Using evidence to drive change
Case examples from the Civil Society Education Fund programme
It is said that every dollar spent on research is worth ten spent on lobbying, and that evidence works as fuel for advocacy. During 2016 and 2017, 38 national coalitions worked on research for advocacy, and the results are clear: the use of relevant documentation, credible research, data collection and evidence building are key to inform education policy.
From this important body of work, we selected case examples from 11 coalitions in Africa (Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone), Asia (Indonesia, Philippines), Eastern Europe and the Middle East (Moldova, Sudan) and Latin America (Bolivia, Honduras) which were particularly insightful in terms of best practices and lessons learned.
The selected coalitions opted for various type of research, most of them relying on partners, experts and external consultants, to conduct and finalise the analysis. Coalitions worked on topics as diverse as privatisation, inclusive education, education financing and taxation, school attendance, teacher trainings, accountability on SDG4, conflicts and the realisation of the human right of education.
Despite the disparate national contexts some key points contributed to the overall successes of the coalition studied: the relevance and timeliness of the study; the involvement of partners and discussions with policy-makers; solid evidence-based and fact-grounded reports; and a strong engagement and communications strategy to disseminate the findings of the research.
The research, both qualitative and quantitative, were grounded in fact-checking, interviews, thorough data collection and reviews, and they helped coalition strengthen their credibility, profile, and policy advocacy. In many cases (like in Sierra Leone and Indonesia), the reports had direct impact on the national education policy debate, and positively influenced the decisions made by stakeholders.
Through this paper, GCE aims to deliver shared best practices and learnings. The lessons are linked to guiding tips on good practices in effective research for advocacy. Research is a key vehicle to mobilising public pressure on governments to fulfill their education commitments. GCE remains committed to investing in research and analyses to inform advocacy strategies and defend education as a basic human right.