The Local Education Group (LEG) is at the centre of monitoring implementation of Education Sector Plans (ESP). It comprises of Government, Development Partners and Civil Society. It is a platform that we as non-state actors utilize to hold those in government accountable for promises made in education. When this platform is none existent or ineffective, the voice of civil society in education sector processes is weakened. This has been the plight of the Eswatini Coalition for the past 3 years.

In trying to bring back the LEG processes, SWANCEFA engaged a number of leaders within the Ministry of Education and Training and development partners with no success since the Ministry’s leaders were not keen to continue the communication with GPE. Seeing that all our efforts were not successful, we also engaged international partners that might have influence to those making decisions from within our government. This included the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA).

In November 2019 the country GPE Focal person visited Eswatini and held several meetings with the Government and Civil Society. This led to the LEG having its first meetings after a long time and it saw SWANCEFA been elected as the Coordinating Agency-CA. We were later informed by the GPE Education Specialist that this was the first of its kind in Africa that a Coalition be elected for the position of the Coordination Agency. As the nominations were being held, some in the LEG believed that SWANCEFA be the Grant Agency. When we were nominated for that position we declined because we did not have the capacity to manage this grant since SWANCEFA secretariat is a staff compliment of four. Instead SWANCEFA nominated UNICEF. Being elected for the CA position is indeed a huge milestone for the Coalition after three years of lobbying for the partnership with GPE to be a reality.

The main role of SWANCEFA as the CA is to support effective dialogue between development partners and the government around the country policy cycle. Also SWANCEFA is expected to promote the inclusion of key education stakeholders such as CSOs and teacher unions in policy dialogue and promoting sector coordination. The CA’s key role in a nutshell is LEG meetings coordination, the LEG documents, agendas, minutes, presentations and communication with the GPE Secretariat while ensuring that correspondence from the GPE Secretariat is shared with LEG members.

As the CA, the Coalition will further monitor the implementation of the ESPDG grant, of which implementation has since commenced, to ensure that the grant benefits the education system. The Eswatini’s ESPDG grant was approved by the GPE on the 17th January 2020 after application in November, 2019 and the total grant amount is $500,000 plus $35,000 Grant Agency fee.

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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.