PSIPSE grantees working across eight countries on over sixty projects came together for three-days in Kampala, Uganda to share learnings from their experiences developing, testing, expanding, and scaling innovative interventions in secondary education and to collaborate to drive systematic change in secondary education. In the spirit of collaboration for impact, the Democratic Republic of Congo was able to learn from India, Kenya from Nigeria. With support from the Mastercard Foundation, Echidna Giving, the MacArthur Foundation and Dubai Cares, we were indeed stronger together.
The convening was designed to inspire peer learning, networking, institutional strengthening and commitment, objectives that were achieved through innovative agenda planning and a willingness to embrace new initiatives. The hard work put in by members of the advisory committee was evident in both the agenda itself and in the enthusiasm that shone out in the breakout sessions, many of which were led by advisory committee members.
Inspired by the call to action of Mastercard’s Hajra Zahid and Wellspring’s Joyce Malombe in the opening session, many teams gave great support to their peers with their contributions to the thematic and tools workshops. Indeed the community of practice group on systems change, led by Stir Education’s Sharath Jeevan and Firelight’s Joshua Kyallo, was well on the way to making a fully drawn up plan by the time the convening closed on November 2nd.
One of the key sessions that informed the whole convening was Mathematica’s presentation of its 2016 monitoring report. This highlighted achievements and applauded success but also pointed out areas for improvement and innovation that emerged in the course of their study. Its lessons learned section highlighted the importance of working with men and boys to change attitudes on girls secondary education, and of creating strategic communications plans targeting governments that align with their own priorities. Grantees found the report’s contextual risks and opportunities section particularly useful.
Breakouts were designed to encourage engagement around both themes and country based activities, allowing grantees to take full advantage of all being together in the same place with time and space to collaborate. These were supported by eleven tools-based workshops on Day Two offering hands-on training on topics that included MEL, design thinking, scale-up, data-driven decision making, and more. Throughout the three-day conference, grantees were also able to sign-up for 90-minute one-on-one coaching sessions with Mathematica Policy Research and Well Made Strategy tailored to their specific projects needs around MEL and Communications, respectively.
Day Three saw the focus change to policy with policy makers from Rwanda, India, Uganda and Nigeria interacting with grantees in a lively debate about scale-up and working in partnerships. We were greatly privileged to have such support from policy makers who gave us a useful insight in to how and why they make decisions.
The convening closed with a vote of thanks from Hawah Nabbuye of Educate! who encouraged us all to continue our support for each other and for secondary education worldwide.