By Leila Toplic (NetHope), Emma Bonar (Mercy Corps), Judith Flick (War Child Holland)
Earlier this week, RewirEd Summit convened over 2,000 education stakeholders from 60+ countries to engage in discussions on three key pressing areas in education globally: Youth, Skills and the Future of Work; Innovation in Education; and Education Financing. EdTech Collective* was invited to present an experiment we had developed as part of RewirEd Provocations, an initiative supported by Dubai Cares that aims to catalyze action towards an envisioned better future in education. We are delighted that our experiment was selected to receive seed funding from Dubai Cares and excited to share with you more about our work and how you can get involved.
We are in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. Over 82 million people around the world have been forced from their homes. Of the 1.8 billion young people worldwide, approximately 90% live in less developed countries, many of which are affected by crises and conflict.
Crises and displacement often disrupt schooling and social support systems. Young people confront these challenges at a time when their own psychological and physical development is undergoing rapid change.
Millions have been forced to drop out of school, work in difficult conditions to provide for their families, marry early, and abandon their hopes and dreams. They demand and deserve our engagement as partners for change.
So, it’s urgent that learning transforms from one-size-fits-all, place-and time-constrained learning (classroom) to just-in-time, personalized learning that aligns with real world opportunities (like work) and enables each individual to continually learn new skills anywhere and anytime.
Addressing the complex needs of youth on-the-move is something that no single organization or sector can do alone. Nor will traditional ways of partnering and collaborating get us there.
In order to rewire education, we need to rewire how we work together.
We need to shift from single-actor and fragmented interventions or transactional partnerships applying a “divide and conquer” approach to an inclusive, complementary, co-creation focused, ecosystem-based approach that addresses systemic challenges in a holistic and sustainable way in partnership with youth.
How do we do that?
Between our three organizations, we have decades of experience in education and youth development, emergency response and hundreds of partnerships - but when we looked around we couldn’t find practical guidance for how to rewire collaboration for youth on-the-move.
That’s why we – a coalition of three partners NetHope, Mercy Corps, and War Child Holland - have created a multi-stakeholder, cross-sector collaboration framework that guides coalitions in how to effectively bring together a diverse set of stakeholders to co-create sustainable solutions and programs, engage in meaningful partnership with youth and local communities, and innovate responsibly with technology
The framework is designed to be practical. It focuses on helping coalitions maximize their impact through structured, coordinated, and sustainable collaboration.
The framework also incorporates guidance on how to leverage technology where and when appropriate to reach and engage young people in a meaningful and responsible (safe) way and ensure that no one is left behind (girls, youth with disabilities, refugees).
The framework is informed by four considerations:
- Sustainable collective action must include strategies across the whole lifecycle of project and program design and implementation and foster a culture of co-creation.
- Effective collaborations must enable meaningful engagement and leadership of all stakeholders in the education of youth on-the-move (including youth and local communities) to ensure locally owned and led solutions to local needs.
- To be effective, the solution needs to reflect the complexity of the problem and hence the stakeholder expertise and perspective must also reflect that complexity.
- Monitoring systems and impact assessment need to be embedded throughout the project lifecycle, to generate data that is useful to all stakeholders in the ecosystem and enable continuous learning and iteration.
In practice what this means is that collective action starts with a coalition of diverse stakeholders coming together, coalescing around a common vision, and guided by a shared set of principles, working together to co-create solutions, implement, learn, iterate, and scale the impact.
That is why the Collective Action Framework includes:
- Mapping of the key stakeholders;
- Principles guiding collective action;
- Four-component, iterative process, with key questions, considerations, and examples aimed at guiding coalition members in operationalizing the process effectively. These prompts are meant to spark the conversation and provide a starting point for those who are new to coalition-based approaches.
While the Collective Action Framework targets coalitions focused on meeting the needs of youth on-the-move and will be tested for this population, it’s designed to guide any multi-stakeholder coalition in their collaboration and co-creation journeys, helping them build, implement, and sustain innovative programs.
The next step.
With the support from Dubai Cares, we plan to complete the framework and share it broadly in 2022. We invite key stakeholders to provide feedback on the Collective Action Framework, use it to guide your collective action work, and contribute your learnings and ideas to future iterations of the framework.
We also hope to catalyze additional support to operationalize the Collective Action framework and Rewired Global Declaration on Connectivity for Education in Uganda by convening a local coalition to work together on addressing a specific set of needs of youth on-the-move. If you are interested in learning more about how you can support this work, please email Leila Toplic.
We're grateful to Dubai Cares for the opportunity and award, and to Radicle for guidance and support provided as part of the RewirEd Sandbox.
*EdTech Collective is a coalition of three NGOs - NetHope, Mercy Corps, and War Child Holland - committed to working together to meet the needs of youth on-the-move.
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