A to Z: How Ethiopia created its Indicator Dictionary for Education in Emergencies

09 July 2024


School children look out of the window in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia, where displacement and natural disasters can disrupt education, the need for cohesive, reliable data is paramount. To foster resilience and protect learning for all, IIEP’s Conceptual Framework, which defines key concepts related to Education in Emergencies (EiE) data, was recently used to create an important new planning tool: an Indicator Dictionary. This tool ensures coherence across stakeholders and improves data monitoring when it matters most.

Global inspirations to create a common Conceptual Framework

In many countries, challenges in managing data persist because of fragmented educational data collection in crisis settings and the prevalence of parallel systems. Governments and their partners often grapple with the absence of disaggregated, reliable, and current data essential for informed decision-making in preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.

In response to these challenges, IIEP developed a Conceptual Framework that includes definitions of EiE data and the underlying concepts and processes guiding its management across diverse contexts, encompassing acute emergencies, protracted crises, and displacement scenarios. The framework delineates strategic priorities for enhancing the data ecosystem and fostering a holistic, integrated approach to data management, spanning the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

Putting the framework into action

The Conceptual Framework served as the bedrock for developing an Indicator Dictionary for EiE in Ethiopia. This is critical as Ethiopia boasts a diverse array of stakeholders involved in education data production. The framework provided guidance on how to restructure and organize data monitoring in a logical way.

For example, the Ministry of Education operates a robust Education Management Information System (EMIS), serving as a cornerstone for generating comprehensive development data crucial for educational planning. Concurrently, various international organizations contribute to the management of humanitarian data.

Recognizing the importance of harmonizing data amidst this landscape, UNESCO and IIEP collaborated with the Education Cluster in Ethiopia to develop the Indicator Dictionary. This initiative facilitated enhanced data harmonization and streamlined data sharing among key stakeholders involved in EiE efforts, including the Ministry of Education, education clusters, EiE working groups, and education development partners.

Improving coordination in Ethiopia

Ameha Woubishet, the Education Cluster's Information Management Officer, says the Dictionary has helped shape strategic planning processes, including in the formulation of the Humanitarian Response Plan and the 2024 Humanitarian Needs Overview.

“By standardizing enrolment indicators, coordination with governmental and EMIS teams has markedly improved,” Woubishet says. “In times of crisis, the clarity provided by common indicators enables swift collaboration with governmental bodies and NGOs, ensuring a cohesive response effort.”

The successful collaboration around the Indicator Dictionary reflects a growing acknowledgment of the necessity for innovative approaches bridging the humanitarian-development divide. This is vital for ensuring equitable access to education in the immediate aftermath of crises and for safeguarding the educational needs of affected populations during long-term recovery and development phases.