Ellie Wason is a campaigner with the Brighton RESULTS Group and has just attended the RESULTS International Conference (22-25 July) in Washington DC for the first time.
One of RESULTS’ key themes in campaigning for poverty reduction is education. The importance of education in eliminating poverty has received attention at the RESULTS International Conference in Washington DC, where we have heard from RESULTS staff and a diverse range of other civil society groups about the initiatives to support education policies and funding, and the advocacy actions we can take to help achieve this.
Participating in advocacy activities in the UK as part of local groups has been a successful strategy to influence UK policymakers and parliamentarians to support initiatives aiming to tackle poverty. As part of these groups, we advocate on education issues, such as supporting the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which supports low-income countries to develop national education systems. We have been calling on the UK Government to pledge its financial support for the GPE to enable it to continue its important work to improve access to and quality of education for millions of children worldwide.
I’ve learnt over the course of the RESULTS International Conference that this is only a small – but important – part of the picture. Our international advocacy focuses on gaining and retaining support from donor countries including the UK, for initiatives which benefit people and organisations in other countries. But in order for these initiatives to be successful, advocacy work has to continue at the national and local level.
In listening to the various fascinating education sessions throughout the conference, all have talked about how, once funding has been received from international sources, these other levels of advocacy are vital to holding donors and governments to account for the way that education plans are implemented. The success of the GPE, for example, relies on national and local advocacy to secure political will for the adoption of good education policies. Recognising this, it puts funding into local civil society groups through the Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF), which encourages local citizen action in policy processes. This has the double benefit of ensuring that governments fulfil their responsibility of providing good quality education, and equally builds up capacity of civil society to campaign locally and nationally.
Learning about the advocacy work that goes on outside the UK has helped me place the work that we do in a chain of actions. The international advocacy that RESULTS UK does helps increase or sustain support for initiatives such as the GPE. However without passing on the baton of this advocacy to other partners, the chain would have a crucial missing link.