Data and evidence are about more than just numbers, and Education in Emergencies creates impact beyond learning.
Stronger use of data and evidence helps ensure inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all, and education in turn is a critical vehicle to improve physical and mental health, protection, food and nutrition security, and climate resilience. This is why it’s important to make sure data can be transformed into knowledge and evidence on what interventions work to meet the education needs of crisis-affected and displaced children and youth.
The Global Education in Emergencies (EiE) Data & Evidence Summit took place from Tuesday, 6 June to Thursday, 8 June 2023 in Geneva. It was hosted by the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), Education Cannot Wait (ECW), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies (EiE Hub), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Network for International Policies and Cooperation in Education and Training (NORRAG), the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), UNESCO, UNHCR, and UNICEF.
On 6 June, on the margins of the Summit, the Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN in Geneva, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kenya to the UN in Geneva, the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva, INEE, and the EiE Hub hosted a High-Level Reception on Education in Emergencies at the Geneva Graduate Institute.
This was a unique opportunity to bring together the policymakers, ministries of education, academia and practitioners contributing to the EiE Data and Evidence Summit, as well as key cross-sector players in International Geneva, so they could learn from each other and connect.
“Education in emergencies, as well as being a life-saving and life-sustaining intervention in itself, is also a critical vehicle to improve physical and mental health, protection, food and nutrition security, and climate resilience,” said Petra Heusser, Coordinator of the EiE Hub.
“Through this global EiE data & evidence summit, we expect to build on the steadily growing scope and ambition of the Education in Emergencies community,” added Dean Brooks, Director of INEE.
His Excellency Mr. Cleopa Kilonzo Mailu, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kenya to the United Nations in Geneva, spoke about the need for better coordination, anticipation, prevention, and response – all of which require better data collection and sharing.
“You cannot talk about the transition to development unless you have been able to educate the populations affected by crises,” he said. “And it is through accurate data that we will have the evidence on which to both prepare and respond to educational needs in emergencies.”
Alia Al-Khatar-Williams, Deputy Director, Division of Resilience and Solutions from UNHCR, explained some of the key challenges to the effective collection and use of data.
“Our collective goal is really to ensure that the needs of all populations, including the most vulnerable, are included,” she said. “Above all, we have to use better data to make the invisible, visible.”
And finally, Celine Jaggernauth, a feminist and youth activist from Trinidad and Tobago, discussed how local groups and interests can both contribute to and benefit from better data.
“Interventions must be responsive to the needs of their respective communities,” she said. “In times of crisis . . . young people should be included as key stakeholders in data collection, implementation and monitoring and evaluation activities.”
The EiE Data & Evidence Summit is a milestone in a three-year initiative led by INEE and GAC in partnership with ECW, FCDO, IRC, NORRAG, UNESCO, UNHCR, and UNICEF to strengthen the EiE data & evidence ecosystem through the establishment of an EiE Data & Evidence action agenda, and tracking of subsequent progress towards that agenda.
It enabled participants to:
- Critically examine the effectiveness of the existing data and evidence ecosystem, mechanisms and knowledge sharing platforms, as well as coordination across global, regional, and national levels, in order to identify gaps and opportunities to improve the EiE data ecosystem;
- Share promising practices, pathways and processes for generating, sharing, and using data and evidence to strengthen system resilience across the humanitarian-development nexus; and
- Collaborate with key stakeholders working to strengthen data and evidence on education for refugee, internally displaced, and host community children and youth at local, regional, and global levels.
In order to collect and use data effectively, more funding is needed, as existing resources are limited and stretched.
The 2023 Global EiE Data & Evidence Summit will produce an action agenda, which will be published on https://inee.org/. All stakeholders are invited to look out for it.