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Strengthening coordinated education planning and response in crises: Iraq case study

Research reports

Written by Amina Khan, Susan Nicolai

Research reports

Today, Iraq struggles with the impact of two crises: the Syrian Civil War with families seeking refuge in Iraq since 2012; and the insurgencies of the Islamic State against Syria and Iraq since 2014, which prompted people to flee to Iraq as well as be displaced within Iraq. Iraq hosts close to 300,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, with more than 84% of these being from Syria.

This case study examines how, in Iraq, humanitarian and development actors can more effectively coordinate planning and response to strengthen education outcomes for children and young people affected by crises. It looks at the ‘who’, the ‘how’ and the ‘so what’ of coordination of education in emergencies and protracted crises for internally displaced people (IDP), local communities affected by crises and refugees. The report concludes with recommendations for action that can be taken by different types of stakeholder, including the Federal Government in Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

To strengthen education outcomes for children and young people in Iraq affected by crises, humanitarian and development actors should more effectively coordinate planning and response. This study recommends that improving coordination requires the following:

  • Increase stakeholder participation in the Iraq Education Cluster to further facilitate dialogue, information sharing and coordination.
  • Prioritise investing in data as a key part of the education response.
  • Prioritise formal and informal networking among key stakeholders.
  • Avoid double hatting – negotiate with organisations leading the sub-national clusters to allocate more staff time for coordination and allow sub-national leads and co-leads to better support the Cluster.
  • Address the shortage of teachers and remove barriers to education.
  • Build greater capacity of national actors and coordinators.
  • Revise the governmental mandate to recognise and include Education in Emergencies to enable the Federal and Kurdistan Government to provide strategic direction to humanitarian and development actors.
  • Increase humanitarian and development funding for the IDP, returnee and refugee response.
Amina Khan, Dina Mansour-Ille and Susan Nicolai