the priority of pre-primary education in the new Education Sector Strategic Plan. The role of civil society as a mutual partner with government and donors in strategic education dialogue is mapped out in a set of official guidelines.

Valuable lessons can be drawn from this type of work. In the compendium, Persuading Powers, such learning is outlined based on experiences from CSEF coalitions in Asia and the Pacific. For example, the Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) highlights the value of regular face-to-face meetings with key stakeholders as important for effective advocacy. This approach proved to be valuable in their campaign to influence a new National Policy on Education in Pakistan, which after PCE’s vigorous lobbying had reflected several recommendations made by civil society. Another major lesson is to ensure capacity building and training of members to carry out evidence-based research and to be effective education advocates. This improves credibility and so ability to influence, as was the case for the Coalition for Education Solomon Islands (COESI). The coalition conducted comprehensive research into literacy and education, resulting in the recognition of COESI as a proficient actor within the field and a partner in sector dialogue with the government. The importance of public participation in policy development to ensure national ownership and strategies aligned with actual needs is widely recognised among national education coalitions. In India, the National Campaign for Education (NCE) organised public hearings to engage the public in debates and monitoring around the new Right to Education Act of 2009. This helped to create awareness and promote leadership among local people and supported them to play a 'watchdog' role, capturing and reporting realities on the ground.

CSEF on camera
2 GCE recently launched the new film, The Right to Education: Making it Happen, about the impact of CSEF, illustrated through a few example countries. Through CSEF civil society has been supported to engage with governments to ensure education is prioritised, through the implementation of sustainable sector plans, comprehensive policies and sufficient financial resources. The film demonstrates how important civil society advocacy and campaigning can be for education.

In the film you meet teachers, students, ministers, parliamentarians and activists, sharing their experiences of working in various ways to ensure that the right to education is realised. In Senegal the Minister of Education commends civil society for their role as mediators during the recent strike that could have left children without schooling this year. In Sierra Leone, the coalition coordinator talks about how civil society campaigning helped push a doubling in government spending on education and a focus on combating corruption in the sector. Civil society in Bolivia made sure important issues were included in the new national education law, and the coalition in Bangladesh emphasised the importance of teachers in education debates. In Vanuatu, the coalition’s radio program created awareness among the public and credibility with governments and donors.

The Right to Education: Making it Happen was presented to donors, ministers and other partners at GCE’s reception during the GPE board meeting in Berlin this year. Speakers at the event included David Archer (ActionAid), Boaz Waruku (ANCEFA), Owain James (GCE), Monique Fouilloux (EI) and Carol Bellamy (GPE Chair).

To watch the film
CSEF communications
3 The Global Campaign for Education recently launched its new website. The site contains a great news section, details of all coalition members and partners, a range of resource materials and case studies. Information about CSEF, including an introductory leaflet, can be located under the section called ‘Building the movement’.

Please note: The site is currently being updated in Arabic, French, Portuguese and Spanish. We will have the translated GCE site up by the end of August.

If you have any news or resource materials from your country that you would like to share we will happily upload this on the GCE website or share it through the CSEF bulletin. Please email kjersti@campaignforeducation.org
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