Studying the use of Accelerated Education principles in Kenya and Sierra Leone

During January 2017, CIE second year Master’s student Kayla Boisvert and doctoral student Jenn Flemming conducted research for the inter-agency Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG), looking at implementation of the AEWG’s 10 key principles for accelerated education programs (AEPs), currently being pilot-tested in 5 programs in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Mali and Afghanistan.


Kayla spent a week at Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya looking at a Refugee Education Trust AEP for secondary education, then a week in Sierra Leone investigating a Save the Children AEP for primary education. Jenn spent a week and a half at Dadaab, studying a Norwegian Refugee Council AEP for primary-aged children.


The objective of these reviews was to determine how the programs are implementing the AEWG key principles, how the programs view the principles and guidance documents provided, and how the principles are linked to program outcomes.


Kayla and Jenn worked with program staff and community members, including head teachers, teachers, parent committee members, and student groups. They conducted focus groups, interviews, child-friendly activities and school walkthroughs to see the facilities and observe teaching methods. They also conducted two workshops with on- and off-site program staff at RET, NRC, and Save. They met with the Dadaab Education Working Group (led by UNHCR) and District Education Officers in each location as well.


“For me personally, it was a really good experience to develop qualitative research skills,” said Kayla, commenting on the experience.


She also found it valuable to be able to work in collaboration with Jenn in Kenya: “Working together as researchers, reflecting on the data together—I think the quality of the data we got was much higher because we were working together.”


In addition, Kayla found links to her broader professional interests: “Save the Children was doing a lot to involve the community in the design and implementation of the project. As this is a professional interest of mine, it was really interesting to see how that is happening,” she said. “I also have a lot of interest in how programs are collecting data and adapting accordingly, and that seems to be something they’re doing really well too.”


Both Kayla and Jenn are research assistants with the USAID Education in Conflict and Crisis Network (ECCN) project team at CIE.