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RERA Afghanistan

Tue, March 7, 8:00 to 9:30am, Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Georgia 11 (South Tower)

Proposal

Considering the state of Afghanistan in 2001 as it emerged from the Taliban era much progress has been made in the delivery of basic public services – health, education, roads, drinking water and sanitation[1]. However, the current security, political and economic environment put that progress to risk. Anti-government insurgent activities are on the rise, economic opportunities on the decline, and there is an exodus of young talent moving abroad in search of education and economic opportunities. Access to quality education is a significant challenge for the Afghan people, but it ranks high as a desired opportunity. Well publicized are the greater barriers that exist for subsets of certain populations of school-aged children in accessing education.

The Afghan Government and the Ministry of Education suffer survey fatigue. Underlying resistance to further survey activities is a lack of trust in the utility they offer local entities or the belief in the return on value to improve upon the current status quo. The Afghan Children Read project was required to conduct a Rapid Education Risk Analysis (RERA) following award. Given the commitment of USAID and the project to take an Afghan lead approach the RERA had to take a different shape and more specifically focus on the relevance to an early grade reading project. The longer term perspective of building project-ministry and project-community relationships that lead to trust and are able to carry a five-year reform forward to national ownership meant the process was as important as assessment outcomes. In this presentation we will explore the following:
· The rationale and design for the RERA as applied in this post-award context of the Afghan Children Read project, which is a systems strengthening project that engages the Ministry in all aspects of interventions.
· Unique quandaries, constraints and opportunities to seek information that would enhance the project and Ministry’s understanding of the localized context of the project’s implementation environment.
· Interesting highlights and lessons learned from the process of conducting the RERA in this high risk environment.
· Core findings from the assessment influencing how the project and ministry perceives the issues of equitable access to education and the potential solutions emerging from the exercise.
· Overarching considerations for the education in conflict and emergencies community of practice for application of RERA given the unique experience of its application in Afghanistan.

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