Teamwork is the norm across all walks of life. In the classroom, teachers make every effort to help students work together. Similarly, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) strives to do this at the country level in its demand for partners to collaborate with each other in helping countries improve education. Teams working at the country level are often referred to as the “Local Education Group (LEG).”
This may sound like GPE development jargon. Not quite…
Local Education Groups involve all major development partners (multilateral agencies, NGOs, and the private sector and private foundations) under the lead of the country government. Together they devise strategies that will help the largest number of children receive a good quality education. The combined knowledge of all partners contributes to achieve better and lasting results.
The Global Partnership expects the lead donor appointed by the Local Education Group to lead this effort of building teams. The Global Partnership refers to the lead donor as the “Coordinating Agency.” The task of building teams based on collaboration and coordination among government, donors and NGOs is not an easy task. More so when these teams have the mandate of making sure all children go to school and learn to read and write.
UNICEF is the Coordinating Agency for Sierra Leone. Recently, UNICEF undertook a very important but risky task of turning the spotlight on itself. The UNICEF commissioned a study on whether it was doing its job — promoting teamwork and cultivating collaboration among different members of the Local Education Group. The report by Anna Haas, was based on interviews with 22 stakeholders working in Sierra Leone, a review of various documents and participation in the annual review of the education sector.
The report found that UNICEF as Coordinating Agency in Sierra Leone ”…fostered strong coordination of the education sector.” Taking into account the “Partnership Principles” developed by the Local Education Group, the Coordinating Agency held regular meetings, shared information, enabled the participation and contribution of each member of the group and highlighted the importance of government leadership and accountability for reform.
Overall this report commends UNICEF in Sierra Leone for taking its role as the Coordinating Agency seriously and for the variety of initiatives introduced to build a strong and effective partnership. UNICEF will continue to reflect on the expectations and responsibilities of a Coordinating Agency especially in promoting effective policy discussions and encouraging partners to work together to help every child in Sierra Leone receive quality education.