4 Programs that Prove Education Advocacy Can Work

February 14, 2014Kristen Grauer

Here at CEI we advocate better education opportunities by identifying, analyzing, and connecting education innovations from around the world. This week's feature image is courtesy of Inclusive Education Western Cape. Learn more about the initiative below!

Last week, Sobhi Tawil of UNESCO wrote a thought-provoking article on the notion of "global citizenship" and its greater implications for civic engagement and global activism. He suggested that education has a critical role in promoting knowledge, skills, and values that enable students to develop a sense of collective identity, an awareness and understanding of development challenges, and a desire to engage in civic and social action. His analysis was based on the third priority of the UN Global Education First Initiative, "fostering global citizenship," which states:

"Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies. It must give people the understanding, skills, and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st century."

A number of CEI programs focus their work on education advocacy and empowering communities to take development challenges into their own hands. While there is a wealth of advocacy programs to discover in the CEI database, below are four examples of programs seeking changes in the education sector through political activism.


1. It's My Right, Make It Happen | Pakistan

It's My Right, Make It Happen is a child-focused advocacy initiative launched by the Indus Resource Centre (IRC) in 2013. It seeks to inform youth of their rights in the education sector and strengthen opportunities for them to participate in civil society. In partnership with local schools, the initiative developed a series of Children Clubs that engage students, parents, teachers, local politicians, and the media in meaningful discussions on education policy and state accountability. To date, It's My Right, Make It Happen has formed 100,000 Children Clubs across 8 districts in Sindh, reaching 2,000 marginalized students.

2. Mexicanos Primero | Mexico

Mexicanos Primero is a civil society organization launched in 2007 that links the private and public sectors in an effort to improve access to as well as the quality of education opportunities in Mexico. In a nation where the Ministry of Education and teachers' unions have traditionally exercised the most influence over national policy, the organization seeks to give all education stakeholders a voice in education reform dialogue. Mexicanos Primero engages various societal actors through research, reports, national campaigns, and in-school projects. In the future, it hopes to create a publication of the best practices it has collected over the years from successful teachers, schools, and community members. 

3. Inclusive Education Western Cape | South Africa

Inclusive Education Western Cape is a comprehensive advocacy initiative launched in 2009 as an effort to change attitudes towards and increase awareness around the issue of inclusive education. It seeks to achieve these goals through various activities including: a Resource Center on inclusive education information and practices; direct support to parents, teachers, and other professionals; advocacy and awareness campaigns on the importance of inclusive education; as well as training sessions and workshops for school administration.

4. Advocacy Campaign through Community Networking for Promotion of Girls’ Education | Pakistan

This Advocacy Campaign was launched in 2013 by the Association of Global Humanists and Ethics as a way to influence the nation's policy environment by mobilizing greater support for girls' education in the Diamir district - specifically, financial support. The project has four main pillars: exploring and assessing the status of girls' education in Diamir; creating a cross-sectoral network of local leaders to advocate for their cause; increasing girls' enrollment in schools; and establishing home-based schools for girls due to the lack of functional government schools. Ultimately, the initiative seeks to replicate the home-based school model throughout Diamir as well as other districts of Pakistan.

To learn more about this topic, check out the following resources in CEI's Research & Evidence Library:

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