Delivering education during conflict (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1209)



Summarise the available evidence on effective support to education system resilience and education service delivery during an active conflict.


Education is important for children’s wellbeing, development and future prospects, as well as for a country’s peace, stability and economic development; and is often a priority for those directly affected. Despite the challenges of delivering education during active conflict it is possible; and UN agencies, NGOs, and donors have supported governments, communities, and local authorities in both government and opposition/rebel controlled areas to do so.

This rapid review summarises available evidence of support to education system resilience and education service delivery during active conflicts, including support provided by parents and communities. Information is provided from case studies of support to education in the West Bank and Gaza, Côte d’Ivoire, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Syria, including in rebel/opposition held areas.

Save the Children’s experience delivering education in conflict resulted in six principles to underpin education interventions in conflict-affected contexts: (i) community buy-in; (ii) participation; (iii) resources (physical and informational); (iv) motivation; (v) understanding; and (vi) legal accountability.

An evaluation of community engagement in education in conflict-affected contexts found that effective support involves 12 steps, which include: (i) coordinating and collaborating; (ii) mapping and power analysis; (iii) creating social cohesion; (iv) identifying issues of concern to community-level stakeholders; (v) creating wider ownership; (vi) developing a plan; (vii) monitoring, evaluating, and ensuring accountability; (viii) carrying out a risk analysis; (ix) allowing groups to organise themselves; (x) capacity strengthening, awareness raising, and/or social behavioural change; (xi) resourcing and implementing the plan; and (xii) feeding back lessons learned to community groups.

Challenges to supporting education in conflict, including support for community engagement, include: (i) lack of access and funding; (ii) the need for long-term commitments of time and funding; (iii) the need for a strong relationship of trust and a good understanding of context; (iv) making sure that activities do not exacerbate discrimination or prejudices or endanger community members; (v) high turnover in community education as a result of its voluntary nature; (vi) teacher motivation and recruitment; (vii) the politicisation of education; (viii) sustainability; and (ix) demonstration of impact.


Rohwerder, B. Delivering education during conflict (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1209). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2015) 11 pp.

Delivering education during conflict (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1209)

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