Civil society

Crowded market

Case studies:

Towards Leaving No-one Behind: internationalising the impact of the People's Action for Learning Network data 

One of the most transformative elements of the Sustainable Development Goals is the commitment to ensure that no one is left behind and that no Goal will be considered met unless it is met for everyone. Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) sets bold and ambitious new targets that emphasize the quality and equity of education. To ensure that no child is left behind in education, active efforts are needed to identify the most disadvantaged children. Across the global South, many of the hardest to reach children are not likely to be in school, and even those who are enrolled may attend irregularly or be enrolled in schools that do not feature in any official records. And, even if children attend school regularly, they may not be learning.

The first step in making the ‘Leave No-one Behind’ agenda a reality is to collect and use equitable and inclusive learning data that captures the learning progress of all children. PAL is a global South network of civil society organizations conducting large-scale, citizen-led, household-based assessments of children’s literacy and numeracy competencies. PAL data demonstrate a dual crisis of access and low learning achievements, providing robust evidence of children most likely to be left behind. 40% of the world’s 61 million out of school primary-aged children are in PAL Network countries. Over the last decade, the PAL Network’s citizen-led assessments - grounded in the realities of low and middle income countries - have made robust contributions to increasing understanding of the ‘learning crisis’ and significantly improved knowledge of persisting inequalities in educational access and acquisition of foundational skills.

Our Knowledge Exchange project uses existing PAL Network data to explore its evidence about ground realities for ‘hard to reach’ children in order to generate understanding of who is most likely to be left behind. This evidence is required in order to regularly track progress and target policies, programmes and resources to children who are the most disadvantaged and at risk of being excluded.

PI: Professor Caroline Dyer (University of Leeds)

Co-I: Dr Suman Bhattacharjea (Chair, PAL Network Board of Directors)

This project has been sponsored by the Leeds Social Sciences Impact Acceleration Account in association with the ESRC.

Decolonising development: whose voice, whose agenda?

Multi-stakeholder, academic-practitioner collaborations are crucial for international development and our work has been tackling tensions in knowledge, evidence and impact agendas.

A diverse set of stakeholders, participants from a range of countries, such as Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Thailand and the Palestinian Territory, were brought together for a three day online conference to advance ideas and methodologies for making partnerships work more effectively for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Poverty reduction and women empowerment

Working with communities in Teso, Soroti District in Uganda, to reduce poverty and facilitate women empowerment initiatives; current research involves a prison-community reintegration project. This participatory research focuses on advocacy and mobilising local resources in the reintegration process and aims to support individuals, enabling them to resettle both socially and economically following their time in prison. 

Issues of concern for Global Development at the core of this project include justice, rights, poverty, health and community engagement.

School specialists in civil society include:

Professor Caroline Dyer

Dr Lata Narayanaswamy

Dr Anna Mdee

Dr Winnie Bedigen