Rapid response: programming for education needs in emergencies
by Jonathan Penson and Kathryn Tomlinson

 

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Why do United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organizations repeatedly use the same initiatives for children in responding to educational needs in a time of crisis? Is it because school feeding, education kits, and child-friendly spaces have been proven to provide the best responses for children in these circumstances, or because communities request these particular responses? Or is the regular use of these initiatives driven by the organizations themselves, by their structures, advocacy or fundraising needs?

This book reports on new research that seeks to answer these questions by examining the influences on educational programming in emergencies caused by conflict. Jonathan Penson and Kathryn Tomlinson take an in-depth look at the development of such standardized education responses to emergencies, and consider the consequences of such widespread use of standardized initiatives. The authors draw on interviews with over 80 specialists across the globe, and provide case studies of how these dynamics play out on the ground in Lebanon, Uganda, Sudan and Timor-Leste.

The book argues that while donor policy, publicity needs, and community desires do affect programming, they are of minor significance in regard to what is programmed. Rather, the very standardized nature of the programmes in question helps ensure that they are used time and again, irrespective of circumstances. Suggestions are given for moving away from this cycle towards more community-responsive educational programming.

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