The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today awarded EDC a literacy innovation grant as part of the international education competition All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development.
Drawing on their expertise in mobile learning (m-learning), EDC staff members will present several innovative ideas at the second annual mEducation Alliance International Symposium. The conference, which will focus on using mobile technologies to improve literacy and job skills and create partnerships, will be held September 5–7 in Washington, D.C.
The Somali Interactive Radio Instruction Program (SIRIP) provides high-quality interactive audio programs to Somali children attending formal, non-governmental, Quranic and community schools. With the assistance of the audio programs, teachers lead the classes and are thus trained in interactive teaching methods which include stories, activities, educational songs and other forms of active learning pedagogy. Supplemental materials accompany the programs, providing schools with the resources to support sound, primary-level instruction.
The Shaqodoon program was created to provide Somali youth with greater access to training, internships, work and self-employment opportunities in order to productively engage youth and add to the stability and development of the region. Shaqodoon is Somali for “jobseekers”.
What does it take to help youth be the best they can be? The Garissa Youth (G-Youth) Project in Kenya is helping one community answer that question by providing opportunities for education, skills building, and entrepreneurship. Listen as program participants and EDC staff discuss the ways in which G-Youth is opening doors to the future for the young people of Garissa.
Why he’s leaving: Mike Laflin, 65, has retired as senior vice president at Education Development Center, where he oversaw international-development programs. He had worked for the Waltham, Mass., charity for nearly 20 years. His successor is Larry Lai.
Background: After three years as an English teacher in his native Britain, Mr. Laflin taught in Kenya under a British aid program in 1972. The Kenyan Ministry of Education later transferred him to the school’s broadcasting service to write and direct educational radio programs.
Proudest accomplishment: Building a nationwide program that provided educational instruction over the radio to students in Zambia, which has lost many teachers to HIV/AIDS and where schools are scarce in rural areas. Communities organize sites where children meet for half-hour daily broadcasts for each grade, overseen by a local volunteer. Students who receive the radio instruction perform at the same level as their peers in conventional schools on tests for fourth graders. “It showed that there were other ways to meet the demand for education than just saying schools are the answer or we need to train more teachers,” says Mr. Laflin.
Challenges for international development: Mr. Laflin worries that the trend toward data-driven grant making, while understandable, is curtailing experimentation and research. “If you are looking for evidence, you’re by definition looking to the past or the present, but not to the future.”
What’s next: Mr. Laflin plans to return to writing and theater, interests he had to put aside because of the frequent travel his job required. In the early 1980s, Mr. Laflin co-wrote two musical comedies that were staged at Washington’s Folger Theatre. One of the plays was a huge success while the other was a flop, says Mr. Laflin. “That sort of told me, ‘Well, you can’t really do this and be going to Liberia every few months,’ ” he says. “They’re just not compatible.”
Since 1991, EDC staff have served as consultants and advisors to the World Health Organization (WHO) and have authored numerous publications for WHO on global school health issues. Additionally, EDC maintains the WHO Collaborating Center to Promote Health Through Schools and Communities.
The Center’s goal is to deliver services that strengthen the capacities of schools and communities worldwide to promote the healthy development of students, school personnel, families, and surrounding communities.
IDEJEN is an EQUIP3 Associate Award which was launched in 2003 to provide education and job training for youth ages 15–24 with little to no formal education. IDEJEN provides program participants support in the areas of employability and skills training, basic and vocational education, job placement and small business development. In addition to working directly with youth, IDEJEN provides technical support to different government ministries and is assisting in the development of the National Youth Policy and the Policy on Nonformal Basic Education.
In the 1990s, HHD, together with World Health Organization (WHO), developed the Rapid Assessment and Action Planning Process (RAAPP) for School Health, an approach and package of tools—research instruments, training strategies, data analysis, and action planning techniques—to assess and strengthen a country’s capacity to deliver school health programs. Since 1999, RAAPP has been used in Indonesia, Nigeria, and, most recently, in India.
USAID, an independent agency that directs the U.S. federal government’s humanitarian assistance program in many sectors, extends aid to countries that are recovering from disaster, works to reduce poverty, and engages in democratic reforms. The Assistance to Basic Education (ABE/BE) initiative is an IQC (Indefinite Quantity Contract) designed to support USAID country offices worldwide by offering them the means to rapidly access high-quality and cost-effective technical expertise and implementation support for their basic education interventions.
CAE edited and managed this international peer-reviewed journal, which was an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Last Acts Task Force on Institutional Innovation. The journal reached more than 8,000 health care providers each month and featured thematic issues that highlighted promising practices and expert commentary.
EDC leads an international team of researchers to learn from and with children who are intensive, long-term users of information and communication technology (ICT). Increasingly recognized as an emerging global phenomenon, “power users of ICT” are challenging us find new ways to nurture their interests and talents in schools and informal learning settings. To that end, EDC gathers baseline data on power users of ICT around the world and creates opportunities to engage them in relevant activities (i.e., First International Symposium on Power Users of ICT, Costa Rica, 2005).
dot-EDU was an information and communication technology (ICT) intervention mechanism for USAID Missions seeking to improve education systems in their respective countries. dot-EDU sought to assist developing countries in strengthening learning systems that improve quality, expand access, and enhance equity through carefully planned applications of digital and broadcast technologies. The dot-EDU mission had two foci. First, dot-EDU provided training and technical assistance to support USAID Missions in developing and implementing technology-assisted applications.
EDC’s Gender, Diversities, and Technology Institute works at the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, culture, and sexual orientation seeking to understand how technology can support the development of democracy and human rights. Projects focus on increasing participation in and distributing ownership of the “new knowledge society” brought about by emerging technologies.
The FunWorks is a digital library of career exploration resources for youth ages 11 to 15. The FunWorks provides “real world” experiences and uses children’s current interests and passions, such as music and sports, to help them explore exciting future careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The site was designed for and by children—over 300 young people have participated in the design and launch of this one-of-a-kind collection from the initial concept to design, usability testing, and launch.
The e-BIZ project’s mission is to help Macedonia’s small and medium enterprises compete globally and domestically by giving them access to information and communications technologies (ICTs). Having access to ICTs enables the country’s businesses to attract and communicate with customers, employ efficient supply and distribution channels, and modernize their business processes. The strengthening and expansion of business that results from ICTs leads to the creation of new jobs. e-BIZ is an initiative of USAID’s dot-ORG program.
EDC’s Health and Human Development Division in Asia works with local partners in four countries in South and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, India, Thailand, and Vietnam—and previously Lao PDR) to provide care and support as well as prevention education to children affected and infected with HIV and AIDS. Project activities include providing financial and in-kind assistance to orphaned children to attend school, vocational training for young people who must support their families, and training peer educators so they can educate their friends in their own communities about HIV prevention.
Education International (EI), EDC, and the World Health Organization work with teacher-union affiliates in nearly 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, and Latin America to prevent new HIV infections, increase the number of learners completing basic education, and mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on achieving Education For All Goals. This work involves a range of activities including training, policy development, advocacy, research, publicity and communications.
EDC is commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to design, develop, and pilot test a Web site based on the Exploring humanitarian law (EHL) materials. Created to improve the efficiency and quality of the EHL program, the Web site will enable the ICRC to disseminate international humanitarian law among adolescents worldwide. The Web site will include online events, interactive content, and resource materials for teachers and teacher educators.
D-RASATI (“my studies” in Arabic) will improve children’s learning environments by repairing and equipping schools, enhance the skills of Lebanon’s public school teachers through in-service training, engage Lebanese students in extracurricular activities, and stimulate increased involvement by communities and parents in local schools. D-RASATI will begin with a nationwide assessment of the needs of each public school, which will be incorporated into a comprehensive action plan. The program will also establish a monitoring and evaluation system to ensure high-quality performance.
Proyecto METAS enables at-risk youth in Honduras gain the job skills, knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and life perspectives needed to create positive futures, as well as providing local companies with the skilled workforce needed to compete in international markets.
The Benin Teacher Motivation and Training (TMT) Project is working to improve training and performance of teachers. TMT consists of a number of simple interventions focused around a key theme—a set of clear expectations for teacher performance based on international standards of excellence. The use of this clear and universal set of standards will ensure that all systems meant to support and motivate teachers are focused on the same issues—improving teachers’ and thereby students’ chances of success.
Core Education Skills for Liberian Youth (CESLY) helped Liberia’s young people develop the skills and attitudes necessary to progress in the conventional academic system, progress with formal and non-formal livelihood training programs, find jobs, or create their own employment, as well maintain healthy lifestyles and participate in their communities.
The Package for Improving Education Quality (PIEQ) project aims to improve French and math learning in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through collaboration with DRC’s National Ministry of Education (MNE), PIEQ builds the capacity of teachers, schools, and communities in three Congolese provinces to increase student learning by improving teaching and the school environment.
A carefully designed course of professional development builds teachers’ knowledge in their subject area and skills in student-centered teaching.