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Piloting a Safer Learning Environment Qualitative Assessment Toolkit in Four Countries

Mon, March 26, 11:30am to 1:00pm, Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico, Floor: Lobby Floor, Room A

Group Submission Type: Panel Session

Proposal

Learning objectives:
• To become aware of a rapid qualitative methodology / process for doing action research, particularly useful in constantly changing / risky environments
• To appreciate the importance of piloting data collection toolkits
• To see examples of this toolkit being used to inform programming
• To consider approaches to collaboration across organizations / teams using the same toolkit
• To see how a well-designed research toolkit can also contribute to local researcher capacity building
Education continues to be an essential component to improved livelihoods and socioeconomic growth. Children and youth in crisis and conflict environments, however, face particular and complex challenges related to schooling, in particular in terms of their ability to access a Safe Learning Environment (SLE). Identifying the specific risks (threats to their safety) children and youth face by being in / going to or from a learning environment – and also the ways that they already try to or successfully overcome those risks – is critical in order to then understand how to effectively program to try to help communities and schools overcome those risks. Without a clear vision of the learning environment, programs often do not achieve results, are unsustainable and most significantly, may exacerbate conflict and/or crisis possibly harming the individuals they seek to benefit. Different risks to safety require different interventions to respond, but often the nature of those specific risks (and what is already in place to try to overcome them – the assets) are not known to programmers. To overcome this gap in knowledge, this SLE Qualitative Assessment Toolkit aims to provide users with a more nuanced picture of the risks and assets present so that they may use that evidence to design, implement, and adapt programs to be context-specific and conflict-sensitive.
The second round of piloting of this 2.0 version of the toolkit (first round took place in El Salvador and Somalia in 2016) took place in June – September 2017 in the learning environments in refugee camps in Jordan (Relief International) and Lebanon (World Learning), and in school communities in Philippines and Honduras (ChildFund). The piloting process was critical in development of the final toolkit. The panel begin with a presentation by Karla Sarr and Gwen Heaner (USAID ECCN) to describe the rigorous piloting process and then each of the piloting teams will describe:
• How the toolkit was useful for them (e.g. the benefit of considering specific risks to safety instead of safety as single concept; the utility of having a prescriptive approach to all phases of research; capacity building of local field team)
• What piloting organizations learned about the learning environments they were working in and how they planned / adapted programs based on those learnings.
• How piloting teams collaborated with one another to help facilitate the process
• Ideas for future collaboration on this toolkit (and others)

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