Foto: Illustration Tomas Drefvelin

Improving Learning Environments Together (ILET) is a package using assessments for improving learning environments in humanitarian contexts through community participation.

In June 2016, the ILET project was launched by Save the Children with funds from ECHO (European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The aim is to improve the delivery of quality education in emergencies and respond to the need for more and better evidence of what works in education in emergencies.

- If we want anything to be sustainable, we must work with the communities. ILET will help, says Tove Wang, Save the Children Norway CEO.

Foto: AHMAD ZAKOUR
Feedback of findings and discussion session with the children during ILET pilot project, North West Syria.

Holistic approach

Save the Children Quality Learning Framework

The ILET embraces Save the Children’s conceptual framework of quality education, which was adopted in 2017 across development and humanitarian programming. This is the Quality Learning Framework (QLF). 

Recognizing a holistic, child-focused and child rights informed approach to education, the Quality Learning Framework outlines five foundations that provide a basis for the wellbeing and learning of all children: emotional and psychosocial protection, physical protection, teaching and learning, parents and community, and school leadership and management. See Save the Children EiE framing document for more information on applying the QLF in emergencies.

What is ILET?

ILET is a package that helps tackle the above issues in a practical way. The primary aim of ILET is to empower communities to improve the quality of the learning environment through a participatory, sustainable process. The ILET package is comprised of several tools. See figure 4 for an overview of the documents and tools in the package. These include:

  • Guidance documents: Overview Document, Step-by-Step Guide and Training Manual.
  • Data management: Data Management Platform, Data Management Handbook and Data Collection Tools.
  • Program templates: Findings Card Template and School Improvement Plan Template

One beta and two pilots were run; the beta pilot in Greece in January 2017, the first proper pilot in North West Syria from May 2017, and a second pilot in Uganda from July 2017. The aim was to test the approach and package and collect evidence on successes and needed improvements.

Pilot country Uganda

Foto: Save the Children
A School Improvement Planning session with teachers and parents in a primary school for South Sudanese children during ILET pilot project in Adjumani, Uganda.

The ILET package was piloted in five schools/learning spaces in Adjumani, North West Uganda, between July 2017 and February 2018. The pilot was incorporated into the then relatively recently established EiE response for South Sudanese refugee children.

The pilot was led by a full-time ILET coordinator and an information management officer. The first round of data collection took one week and was completed in early August, while data analysis took three weeks. Feedback sessions were delivered to the five learning spaces during the first week of September, and all SIPs were developed by the end of September. Round two of data collection was completed in February upon the opening of schools.

Findings from round two showed improvements in all schools across all foundations. Also, the pilot in Uganda built on strong partnerships and mobilization among local communities. The District Education Office delegated its coordinating center tutors and district inspector of schools to participate in the data collection and SIP planning. The findings from the pilot also fed into advocacy efforts with the District Education Office, and were built into other proposals.

Parents and community members volunteered and came up with low-cost activities such as cleaning the compounds and setting up volleyball playgrounds. ILET was also very well-received by other EiE actors who expressed an interest in scaling-up the same approach in all the schools they were supporting, as they could see the noticeable improvements in the five piloted learning spaces while valuing the community mobilization and participation elements.

Way forward: The Uganda office is working in a consortium scaling-up the ILET program to 31 schools in three districts in the North West region, in a new ECHO-supported project running from April 2018 until April 2019.

Pilot country Syria

Foto: Save the Children
Paintings of the school code of conduct as an activity of the participatory School Improvement Plan during ILET pilot project, North West Syria.

The ILET package was piloted in five schools/learning spaces in Idlib and Aleppo governorates, North West Syria, between May 2017 and May 2018. The pilot was incorporated into the four-year-old EiE response in North West Syria, covering permanent schools and temporary learning spaces catering for host and IDP children.

The pilot was led by Save the Children International’s education program manager, who was coordinating the implementation through our partner inside Syria. Due to limited human resources, the first round of data collection took a total of five weeks and was completed in early August.

In September, schools were temporarily closed due to airstrikes for six weeks, and homeschooling was introduced. The pilot was then resumed in October where feedback sessions were delivered to the five learning spaces, and all SIPs were completed by the first week of November. Round two of data collection overcame the challenges faced by the first round, and a team of 12 enumerators was trained. Data collection was completed in one week by the end of January.

Findings from round two showed improvement in all schools across all foundations. The pilot in Syria has, for the first time in years, introduced a comprehensive, practical and evidence-based package for delving deeper into assessing and planning quality education.

The project was well-received by implementing agencies inside Syria, where more than 118 participants attended the launch event in April 2018 in Idlib organized by Save the Children International’s implementing partners. Representatives of the different agencies expressed the urgency and relevance of such a package that allows for community mobilization and a comprehensive discussion around quality education.  

Way forward: The Syria team is scaling-up the pilot to 20 learning spaces as part of their planned EiE response during the 2018/2019 year.

Resources

To know more about ILET, what it is, who can use it, when it should be used and how, download ILET Overview Document.

To get the full package with all the tools and templates, you can download the ILET package here >

To sign up for ILET newsletter, please subscribe following the link here >

If you have any questions or comments, please write to: ilet@reddbarna.no 

Overview of documents in the ILET package.