2015 Global: Evaluation of UNICEF’s Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Programme (PBEA)

Publication Year:
April 30, 2020
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


In too many parts of the world, conflict has been putting children and young people at risk and, all too often, taking their lives. Around the globe, conflict has swept people from their homes, spread hunger and disease and destroyed the facilities and infrastructure needed to support lives and livelihoods. Conflict has in many places wiped away the gains made through decades of development effort and blocked the path towards future progress and prosperity. Under these circumstances, it is vital to learn what steps can be taken to promote peace, resilience and human security. The present report documents an important and innovative effort to harness education in support of peacebuilding. Over the past four years, UNICEF has been implementing the Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Programme (PBEA), supported by funding from the Government of the Netherlands. PBEA was a four-year programme (2012-2015) aimed at strengthening resilience, social cohesion and human security in 14 countries recovering from conflict or at risk of falling into conflict. The chosen approach was to strengthen education policies and practices with a view to building peace. Indeed, PBEA provided an opportunity to test whether a social service such as education can be successfully harnessed to promote peace. Given such a novel strategy and challenging agenda, it was recognised that evaluation could help to document the various interventions and results achieved under the programme and learn valuable lessons for the future. PBEA has benefitted from a number of evaluation activities. An evaluability assessment was conducted in 2013; a developmental evaluation was initiated to accompany PBEA implementation in Ethiopia and Myanmar; and finally a summative evaluation was undertaken to assess outcomes. The outcome evaluation is the subject of this report. The objectives of the evaluation were to examine PBEA’s approach and to assess the programme’s contribution to the intended outcomes of social cohesion and resilience, as well as sector outcomes concerning access to education and quality of education. A robust methodology was articulated, with data collection being executed in two phases. In the first phase, a ‘rapid outcome harvesting’ exercise was executed in all 14 countries implementing PBEA (Burundi, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, State of Palestine, Uganda, and Yemen). The ‘outcome harvesting’ approach was expanded to take the form of ‘result harvesting’ to capture all levels of results - outputs, intermediate outcomes and fully achieved outcomes. The second phase focused on results validation involving a range of stakeholders, and included a number of country visits.

The evaluation concluded that PBEA achieved substantial results. It successfully demonstrated that the approach of using a social service such as education to deliver peacebuilding results could be effective. A responsive, context-sensitive approach to programming, informed by systematic conflict analysis, was found to be the right strategy. The evaluation presents UNICEF with a number of significant lessons and challenges. For instance, it challenges UNICEF to articulate a clearer vision for its work in peacebuilding and to integrate this vision into strategies at corporate and country levels. This would require institutionalising conflict perspectives within programme development by using the results of conflict analysis in the adaptation and design of programmes and policies. UNICEF faces further challenges in sourcing the right capacities for peacebuilding work and managing risks associated with peacebuilding programmes. Finally, UNICEF needs to promote and monitor strict adherence to “do no harm” principles in conflict-affected locations. UNICEF has the opportunity to capitalise on the experience gained through the PBEA programme. A coherent knowledge management strategy could consolidate lessons and experience from two areas: first, the mainstreaming of peacebuilding into education programmes; and, second, using education to deliver peacebuilding results in fragile contexts. Based on these lesson, resources could be developed to inform education sector planning processes at country level. UNICEF also has a responsibility to consolidate its achievements under PBEA. This is especially important in countries implementing PBEA which face active conflict or humanitarian crises. The evaluation recommends mobilization of resources to sustain critical peacebuilding activities and afford UNICEF country offices the support necessary to incorporate PBEA approaches into their next regular programming cycle. 


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