Tag Archives: education in emergencies

INEE Journal on Education in Emergencies

31 Jan

Attention all Education in Emergencies enthusiasts (nerds)!

This week the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) announced a brand new Journal on Education in Emergencies. Along with this announcement, INEE also revealed that NYU Steinhardt’s own Dr. Dana Burde will be the Journal’s first Editor-in-Cheif! The first of its kind, the Journal will close a crucial gap as the field itself gains more international attention and (ideally) funding:

The Journal on Education in Emergencies is established in response to the growing need for rigorous Education in Emergencies (EiE) research to strengthen the evidence base, support EiE policy and practice, and improve learning in and across organizations, policy institutes and academic institutions. The Journal will close a gap existing in the academic space: currently, there is no Journal dedicated to this topic. The Journal will facilitate EiE knowledge generation and sharing, thus contributing to the further professionalization of the EiE field.

The Journal will include three sections:

  • EiE Research Articles: Articles in this section will have solid research methodology/ research design, use an explicit, well-recognized theoretical or conceptual framework, and contribute to the evidence-base and the advancement of knowledge on EiE.
  • EiE Practice: Articles in this section will demonstrate progress and/or challenges in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating EiE policies and programs.
  • EiE Book Reviews: Articles in this section will offer a critical review of a recently published or an upcoming book on EiE.

Very excited for this. Manuscript submission guidelines will be released in Spring 2014. This would have been a fantastic resource while I was in graduate school, and I am quite pleased that it will be available for future classes and practitioners.

Doctoral Research in Education in Emergencies

9 Sep

A quick, quick followup to last week’s post: INEE’s online discussion series on “Teaching Education in Emergencies” continues this week with posts by The Brookings Institution’s Allison Anderson (former director of INEE), Harvard’s Sarah Dryden-Peterson (a huge inspiration for my own research) and none other than NYU’s own Amy Kapit!

Amy provides some wonderful insights into a few lessons-learned while conducting her doctoral research and collecting data in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Her reflections touch on the utility of qualitative methodologies and the plethora of doctoral research opportunities in the field of education in emergencies, while highlighting some innovative research coming out of NYU’s IE Program. I also particularly liked her piece because it addresses a key factor for me personally in deciding to delay my entrance into a doctoral degree program: the benefits of solidifying connections in the field prior to conducting doctoral research. Keeping my personal focus on forced displacement in East Africa in mind, studying with Amy helped me and many others in IE realize the importance of having a strong network of practitioners in our regions of interest prior to beginning data collection, which many of us are now using our entry/mid-level career paths to do. We at HREC all wish her the best as she finishes up her doctoral work! Give it a read, and check out the other online blog posts and discussions over on INEE’s website – and don’t forget to keep an eye out for Dr. Dana Burde’s post on September 23rd!

On that note, for those of you starting your Fall semester at NYU or Columbia (or anywhere!), I highly recommend looking into a training seminar on “INEE’s Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery.” It’s a great community in which to be involved, and it may just change the course of your graduate studies…

Additionally, Allison Anderson makes mention of INEE’s academic space on its website – this is a growing resource to see what other academics are researching in the field of EiE, and also a great resource for submitting your own research down the road.

Okay, so that wasn’t a quick, quick followup.

HREC Panel @ NYU International Ed. Conference

10 Apr

This Friday a group of HREC contributors will be coming together to present a panel at NYU’s annual International Education Conference. The topic for the conference is ‘International Education in Emergency Response and Crisis Management‘, and the keynote speaker will be Zama Coursen-Neff of Human Rights Watch.

Our panel is entitled ‘Human Rights Emergencies, International Interventions.’ Stephanie and Devin will be presenting research which they’ve previously discussed at the Human Rights and Education Colloquium (and which Steph presented at CIES). Philip’s presentation is an elaboration on some earlier blog posts about the crisis in Mali.

The panel will take place at 1:30pm on Friday, April 12. It will be held in Room 907 of NYU’s Kimmel Center (this floor has great views of Washington Square). We’re looking forward to sharing our work again, and hope to see a few familiar faces in the audience.



Education Cannot Wait – A Call to Action

5 Oct

Last week in New York City, the field of education in emergencies took a critical step forward. International leaders across governments, international organizations and civil society discussed and endorsed an urgent Call to Action to secure the provision of quality education to 28 million youth living in countries affected by conflict, plus several millions more victim to humanitarian emergencies due to natural hazards worldwide. The youth in the former category account for 40% of all primary school-age children currently not enrolled in school. The Call to Action entitled “Education Cannot Wait: Protecting Children and Youth’s Right to a Quality Education in Humanitarian Emergencies and Conflict Situations” is a part of the UN Secretary-General’s “Education First” initiative, which seeks to improve access and quality of education and foster global citizenship.

The Call to Action stresses efforts to be made in three key areas:
1)      Increase levels of humanitarian aid to education in emergencies
2)      Keep schools and education safe from attack
3)      Integrate emergency prevention, preparedness, response and recovery with sector plans and budgets

The realm of education as a provision of humanitarian assistance has long been relegated to an afterthought among aid providers. I am thrilled that the United Nations has since taken steps to close this critical gap. I think Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar says it best:

“The mind of a child has only one opportunity to develop. If the education of a girl or boy is lost through conflict we have not only deprived them of their birthright, we have denied their generation the chance of development or recovery – and we have robbed an entire society of its chance for a better future. That should not be acceptable to any one of us.”

A more substantial inclusion of education into the humanitarian imperative is long overdue. The current expenditures on education in emergencies stand at roughly 2% of humanitarian aid spending. This initiative aims to double levels of humanitarian aid to education in emergencies to 4% of aid budgets, which, while still a modest figure, could guarantee education for entire generations of youth who would otherwise lose the opportunity to conflict. I feel that this push indicates a growing recognition of the vital role that education plays in breaking cycles of violence in many regions of the world. Plain and simple, education provides hope. Hope for opportunity, hope for a future. Without this hope, children may likely seek other opportunities, or will be more easily forced into exploitative situations. Education provides a safe and structured environment in which youth can focus their energy and attention towards improving not only their own lives, but their communities and national economies as a whole.

To this, I attribute much credit to the work of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), whose seminal document, the INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery guides the planning and implementation of education in emergencies programs around the globe. My former colleagues at INEE were in attendance at the launch of Ban Ki-Moon’s Education First campaign, and contributed to this Call to Action.

Yesterday I was able to attend the INEE Global Meet-up hosted by the International Rescue Committee here in New York. The meet-up surrounded the Education Cannot Wait and Education First initiatives. There was much curiosity regarding concrete plans for action moving forward, and an interesting discussion arose pertaining to the timing of this particular initiative. Perhaps it has received a greater push at this point with the close proximity of 2015 and how close the UN is to reaching the Millennium Development Goal on Education For All. Perhaps this will create a surge in the interim period towards greater funding and advocacy behind education in emergencies.

But in this blogger’s humble opinion, perhaps this will yield rushed results. Education in emergencies is a vast and complex sub-field within education, with marked differences between crises caused by natural hazards and those that arise out of conflict, and even further differences between education in acute conflict and protracted conflicts leading to long-term displacement and instability. Here the lines between humanitarian action and international development become blurred.

One would hope, in this case, that increased focus on the complexities of education in emergencies will yield the necessary increase in cooperation between actors in the humanitarian camp and actors in the development camp. Education programs cannot simply be set up during a crisis and abandoned for development education programming as soon as the crisis subsides. Actors across the board need to work together to truly provide education to the staggering number of youth trapped in conflict around the world, with a concerted focus on quality and content.

I am very excited about the implications of this Call to Action, and the plain and simple truth is that education NEEDS to be made a priority. It NEEDS to be at the center of the discussion. At the end of INEE’s Meet-up, we were asked to consider what our organization was doing to help in the push for advocacy and action for education in emergencies, or for us students, what our university was doing to raise awareness. The easy answer that came to mind: nothing. I will be keeping a close eye to see if this call to action lives up to its name and acts on the fact that education truly cannot wait, and will be doing my part to ensure that awareness at my institution increases in what little time I have left. I implore you all to do the same. This is a groundbreaking initiative…the world is listening…let’s see what we can all accomplish.

If I was an educator…but then again, no.

22 Sep

Social definitions have never suited me well. I can’t make sense of them. I trust that my transition from academia back to the professional world will be wrought with similar discontent as I come to terms with the fact that while I am passionate about education, while I feel in my bones that education is the reason I gravitate towards the decisions that I have made, while my soul screams that the quest for truth is meaningless without a shared space where we can compare and contrast our truths and in the end hopefully arise from the pits of confusion with some unifying ideal towards which we can strive, while I accept as fact that schools provide not only knowledge for children, but hope for a future, while the sound of rickety wooden desks and bare feet scraping across crumbling cement and dirt floors never fails to remind me of who I am as a human being…I can’t say that I am an educator.

I have tried my hand at teaching. Mostly public health, of which I knew extremely little prior to extensive training in HIV/AIDS prevention education. No, I went to college to make movies and television. I wanted to live with a script in my back pocket. I wanted to craft film trailers. I wanted to scout shooting locations. I wanted to start in the mail room and work my way up to head of production on…well, I’ve forgotten to be honest. In my senior year at UCLA I grew jaded with Mass Communication Studies and tried my hand at UCLA’s global studies program, which led me to a course on African Ecology and Development. Not sure how it awakened what it did, but the fascination stuck, and I shipped off to Tanzania upon graduating. I was teaching HIV education for primary schools and local factory workers, English tutoring after school, ad hoc education and food programs for children living on the streets of Arusha. I lived by sunlight during the week, some battery powered lamps from time to time. Slept in a hut built of mud and sticks. Trapped when it rained, unstoppable when the sun was shining. I returned some months later to what came to be a life that now seemed strangely alien to me. Couldn’t quite make it work, so I sought to return to a life that made more sense.

I was soon in Uganda, teaching HIV Sensitization, distributing condoms, networking with local officials, acquiring donations, helping to quench fires as they arose. Me learning from them, them learning from me. I wanted to contribute more. Luckily, I had just applied for a graduate program in International Education. I wrote my statement of purpose on a boy named Anaeli with whom I worked on the streets of Arusha. Such a smartass, such a clown. And he didn’t want money. He didn’t want a handout (though he enjoyed the food we brought too). He wanted to go to school. I had never seen this in the US…13 year old boys asking if someone could help them just so they could go to school. I understood…while most around me growing up always hated that they had to spend their time in such a structured institution, I reveled in the opportunity to challenge myself and acquire as much knowledge as I could fit into my brain. I would have asked for some help too. So I wanted to go back to school to learn how I could help kids stop having to plead for a chance to get an education. Guided by the admittedly trite mantra to “be the change you wish to see in the world,” I dreamed of helping to create a world where education was an equal opportunity for all children. I got in, and here I am.

But an educator? Hardly. I have decided to leave the act of educating to more qualified people. I take my interest in finding solutions to problems in educating kids like Anaeli, and soon plunged into a world of educating children in the worst situations on earth. The field of education in emergencies and the role of education as a means for mitigating conflict in the region of the world where I felt so at home is relentlessly fascinating to me, and it calls to me. From my coursework on education in conflict, to work with William Easterly’s Development Research Institute, UNICEF’s Child Protection Section, and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies, my life has been consumed by it. And there is no end in sight.

Previous research interests have included education for demobilized child soldiers, particularly in northern Uganda, community-based schools in Central Africa, and teacher training for South Sudan as a tool of nation-building for our world’s newest nation. These days: resistance to refugee repatriation in sub-Saharan Africa, and the corresponding brain drain on home economies when educational opportunities for refugees surpass those in their countries of origin. Will be keeping an eye on humanitarian concerns in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in East & Central Africa and the Horn, the growing LGBT rights movement in East Africa, child soldier recruitment, and education in emergencies topics as they arise.

I ache to return. In my final semester in the M.A. program, I will once again have to confront social definitions as I define who it is and what I am to become. I have learned a lot, but I do not have the answers. I have no delusions of traveling to the most remote regions of Central and East Africa and understanding the context at hand well enough to make the right choices. I am not an educator, I am a student. I recognize that my education will never stop. I wish to move through life collecting teachers wherever I can find them, and use what they teach me to help them lift themselves from turmoil. Wrought with wanderlust and committed to whatever change I can be a part of, I am eager to see where life takes me next.

Stirrin’ up trouble in Kisongo Village