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Scaling impact in education for transformative change: Practical recommendations from the Real-Time Scaling Labs

June 12, 2023

Transforming education systems is a complex process that requires understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the educational ecosystem and exploring new approaches, ideas, and initiatives to improve quality learning opportunities for children and youth. However, research shows it is not enough to simply identify effective education initiatives and expand them to more people. It takes a combination of technical expertise, understanding of local contexts, political strategy, collaborative partnership, flexible adaptation, and shared vision to scale and sustain the impact of education initiatives. Scaling cannot occur through one actor alone; it requires concerted and collaborative action by multiple actors at all levels of the education system.Too often, the work of scaling is not captured by typical monitoring and evaluation or research studies and lessons learned are not systematically documented. In response, in 2018 the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings launched a series of Real-time Scaling Labs (RTSLs) to generate more evidence and provide practical recommendations on how to expand, deepen, and sustain the impact of education initiatives leading to transformative change in education systems, especially for the most disadvantaged children and youth.The purpose of this report is to look across all six of the RTSL cases to analyze common themes, insights, and lessons learned about the process of scaling as well as interesting divergences, and to offer considerations for others looking to learn from or build on this work. This report is intended for governments, education implementers, donors, and researchers who are interested in collaborative approaches to scaling impact in education.

Health, Place, and Space: Adolescent Female Refugees in Palestinian Camps

March 19, 2023

Female Palestinian refugee adolescents living in camps face enormous challenges that influence their health. Studies have shown the spatial and physical contexts of people's lives — where and how they live — determine their health, meaning that refugee health cannot be fully understood in isolation from the spatial and physical contexts that shape and sustain health conditions and community environment. Chronic disease, mental health issues, health conditions, and behavior are all affected by spatial and physical factors such as neighborhood socioeconomics, social environment, and the physical (built) environment, all of which are amplified inside refugee camps, including Palestinian camps. Place and space take into account the social relations and social construction of a community as well as the personal experience of spatiality, temporality, and materiality that influence the process of shaping the health status of individuals, especially refugees. This study investigates the construct of space in Palestinian camps in Jordan and the West Bank, and its effect on the health of female adolescents living in these camps. We examine how place and space influence and shape the health status of refugees. To do this, we consider the social relations and social construction of these refugee communities as well as individual refugees' personal experiences of spatiality, temporality, and materiality.

Forgotten by Funders

December 1, 2021

This report highlights the underfunding of work with and for imprisoned and formerly imprisoned women and girls,  alongside a worrying increase in the global female prison population. The report draws from the survey responses of 34 organisations, most of which are based in the Global South and have women with lived experience of the justice system involved with or leading their work. Calling to donors that fund human rights, women's rights and/or access to justice, the report concludes that this heavily gendered area of human rights tends to fall through the cracks of donor strategies, including recent Gender Equality Forum pledges. 

Tailor Made: How Syrian Refugee Women Are Finding Their Own Way to Join the Jordanian Economy

August 7, 2018

Earning an income is a struggle for the residents of Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, and women's economic participation is extremely low. Oxfam initiated the Lel-Haya (For Life) project in Za'atari to build the capacities of Syrian refugee women, both in vocational training and soft skills. A small number of women involved in the project were subsequently employed by a garment factory in northern Jordan. This briefing note highlights these women's experiences, the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them.

The Cost of Justice: Exploratory assessment on women's access to justice in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Yemen

June 1, 2018

Women in the Middle East and North Africa region face challenges in their attempts to seek and get justice. Despite some promising legal awareness initiatives, mostly led by civil society, women's knowledge of their rights and family law is limited. They lack social capital and the financial means to claim their rights, and the systems in place to provide financial support are insufficient and often ineffective. Women's pursuit of justice is further limited by entrenched patriarchal values at community and court levels. Though some laws in the countries covered by this research have been positively amended recently, women still face discrimination in the judicial system based on their sex, their religion, and their financial status.This report was commissioned by Oxfam and civil society organizations in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Yemen to explore the impact of the cost of legal services on women's access to justice in personal status and family law proceedings in the four countries.

Balancing the Books: Including women and protecting refugees is essential to realizing small business growth in Jordan

December 7, 2017

It is essential that opportunities for job growth are supported both for refugees in Jordan and the vulnerable communities hosting them. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can be a key driver of job growth. Promoting MSMEs could also help to address gender inequality and protection issues for refugees in Jordan. This joint agency paper was written by the LEADERS Consortium of NGOs, which aims to contribute to the economic self-reliance, resilience and stability of Syrian refugees and vulnerable host communities in Jordan. It presents research conducted among women and men small business owners in central and northern Jordan on the challenges they face. It makes recommendations on how the Government of Jordan, businesses, the financial sector and NGOs can support women, refugees and Jordanian host communities to start and grow small businesses. 

Wastewater Treatment Plants in Rapid Mass Displacement Situations

November 7, 2017

This rapid review report has identified the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) options used in emergency settings, with decentralised wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS) and mobile wastewater treatment units performing most effectively and with minimal costs. Examples are taken from refugee camps and internally displaced people (IDP) settlements due to the Iraq war, the Israeli-Palestine conflict, and the civil wars in Syria and Sudan. WWTP options used in Finland, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Sudan and Turkey are discussed. Lessons learned from China and suggestions for the Rohingya crisis are also included.

Trash Talk: Turning waste into work in Jordan's Za'atari refugee camp

August 17, 2017

Syrian refugees have the capacity to provide key support for service delivery and the expertise to contribute to the expansion of new productive economic sectors. This paper highlights an innovative approach to solid waste management and income generation, and aims to promote further dialogue on the role that Syrians can play in the Jordanian economy.

Making Aid To Jordan And Lebanon Work: Aid effectiveness in middle income countries affected by mass displacement

April 19, 2017

Jordan and Lebanon collectively make up less than one percent of the world's economy, but host around 20 percent of the world's refugees. Donors have recognized the scale of the challenges that this presents and acknowledged that humanitarian assistance must be supplemented with multi-year development support. This briefing note presents a preview of key findings from Oxfam-commissioned research in Lebanon and Jordan and concludes that for assistance to succeed in its aim of helping both refugees and poor host communities there is a need for increased democratic ownership, transparency and accountability in donor and government aid policies. 

Humanitarian Informal feedback project: Za'atari Refugee Camp, Jordan. Evaluation report 2015/16

December 13, 2016

Oxfam has piloted the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) tool as a way to increase and improve the accountability Oxfam provides to refugees in Za'atari Camp in Jordan. This evaluation finds that there are several technological improvements that can and should be made to the tool, as well as internal improvements to the culture of accountability within Oxfam's programme in Za'atari Camp. The results of this evaluation are clear that the tool should continue to be developed and improved, and tested in other contexts. The potential for the feedback tool is greater than could be trialled during the short pilot period, and increasing the concentration on informal feedback, as was initially conceived prior to the pilot, should be prioritized in future trials. The management response to the evaluation is also available to download.

Sanitation under Stress: How Can Urban Services Respond to Acute Migration?

November 1, 2016

This working paper aims to identify key research questions around the successes and failures of urban governance structures in delivering essential services to populations following large migration movements.It does so through a review of the existing literature on the subject. It then unpacks how conflict-induced migration has affected Jordan's urban infrastructure and systems for the provision of basic services.In conclusion, we call for a research agenda that can help utilities, governments, non-governmental organisations and other service providers to better understand and overcome the challenges of sanitation provision in urban contexts 'under stress', without reinforcing existing inequalities or creating new ones, and to progress towards realising the Sustainable Development Goals' aspirations for 'universal access to adequate and equitable sanitation' by 2030.

Women's Participation and Leadership in Lebanon, Jordan and Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Moving from individual to collective change

March 31, 2016

This report sets out the findings of a seven-month qualitative study commissioned by Oxfam and conducted in Lebanon, Jordan and Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) by researchers from the American University of Beirut. The aim of the study was to explore the role customary institutions play in maintaining gender inequality, and how changes in individual perceptions and attitudes on gender equality can lead to changes in the social and political spheres. Stakeholders and focus group participants discussed their views on a range of issues including women's economic participation; the role of media and education in driving change; religious interpretation; and what gender equality means in practice.