Education in Conflict & Crisis Network - CIE with EDC (2014-2019)

The USAID Education in Crisis and Conflict Network (USAID ECCN) is a community of practice composed of USAID education staff, implementing partners and others working to increase equitable access to, and improve the quality of, education in crisis and conflict affected environments. USAID ECCN was initiated to promote knowledge generation and sharing among practitioners, policy makers and researchers related to Goal 3 of the USAID Education Strategy: improved equitable access to education in crisis and conflict affected environments. 


To help implement the USAID ECCN, the Center for International Education (CIE) has been awarded a five-year, $1.6 million sub-contract from the Education Development Center (EDC).  CIE will focus on developing the research and evaluation activities within the project.


The ECCN research team is currently conducting multiple strands of research related to the broad project goals. At CIE, Ash Hartwell is directing research related to theories of change (TOC), adaptive management, and evidence utilization. Working with theories of change involves development of a comprehensive review of the literature and usage of adaptive management strategies for education development projects. The TOC strategies are particularly relevant and useful for crisis and conflict contexts, which are dynamic and benefit particularly from adaptive, flexible implementation that is locally driven. Over the past year, research assistants Julia Novrita and Jenn Flemming have worked with Ash to produce a Theory of Change Annotated Bibliography, an analysis of USAID solicitation documents for current usage of Theory of Change approaches in EiCC settings, and Guidance Notes for employing an adaptive management strategy to education programs in crisis and conflict-affected environments. 


Simultaneously, ECCN Research Manager, Gwen Heaner is directing the creation of a user-friendly evidence repository, utilizing the tool of data gap maps to highlight the current state of the field’s use of evidence in project implementation. These gap maps seek to connect project interventions with outcomes via the presence of various types of evidence (academic literature, organizational literature, project evaluations, experience of ECCN community) in order to facilitate more effective use of such evidence in project development. 


ECCN has also contributed to a variety of events during the past year: 

  • In September of 2015 Ash Hartwell, along with Wendy Wheaton from Creative Associates, designed and ran an ECCN field workshop in Northern Nigeria. Using simulations this workshop helped educators and officials address questions like: How does conflict impact education? How do we design education programs that truly are conflict-sensitive? How can we collaboratively analyze, interpret and use data and evidence in order to improve educational programming?


  • In March 2016, ECCN hosted six panels, including " Identifying Data Gaps and Building Evidence for Theories of Change in Education in Conflict and Crisis Environments” in which Gwen Heaner and Jenn Flemming presented recent work done at CIE. 


  • In June 2016, the Inter-Agency Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG), lead by Ash Hartwell, held a webcast that introduced the new Accelerated Education pocket guide, featuring 10 key principles of Accelerated Education. Presenters covered the development, importance and potential application of the Accelerated Education pocket guide and an overview of the 10 principles to guide development and implementation of Accelerated Education programming. 


  • The project has run two workshops on adaptive management for program implementation - one in Ethiopia and one in Bangkok. The Ethoipia workshop used a simulation of "Nyambia" a fictitious country in Central Africa as a training vehicle. Research assistant Kayla Boisvert contributed to the development of a training simulation based on "Kampustan" a fictional country in SE Asia for the Bangkok workshop.


For further information on ECCN, please visit the project website or contact Ash Hartwell