Announcing JEiE Volume 8, Number 1!
We are pleased to announce the publication of
Journal on Education in Emergencies Volume 8, Number 1!
This issue of the Journal on Education in Emergencies (JEiE) offers a review of a broad range of dilemmas facing the field of education in emergencies (EiE). It provides actionable data along with insights for improving wellbeing and learning outcomes among children in conflict and crisis settings. This issue brings attention to efforts in the EiE field to support more equitable and social justice-oriented ways of working, especially as concerns the creation and dissemination of EiE data and evidence.
JEiE Volume 8, Number 1 includes seven research articles, two field notes, a commentary, and two book reviews. It offers cutting-edge research and field work conducted by teams comprised of practitioners, researchers, and policymakers who live and work among diverse populations in an array of geographic settings, including the Middle East, South America, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Several articles in this issue are global in scope, commenting in particular on EiE practice and on refining frameworks for understanding our work in conflict and crisis settings, while other articles encourage using lessons learned from the implementation of EiE programs or policies in one setting and applying them in other EiE contexts.
As a diamond open access journal, the full JEiE Volume 8, Number 1, as well as previous issues of JEiE and all individual articles, can be downloaded for free from the INEE website: https://inee.org/journal.
This issue is available in English; the abstract and title of each article are also available in English (below), Arabic, French, Spanish, and Portuguese (select another language at the top of this page; translations will be published soon).
For more information about JEiE, visit inee.org/journal.
Journal on Education in Emergencies Volume 8, Number 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS AND ABSTRACTS
Editorial Note: Journal on Education in Emergencies Volume 8, Number 1
Dana Burde and Heddy Lahmann
In this editorial note, JEiE Editor-in-Chief Dana Burde and Senior Managing Editor Heddy Lahmann highlight the groundbreaking contributions the authors featured in this issue make to EiE processes and content. These authors have collaborated across sectors and drawn from the collective experience of their work in EiE implementation, policymaking, and research. They apply rigorous methodologies to urgent practical questions in the EiE field and, in so doing, advance efforts to prioritize equity, representation, and social justice in setting research agendas, producing knowledge, and disseminating evidence. This issue of JEiE offers actionable descriptive and exploratory data for addressing fundamental dilemmas in EiE, including the impact conflict has on education, programming for out-of-school children, learning outcomes for vulnerable youth, sustainable peacebuilding and development, and more.
War and Schooling in South Sudan, 2013-2016
Augustino Ting Mayai
South Sudan was embroiled in a civil war from mid-December 2013 to mid-September 2018. Nearly 400,000 people died, and several million were displaced. The economy nearly collapsed as the nation’s output was severely reduced, causing inflation to soar. While prior research on the immediate humanitarian crisis in South Sudan has focused on forced displacement and food insecurity, there is little information available about the long-term impact the war had on human capital accumulation in this context. This analysis exploits spatial variation in exposure to violence to estimate the causal impact of the recent civil war on primary school enrollment as a proxy for measuring human capital accumulation. Results based on the difference-in-differences methodology indicate a statistically significant relationship between school enrollment and the war. The study shows that schools located in the South Sudanese war zones lost 85 children per year on average, or 18.5 percent of total enrollment. The diminishing trends in girls’ enrollment are unrelated to the war, which is not surprising; social barriers, including gendered domestic roles, early marriage, and out-of-wedlock pregnancies, have long impeded female educational opportunities in South Sudan. These effects are robust to a number of specifications, including holding constant school-level fixed effects and adjusting for the standard errors. The article presents important policy implications for education and the labor market, both locally and internationally.
How Cognitive and Psychosocial Difficulties Affect Learning Outcomes: A Study of Primary School Children in Syria
Grace Anyaegbu, Caroline Carney, Holly-Jane Howell, Alaa Zaza, and Abdulkader Alaeddin
Meeting the education needs of children is increasingly recognized as a necessary part of humanitarian response in emergencies. Experiences of war, dislocation, and trauma are known to affect children’s psychosocial wellbeing. Less is known about how mental health and psychosocial wellbeing affect children’s learning in emergencies. In this article, we examine this effect among children experiencing the crisis in Syria. The data we use are from children (N=7,191) who received educational support in northwest Syria from November 2018 to May 2019. We used the literacy levels reported by teachers to measure student learning, and the Washington Group Questions to measure cognitive or psychosocial difficulties. The average length of time between moving up a literacy level was 64 days. We fit mixed ordinal models to assess the associations between having one, every, or multiple cognitive and psychosocial difficulties. Having a single cognitive or psychosocial difficulty was associated with poorer learning progress. Children with two or more cognitive or psychosocial difficulties were less likely to progress as far as those without any such difficulties. The findings suggest that psychosocial and cognitive support for children in emergencies is needed, not just for their wellbeing but to enable them to learn effectively.
A Proof-of-Concept Study of Can’t Wait to Learn: A Digital Game-Based Learning Program for Out-of-School Children in Lebanon
Jasmine S. Turner, Karine Taha, Nisreen Ibrahim, Koen I. Neijenhuijs, Eyad Hallak, Kate Radford, Hester Stubbé-Alberts, Thomas de Hoop, Mark J. D. Jordans, and Felicity L. Brown
Evaluations of education technology (ed tech) interventions in humanitarian settings are scarce. We present a proof-of-concept study of Can’t Wait to Learn, a digital game-based learning program that combines an experiential, active learning design with meaningful, competency-appropriate, and contextually relevant content. We assessed the feasibility of using this program to address the current education gap in Lebanon by implementing its mathematics component in basic literacy and numeracy classes (n=30) with out-of-school children (n=390) ages 10-14. We estimated changes in numeracy competency and psychosocial wellbeing and conducted focus group discussions (n=16) and key informant interviews (n=19) with children, facilitators, parents, and partner staff members to understand the lived experience, perceived impact, and implementation challenges of the program. Our findings support the feasibility of using ed tech programs to meet the needs of out-of-school children, as we saw significant improvements in numeracy, psychological symptoms, and self-esteem; positive reported experiences with the program; increased motivation among the children; and overall ease of implementation. Our suggested improvements to the game design and implementation model will support ongoing program adaptation and implementation, with the goal of increasing access to quality education for children living in humanitarian settings. Our findings will inform future studies that seek to conclusively determine the program’s effectiveness.
The Role of Technical and Vocational Education in Social Reintegration: Insights from Colombian Ex-Combatants
Maria Paulina Arango-Fernández and Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski
Reintegration programs for ex-combatants around the globe promote their technical and vocational education and training (TVET). The aim is to help them develop skills, assume new social roles, and gain community acceptance, yet the experiences and perceptions of the ex-combatants who participate in these programs have been little explored. Thus, it is not known whether this group finds access to TVET useful in building new social networks, which is a critical factor in preventing further violence and achieving social cohesion. This in-depth interview study with female and male ex-combatants from Medellín, Colombia, who are at various stages of TVET engagement examined their perceptions of whether and how TVET contributed to their social reintegration. The findings illustrate that some forms of TVET promoted psychosocial recovery and build social bonds, whereas other types reinforced isolation and segregation. This study also found that the TVET programs overlooked the ex-combatants’ limitations on socializing that were imposed by their violent environments and feelings of stigmatization. These findings suggest a need to complement education programs for economic development with approaches that help develop social bonds and trust between ex-combatants and their communities.
Landscape Analysis of Early Childhood Development and Education in Emergencies
Liliana Angélica Ponguta, Kathryn Moore, Divina Varghese, Sascha Hein, Angela Ng, Aseel Fawaz Alzaghoul, Maria Angélica Benavides Camacho, Karishma Sethi, and Majd Al-Soleiti
Despite the vast amount of research that supports investing in early childhood development and education in emergencies (ECDEiE), this area of programming continues to be underprioritized and underfunded. We applied a strategic problem-solving framework to systematically address the challenge of low access to ECDEiE in the global context. Specifically, we addressed three root causes of this problem: low prioritization of ECDEiE across sectors; the lack of a systematic characterization of the ECDEiE institutional and programmatic landscapes; and limited consensus on strategic advocacy for ECDEiE. To address these issues, we applied a mixed methods approach. We administered an online global stocktaking survey to 118 respondents, including those working in humanitarian aid, ECDEiE, government, and academia. We also reviewed the gray literature (N=218 documents). We discuss our six main findings in order to inform strategic initiatives that could be used to increase access to ECDEiE globewide.
Media coverage and foreign policy around the globe often spread messages of fear about the possible radicalization of the world’s growing youth population. More nuance was brought into these debates in 2015 by UN Security Council Resolution 2250 and the subsequent Global Study on Youth, Peace, and Security (Simpson 2018), while specific attention was directed at the potential of education to support young people’s agency for peacebuilding. In this reflective piece, I aim to bring a fresh perspective to current education in emergencies thinking and offer insights into how a regenerative approach to education can help reshape it to prepare the younger generations to respond effectively to peacebuilding and to the related “wicked challenges.” I bring together two existing conceptual frameworks—the 4Rs (Novelli, Lopes Cardozo, and Smith 2017) and Tomaševski’s 4As (2005; see also Shah and Lopes Cardozo 2019)—that are directly relevant to the education in emergencies field. Building on this conceptual work, I adopt a regenerative lens on reconciliation and engage a law of three framework to encourage a deeper understanding of education’s transgressive potential to inspire alternative, reconciliatory paths toward peacebuilding. I will invite and encourage you, the reader, to apply these regenerative conceptual explorations to your own experience. The aim of this conceptual exploration is to inspire the development of “smartly radical” questions; to support research, policy, and practice design that is more critically informed and consciousness driven; and, finally, to support the transformative potential of education systems and stakeholders to serve younger generations more effectively and enable them to respond to “glocal” challenges in ways that are mindful, conscious, and effective.
Beyond Numbers: The Use and Usefulness of Data for Education in Emergencies
Elizabeth Buckner, Daniel Shephard, and Anne Smiley
Recognizing the lack of knowledge about how to improve data systems for education in emergencies (EiE), we examine in this article how EiE professionals use data and what makes data “useful” to them. Drawing from 48 semistructured interviews from a purposive sample of professionals working in the EiE field across the humanitarian, development, and stabilization sectors, we explored the primary ways EiE professionals use data. Using inductive and emergent coding, we identified the key themes, which we then disaggregated by participants’ sector and role in EiE operations. Our findings indicate that there is a common need across sectors for data that inform operations. However, participants working at a national or local level spoke the most about operational uses of data and the least about strategic uses, such as policymaking and advocating. Meanwhile, there was a notable emphasis among actors at the global level on strengthening data systems and their strategic uses. In this article, we also highlight the myriad nontechnical factors that shaped participants’ perceptions of usefulness, including the politicization of data, users’ expertise in analysis, and personal and institutional relationships. We argue that conversations about improving data for use in EiE must not focus exclusively on tools or techniques but also on people, institutions, and contexts.
In this field note, I explore the community coalition model Creative Associates International and its partners employed to provide nonformal education to out-of-school displaced children and youth in northern Nigeria under the USAID-funded Education Crisis Response project. While there is no evidence directly linking community involvement to improved education outcomes in crisis- and conflict-affected contexts, the existing literature and final project results point to its importance in the education in emergencies field. In this field note, I briefly shed light on the education landscape in northern Nigeria, offer global evidence on the impact of community participation in education in low-income and crisis- and conflict-affected contexts, and describe the promise a community-led model employed by the Education Crisis Response project holds for improving education access for out-of-school internally displaced children and youth. I also describe the community mobilization and capacity-building approach adopted for the project and its success in providing access to education for more than 80,000 learners in a volatile region.
Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in Literacy and Teacher Training in Afghanistan
Susan Ayari, Agatha J. van Ginkel, Janet Shriberg, Benjamin Gauley, and Sarah Maniates
This field note contributes to understanding of the challenges in and opportunities for supporting social and emotional learning (SEL) in the education in emergencies context, with a particular focus on embedding social and emotional skills into literacy learning in the early grades of primary school. In Afghanistan, the current reality is that many children and their teachers have been exposed repeatedly to adversity and highly stressful situations, such as attacks on their schools. Research shows that exposure to crises affects learning and the wellbeing of students and teachers alike. In this article, we describe how SEL was embedded in the early grade literacy curriculum and teacher training in Afghanistan, and in education support systems and practices. We further elaborate on the challenges faced and lessons learned throughout this process. The experience of integrating SEL into an early grade literacy curriculum has been positive, and initial feedback on the approach suggests that it promises to continue to be so. However, further research is needed in both Afghanistan and other contexts to more fully understand the impact of embedding different SEL practices in early grade reading materials and classrooms, and in preservice and in-service teacher training. Note: This field note was written prior to the change of government in Afghanistan in August 2021.
Fishing in the Desert: Empowering Sustainable Development through Higher Education in Kakuma Refugee Camp
Dieu Merci Luundo, interviewed by Paul O’Keeffe
In this commentary, Paul O’Keeffe speaks with Dieu Merci Luundo, the founder of Vijana Twaweza Youth Club in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp. Luundo discusses how he translated his courses on human rights and global health, which he took at the University of Geneva in Kakuma, into community action. What began with Luundo’s lone effort to raise fish in a small pond and grow vegetables in a modest garden, Vijana Twaweza Youth Club has grown in membership and scope to become an internationally recognized, award-winning program in the fight against climate change and poor nutrition in Kakuma.
In her review of Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine by Catherine Besteman, Kelsey A. Dalrymple highlights the importance of historical frames, like the one Besteman uses, for understanding present-day EiE practice. Drawing from a seven-year ethnographic study, Besteman tells the story of Somali Bantu communities who were displaced to refugee camps in Kenya. They carried their histories of subjugation, enslavement, and minority status with them during their resettlement and attempts to assimilate in the United States. Dalrymple concludes that the book is an important reminder of the role education can play in refugee groups’ identity formation and in cultural change.
In her review of Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds: A Refugee’s Search for Home by Mondiant Dogon (with Jenna Krajeski), Elisabeth King sets Dogon’s first-person account of his own forced migration, conscription, and educational journey against some of the most common misconceptions about refugees and their lives. As a self-described “forever refugee,” Dogon forces readers to reconsider displacement or asylum as a “temporary” status. Having earned a master’s degree in international education in New York City, Dogon counters the notion that refugees do not have ambitions for higher education. Dogon’s story of perseverance is one that King says should remind readers not only of the roots of the EiE field but of the work that remains.