The overarching aim of the Research for Effective Education Programming-Africa (REEP-A) project is to provide the USAID Africa Bureau, overseas Missions, and partner organizations, with concrete research contributions on USAID education initiatives to inform evidence-based investment, decision-making and the prioritization of needs. REEP-A will contribute to USAID’s education aims in Africa by providing technical and advisory services focused on research and capacity building, intended to enhance the quality and effectiveness of USAID activities. REEP-A will provide practical and action-oriented gender-sensitive research that will be applied to both project design and implementation. REEP-A aims to strengthen the relationships and links between project evaluation, design, and implementation. In addition, REEP-A will contribute to the capacity development of education personnel and partners by enhancing the use of research in decision-making, mainstreaming the application of feedback-loops and lessons learned into project design and implementation, and expanding the evidence and knowledge base on education initiatives.
USAID’s Education Strategy, issued in 2011, has promoted the rigorous use of evidence-based programming across the Strategy’s three education goals, in particular for the measurement of access to education and early grade reading improvements. The education goals set targets for 2015, which centered on early grade reading, workforce development, and education in crisis and conflict-affected environments. REEP-A will specifically focus on improvement in early grade reading and the measurement of equitable access to education in crisis and conflict environments (Goals 1 and 3):
Goal 1: Improved reading skills for 100 million children in primary grades by 2015
Goal 2: Improved ability of tertiary and workforce programs to generate skills relevant to a country’s development goals
Goal 3: Increased equitable access to education in crisis and conflict environments for 15 million learners by 2015
Following the release of the Strategy, the Education Team of the USAID Africa Bureau’s Office of Sustainable Development (AFR/SD/ED) identified the need for targeted research and training services to complement the efforts of Africa Missions to effectively align their education portfolios with the three goal areas of the Strategy. The Data for Education Research and Programming in Africa project (DERP), implemented between 2011 and 2016, was established to respond to these identified needs, and provided AFR/SD/ED with timely research and tools that Missions could apply to their ongoing and future education projects. REEP-A will expand on the progress and evidence base established by DERP, and will target identified gaps and challenges.
REEP-A seeks to contribute evidence that responds to the question of why, despite some gains, progress toward enhanced early grade reading and access to quality education in conflict and crisis settings in Africa has been modest. Expanding the evidence base and data collection for education interventions in Africa is critical to spurring further progress, increasing the understanding of program effectiveness, identifying barriers, and replicating successes.