OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Family Education for Stronger Communities

NRC employs an innovative family-centered approach, creating education opportunities for vulnerable Afghan women, men, girls & boys in Iran.

Photo of Norwegian Refugee Council - Iran
9 17

Written by

What problem does your innovation solve?

There are multiple impediments accessing education by Afghan children in Iran. Vulnerable families frequently resort to negative coping mechanisms, including reducing food intake (80%), child labor (75%) and child marriage (57%). A recent Decree by the Supreme Leader (attachment), allows all Afghan children to register in school regardless of their legal status. NRC would like to build on this momentum through a family-centered approach creating a protective environment conducive to learning.

Explain your innovation.

The idea is to place the family unit at the center of the intervention and provide mutually reinforcing learning opportunities for children and parents alike. Children will benefit from literacy/numeracy classes (Accelerated Education Programs AEP) and life skills while parents can attend positive parenting and literacy classes. The approach will allow a higher degree of engagement with the school environment through the activation of Parent Teacher Associations. Afghan community workers will be trained in order to cascade those skills further into their communities. NRC has piloted this family centered approach in a previous UNHCR supported project. Several excellent working relationships with education partners such as the Literacy Movement Organisation (LMO), Directorate of Education (DoE) and State Welfare Organization (SWO) have developed. The project worked with 360 families and was successful in increasing vulnerable children’s access to education. It also enhanced the protective environment for the families both inside and outside the school and the home. Testimonials from members of the community demonstrate how people’s lives have improved. For the parents, passing the LMO literacy test was a major achievement. Fathers have expressed a strong desire for their children to obtain the same fundamental educational skills. Parents realized that they are enablers of a positive learning environment for children. Children can register in formal schools upon AEP completion.

Who benefits?

Depending on funding, this approach will benefit up to 500 Afghan families in at least 10 Afghan communities. Vulnerable Afghan families with undocumented members will be prioritized. Traditionally, in some societies, females were prevented from participating in education by male members of the family. By targeting the whole family, including fathers and sons, the innovation leads to positive changes in attitudes and behaviors towards girls' education and increase their access to education. Afghan focal points in each community will receive Training of Trainers to provide further literacy and life skills classes to their communities. A large number of trusted women will be included in the ToT to ensure sustainability for females. Synergies will be created with other NRC units, such as legal counselling, for this idea to maximize its impact. Legal counseling will ensure that undocumented children in school access 'blue cards' which protect all family members from deportation.

How is your innovation unique?

The idea is unique as it has a holistic approach towards the family members, which will in turn affect the community as a whole. It also brings civil society members, governmental organizations (LMO, SWO), Afghan communities (elders, community workers), and members of the Parent Teacher Associations together around an innovative community-led idea. Many organizations target a specific group or vulnerability such as working children or female-headed households. Our idea is different as it targets various stakeholders in order to build an enabling protective environment for women, men, girls and boys to access education. The added-value of NRC is its synergies with other core competencies. It has a dedicated unit that provides legal counseling to the population, so this integrated approach will support access to documentation to protect families from deportation. We also have a Monitoring and Evaluation team that will help collect feedback/data throughout the duration of the project.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Iranian authorities have recently allowed NRC to directly engage with Afghan community workers. Will NRC trained community workers be able to identify the most vulnerable families in hard-to-reach areas? Will the timing of implementation be convenient to the seasonal working patterns of vulnerable Afghan families? Will partners agree to change the timing of the courses to suit parents working schedules? Besides lack of documentation, access to education is also challenging due to financial barriers. Would an additional cash based modality or livelihood component strengthen the outcomes of the project? If so, how can this component be articulated with the project outcomes?

Tell us more about you.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is an independent humanitarian organization helping people forced to flee. NRC works to protect the rights of displaced and vulnerable people during crisis. Since 2012, NRC programmes in Iran have helped Afghan refugees coping with the struggles of living in long-term protracted displacement through Education, Livelihoods, Protection and Legal Assistance. NRC Iran was supported by the Direct Aid Program (DAP) of the Embassy of Australia in 2016 and 2017.

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Prolonged displacement

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

During the past three decades, Iran has been hosting one of the largest and most protracted refugee populations in the world. Today, an estimated 3.6 million Afghans and over 28 000 Iraqi refugees reside in Iran. With minimal international support, a significant proportion of Afghans in Iran, particularly those who are not registered as refugees remain acutely vulnerable. Afghans also face substantial challenges regarding their legal status: 35% hold no civil documentation or expired documents.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

The idea will be implemented in the Islamic Republic of Iran, first in the provinces of Kerman, Qom and Tehran. These three provinces host 408 000 registered refugees (i.e. 42% of the total registered Afghan refugees population) and the largest number of undocumented Afghan families. NRC has established positive working relationships with education stakeholders and authorities in these provinces, who support the idea and will facilitate access. Additional areas may be considered.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

Since 2012, NRC Iran developed multiple partnerships in Iran. Currently, NRC has active MoUs with Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrant Affairs (BAFIA), UNHCR as well as local organizations such as the Literacy Movement Organisation (LMO), the State Welfare Organisation (SWO), the Technical and Vocational Training organisation (TVTO) allowing NRC Iran to implement various certified activities and trainings. NRC also works with Afghan leaders and community workers in all areas of intervention.

Sector Expertise

  • I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

Education is part of NRC core competency and part of the organization programme policy. All NRC education programmes adhere to the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Minimum Standards for Education. In Iran specifically, NRC Iran has developed an Education strategy and is co-chair of the Education working group with UNHCR. Two 'Education in Emergencies' grants are being currently implemented in 3 provinces targeting a total of 15 000 Afghan children.

Innovation Maturity

  • Existing Prototype or Pilot: I have tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.

Organization Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Organization Location

The NRC is registered in Norway. We've operated in Iran since 2012 in partnership with the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrant Affairs (BAFIA).

Website

- NRC Education webpage: https://www.nrc.no/what-we-do/activities-in-the-field/ensuring-that-children-continue-to-learn-even-in-conflict/ - NRC Iran webpage: https://www.nrc.no/countries/middle-east/iran/ - NRC Perspectives: https://www.nrc.no/perspectives/2017/striving-to-educate/

How has your Idea changed based on feedback?

1- Details of the Decree, the procedure for formal school registration upon completion of AEP, as well as how to refer undocumented cases to NRC's legal team will be included in all trainings to disseminate information to Iranian teachers and Afghan trainers. 2- A larger number of women will be included in the TOT as suggested by the community to ensure sustainable girls' access to services. 3- A stronger emphasis on the life skills component will be done particularly for girls classes.

Who will implement this Idea?

NRC will work mainly with 2 partners: LMO for the literacy/numeracy classes and SWO for the life skills & positive parenting trainings. This idea will be implemented by 20 Afghan focal points, 6 education and 3 legal NRC Iranian colleagues and supported by 3 specialists or managers. Teams are already hired and trained. They are located in Kerman and Tehran and are covering all areas of intervention in Central and Southern Iran. The team working on making this Idea a reality will be dedicated part-time to it as they are also implementing complementary programming, fostering potential synergies.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

The biggest challenge faced by Afghan families are the lack of sustainable learning opportunities linked to livelihoods. The discrimination from the Iranian host community lead to high rate of drop-out, particularly for girls. Another challenge is the financial situation as livelihood opportunities are scarce. Families also find it hard to obtain and maintain legal status in Iran. Systems-level challenge: With minimal international support to Iran, there are no or very few durable solutions available for Afghans with no possibility of return to Afghanistan. There are limited resettlement quota and no legal framework or sustainable livelihoods opportunities. Yet, for over 35 years, the Government of Iran has hosted one of the largest and most protracted refugee populations in the world.

How is your organization considering sustainable growth in order to continue making an impact over time?

NRC’s projects in Iran are at present financed by ECHO, the Norwegian MFA, DEVCO (AUP), German Federal Foreign Office and the Australian Government through its Direct Assistance Programme (DAP). NRC’s funding strategy aims at increasing the donor base in line with programmatic goals and absorption capacity. Besides, NRC is developing a corporate funding strategy to ensure more predictable and flexible funding. NRC aims at securing 2 new funding sources this year. NRC is a signatory of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact that you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question/hurdle you need to address to get there?

By 2021, NRC Iran aims to provide 10 000 Afghan families (50 000 children) affected by displacement with access to inclusive learning opportunities and protective environments. How does NRC create synergies with other programs to 1) reduce the physical (lack of spaces), financial (lack of livelihoods opportunities) and social barriers (discrimination by Iranian host community) barriers to Education. 2) support the enforcement of the Decree and information dissemination to Afghan communities

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) outcomes for this project?

A M&E matrix is developed for every NRC project, regular Project Review Meetings allow close follow up of the indicators. The proposed indicators are as follows: Outputs: # of learners completing the AEP # of teachers trained Outcomes: % of completing learners who pass formal school system assessment at grade 3 level % of completing learners who enroll in formal school system within 6 months of completing the AE program % of parents who can correctly replicate skills covered in training

What is the timeline for your project Idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

Semester 1: Idea will be further explained to communities. MoUs will be updated, amended or signed with partners. Official opening meeting will take place in areas of interventions with all stakeholders to review work plan, targets, indicators and feedback mechanisms. Semesters 2 to 5: Implementation & monitoring throughout school years, measuring enrollment and retention of Afghan children. Training of Afghan trainers. Semester 6: Hand-over to communities: refresher trainings, lessons learnt

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Above $1,000,000 USD

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed Idea live?

  • Between 20-50 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country that you intend to implement your Idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this Idea together?

  • Between 6 months and 1 year

What do you need the most support with for your innovation?

  • Communications / Marketing / Graphic Design
  • Other

9 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Dave Hughes
Team

Hi, this is a great idea! My name is David Hughes and I am the Project Director for the Bendigo Inventor Awards.

Now in our 7th year, the Bendigo Inventor awards have as our focus inventions that address needs in the Emergency Services and Disaster Management space, and we offer a AUD$10,000 prize for the winning entry. The Bendigo Inventor Awards has also created an environment for inventors to obtain support for their ideas by bringing together a coalition of partners with the knowledge, skills and networks to accelerate the progression of ideas from concept through to commercialisation. Major Program Partners include Engineers Australia who are providing technical feedback, KPMG who are offering advice on commercial viability and the path to commercialisation and Red Cross, who are providing their perspective on the relevance of many inventions to disaster relief efforts. Our judging panel also contains representatives from Emergency Management Victoria, who are able to provide similar feedback on the applicability of inventions to the emergency services.

I believe your idea would be a fantastic entry into the awards. Applying is easy and can be done through our website www.bendigoinventorawards.com.au/apply. Simply select the category that your invention applies to – ‘Concept’ or ‘Product and Prototype’, and answer some questions about your invention. All judges are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so your idea is protected. Entries close 5pm Friday 29th September 2017 AEST.

I very much look forward to seeing your invention go on to great success, and hope we are able to assist you in enabling that to happen. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch on the phone number above, or via my email at dhughes@bebendigo.com.au.

Regards,
David Hughes
Project Director
Bendigo Inventor Awards

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Expert Feedback Question 4: In your expert opinion, does this Idea pass the ‘do no harm’ principles? Do you believe that there may be any unseen or undocumented risks?

- Experts shared, “I do not see any obvious risks associated with the implementation of this project.”


Expert Feedback Question 5: Based on your experience and expertise, is this an Idea that you’d like to see brought to life? Why or why not?

- Experts shared, “I would like to see this project come to live because it addresses multiple problems and has the focus on changing community attitudes by targeting children, their parents, teachers and community workers. Their pilot project seems to have shown very promising results and, as they point out, there is momentum that should be leveraged. The project is ambitious and relies on coordination and collaboration across various agencies, which may proof-challenging at times but may also provide a strong support network for users.”


Looking ahead in the development of your Idea, the following are some questions that may be helpful to consider and integrate into your contribution!

- This is an ambitious project that aims to provide support at multiple levels and to multiple target groups (e.g. community workers, parents, children, teachers). It is a strong proposal but it depends a lot on communication and collaboration between different agencies and partner organizations. I would like to know how well the collaborations have been working out so far?
- How do you plan to get continued feedback on the success of your Idea?


Join us for Storytelling Office Hours Tuesday, July 25, 2017 from 8:30AM - 9:30AM PST! RSVP at https://openideo.typeform.com/to/T9IonO by Monday, July 24, 2017 Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an Idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - August 6 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your Idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at hello@openideo.com

Looking forward to reading more!

Spam
Photo of Norwegian Refugee Council - Iran
Team

The families interviewed during the FGD have also said that the training of trainers planned will ensure sustainability if and when partners stop being permanently present. They suggested that the trainers should be chosen carefully, without bias, with a large number of them being women, who are trusted by other women in their communities, in order to guarantee sustainability for women and girls. This is an important suggestion that will certainly be used for this project during the selection of the TOT participants.
One of the initial questions posed in the first stage of the challenge was about the timing of the courses and seasonality. The community members agreed that classes should be scheduled at times suitable to the family members who are working. NRC will conduct surveys and will choose the best suitable time for beneficiaries. Family members agreed that the positive parenting classes will lead to better communication between them and bridge the generational gap between parents and children. After speaking to the LMO trainers we are currently working with, they confirmed that the life skills component is essential for the learning process and is now missing. They emphasized that many students, especially girls, do not have the necessary interpersonal skills to interact with others inside the classrooms (including the teacher), which is posing a challenge for them to teach. It is also affecting the girls’ self-esteem. The life skills component of the project is needed to address these issues and improve classroom retention rates as they may be a reason for school dropout.
During the feedback phase, we took the opportunity to visit a few of the LMO classes that are currently taking place in Kerman province. Most of the children (boys and girls) in attendance were undocumented, and have confirmed that lack of documentation as well as financial difficulties were the main obstacles preventing them from accessing education. Some of the working boys interviewed confirmed that they will continue working even if they enrol in school (and all showed eagerness to do so). Most of the girls in one classroom knew each other before attending the LMO classes, this may be because it is deemed safer for girls to attend school with classmates that their families already know even though the education spaces were accessible to the majority of them. Most of the trainers/teachers were not aware of recent documentation opportunities available for families upon registration of their children in school (Undocumented families can access education-specific cards called Blue-cards, for their children to attend public school. These ‘blue-cards’ not only allow undocumented children to enroll in public schools, but they also protect all family members from deportation). LMO trainers did not inform families on how children can enroll in formal schools. This is an important point that will be taken into consideration during this project whereby the LMO Iranian and Afghan trainers will be sensitized towards documentation issues so they are able to provide accurate information or refer cases to NRC’s legal assistance team. They will also be trained on ‘school registration process’ and the bridging to it after the student finishes AEP. These issues (documentation, referrals and registration in school) will also be incorporated in the training of trainers to ensure that new trainers, responsible for cascading of skills, are also aware of these procedures and that the cascading process will happen smoothly.
According to the trainers, the communities showed great enthusiasm for AEP and life skills, but space limitations in school could not accommodate all of the children. One LMO trainer has mentioned the lack of social cohesion between Iranians and Afghans where some Iranian parents do not want their children to attend school with Afghans. Sensitizing parents, through joint initiatives undertaken by the PTAs in schools throughout this project, will address such issues.
The feedback phase of this challenge was extremely useful for us. Not only did we gain buy-in from partners and the community on the idea, we also gained insight on how to fine-tune it to better meet their needs. Some of its components will be modified, as mentioned above, to achieve a larger impact.
Thank you for your time and consideration of our Idea!
NRC Teams in Iran

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Norwegian Refugee Council - Iran and Team!

We’re excited to share feedback and questions from our experts with you. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your Idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your Idea. Your Idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

Our expert reviewers were particularly impressed your Idea addresses a pressing problem in communities! One expert stated, “I like that you are targeting parent education to improve children’s education. It’s great that you recognized this potentially important window of opportunity that has opened with legal changes in access to education for Afghan children in Iran.”


Expert Feedback Question 1: Based on your knowledge and experience, is this a new approach or bold way of answering the Challenge question?

- Experts shared, “This project aims to leverage a recent legal change i.e. access to education for Afghan children to education regardless of legal status. As such, it is timely and novel given the recent change in circumstances. The approach is bold as it attempts to target multiple groups of people and provide service for the whole family. While ambitious I think this bold approach to addressing multiple problems at multiple levels that are all interconnected certainly fits the challenge question (with the exception of a concentrated effort to specifically target girls).”


Expert Feedback Question 2: Human-centered design starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their real needs. We are seeking to support Ideas that consider desirability, feasibility, and viability. How does this Idea measure up? How does this Idea consider user needs?

- Experts shared, “I think this project scores high in all three areas. The organizers have clearly identified the need for a family focused intervention where children will benefit when adults see for themselves the advantages of furthering their education. Given that the approach has been successfully piloted in another community the realization of this project seems feasible and viable. Additionally, the pilot not only increased children’s access to education but also their parents’ access to education and contributed to an overall safer environment for everyone. This suggests that this project has the potential to improve lives well beyond the focus of the challenge question.”


Expert Feedback Question 3: If this Idea is submitted from a larger organization, does it have a sustainable funding model? If this Idea is submitted from an early stage Idea, does it have the potential to develop a model for sustainability long-term?

- Experts shared that the train-the-trainer approach this project may be able to keep its momentum without additional external support

[Feedback continued in next comment]

Spam
Photo of Norwegian Refugee Council - Iran
Team

Thank you for sending us the experts’ feedback, it was very helpful. We do recognize that this is an ambitious project as it involves many partners and supports many groups. However, based on our past experiences (including for non education projects), this has been working quite well. In Iran, INGOs have to establish formal partnerships through coordination with the government.
NRC Iran has already developed working relationships with various governmental and semi-governmental institutions such as Literacy Movement organization (LMO) and State Welfare Organization (SWO). LMO is the only organization recognized by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to provide certified literacy/numeracy classes allowing children who passed the exam to enroll in public schools. NRC Iran have signed tripartite Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with the authorities (BAFIA) and LMO and SWO.
Furthermore, the partners are accountable to both NRC and to the government, both of which have staff and focal points assigned for project follow up and monitoring to ensure quality programming. Through these MoUs, NRC ensures all phases of the implementation are done with transparency and in line with the humanitarian principles. The current working relationships are going well. Most recently, LMO has registered up to 3,500 children for accelerated education programmes (AEP) in partnership with NRC. Those children will be able to join the formal system in September.
NRC has a dedicated education team in regular contact with authorities and partners not only through phone calls and e-mails, but also during regular monitoring field visits. NRC is also in touch with Afghan focal points, who are representatives of their communities; they provide feedback and support when needed.
For this Idea to be well implemented, monthly project review meetings will be held with all partners and community members (Afghan focal points, teachers) to discuss progress, challenges, and ways forward. NRC focal points will be assigned to follow up on project implementation sites and to report back feedback from the community to the education team.
In addition to education team who are focal points for follow up and feedback on the project, NRC has a dedicated Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) unit. The M&E unit supports NRC programmes and has weekly internal meetings with the education team. During the feedback phase of this challenge, the M&E team held Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with Afghan families to learn more from them and help us adapt the project to their needs. The results of these FGDs showed that members of the community are very much in favor of this family-centered initiative. The M&E unit will continue to work closely with education on this project to collect feedback from partners, authorities, and families through mechanisms such as FGDs and complaint/suggestion boxes that can be placed in each site. NRC will also use the above mentioned meetings as platforms to share feedback and work together on moving forward.
The idea is family centered, involving all female and male family members, and affects the men, women, boys and girls of the community as a whole. This is, in itself, a way to increase access to education for women and girls. Many male members of the family in displaced situations stand against female education (for security or financial reasons) and prioritize that of males. By creating education opportunities for all members of the family, fathers and sons, in particular, will understand and appreciate the importance of girls’ education and stop opposing it. The evaluation of the UNHCR project attached showed that fathers’ attitudes changed throughout the project upon realizing the profound effect that education has on the lives of their families, including that of their daughters. By targeting men and boys, as well as women and girls, this project will change attitudes and behaviors of the whole family towards female education and ultimately increase women’s and girls’ access to quality education. This was supported during the FGD, mentioned above, where members of the community indicated that the positive parenting classes will lead to changed views about girls’ education in general and will encourage families to enroll their daughters in school. In fact, the FGD participants emphasized the importance of giving the same opportunities for males and females alike. Furthermore, LMO has been able to open “home-based” classes for women and girls that offer safe spaces for learning for those unable to leave their homes or walk long distances to education sites. The families interviewed during the FGD mentioned that distance and financial barriers are obstacles preventing women from accessing classes. By identifying suitable homes within a neighborhood and using them for female education, we can limit the risks and fears faced by women and girls accessing classes. LMO and NRC will look for such spaces for this project if needed.

Spam
Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Thanks for contributing to the Challenge!

A couple of quick questions, to make sure I understand the full scope of your intervention you are planning to expand a current pilot that's a set of workshops/programing training families and community members? Would love to understand a bit more granularly exactly what this program does (i.e. meets 2x a week for 3 hours a week to do X ....to achieve Y).

I love the user experience map! Ps. in the future don't forget in the future to site any facts you share in your post.

Excited to learn more about the work you are doing!

Spam
Photo of Norwegian Refugee Council - Iran
Team

Many thanks for your comment Ashley, much appreciated!

Yes, we piloted this initiative with successful results and would like to scale it up. It is a set of programmes and courses tailored for different members of the family that complement each other. Together, they make education more accessible for “invisible” families and turn it into quite an enjoyable experience for the family as a whole, which leads to changing their legal status in the country, if they were previously undocumented (in short, education offering increased protection).
The courses start off with literacy and numeracy classes for children who have been out of school, in order to help them catch-up to the right level for their age. This Accelerated Education Programme (AEP) comprises of 400 hours of curricula and can be delivered in a condensed manner 5hrs*6 days= 30 hours per week over the course of 14 weeks. However, if we have more time, this can be done in 15 hours per week over the course of 6 months. The latter is the preferred modality for children who are not used to sit-in for long-hours classes. This is be complemented by 56 hours of life skills training for children, developed around drama and game-based activities. The curricula already exist and tackle topics such as anger management, debating skills, as well as time management. Upon successful completion of these bridging courses, the child can then join formal school at the right level/grade for her age. In doing so, she gets access to a “blue card”, which means that her and her family is protected from deportation, even if they were living in Iran previously without any kind of legal status or documentation.

Similarly, many parents are in need of literacy and numeracy classes. The pilot has shown that attending them meant that parents realized the importance of acquiring these basic skills for themselves as well as for their children. This has served as an incentive and encouragement for parents to send their children to school/education opportunities. The same number of hours is required and is followed by positive parenting skills, which is a 78 hour training package. The training package aims at enabling the parents to create a more protective environment at home, more conducive for learning. As per our previous experience, winter time is preferred for fathers to attend, as there are few daily-work opportunities.

Finally, the training of trainers for members of the community aims to prepare focal points to cascade those skills to the rest of the community in order to ensure sustainability of our intervention. We will also aim at working with Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) in order to increase the involvement of the Afghan community in the school environment and to keep children enrolled in school. Where PTA structures already exist, we will work with them in order to help the children who finished the accelerated learning course integrate smoothly into school. Where those structures do not exist, NRC will work to activate and involve them in school governance.

We hope this answers your questions. Please let us if you have any additional need for clarification.
Greetings from Tehran, Iran :)

Spam
Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Greetings from San Francisco 8) thanks for the great details this is very helpful information to have!

Last question for the moment, you pose some very human-centered questions in the section on "What are you unanswered questions." Would love to learn how your team approaches getting this type of info/ your process for designing with/for your community?

Thank you again for the important work you are doing!

Spam
Photo of Norwegian Refugee Council - Iran
Team

Thanks Ashley!
Our teams get information in various ways; one of which is what humanitarians call a Vulnerability Assessment. This is done through home visits or by calling members of the community to assess their needs. The teams have been able to interview 679 Afghan families since January 2017. The assessments address a wide range of vulnerabilities, including access to Education and legal issues. These data allow NRC to develop activities based on needs clearly identified by Afghans themselves.

During the implementation stage, Afghan families are involved by identifying focal points within their communities. The focal points then liaise with female-headed households, Afghans with specific needs such as physical limitations, who cannot reach the authorities to get access to services. Furthermore, our Information Counseling & Legal Assistance (ICLA) unit receives daily calls from Afghan families though the ‘ICLA Hotline’. They gather information on Afghan families who face challenges when accessing services, including primary education and the documentation requirements to properly register and enroll children in primary schools.

There is also very good involvement of school personnel. NRC has established good working relationships with schools’ principals and teachers. Many focus group discussions and meetings with Afghan families take place inside the schools. Teachers have been instrumental for NRC: They understand the dynamics of the classes, the challenges faced by Afghan children such as language barriers (e.g. Pashtun children may not have Persian as their first language), and help in the integration of the Afghan pupils with host communities.

All activities are coordinated with local Iranian authorities, with which NRC works very closely.

We also do some follow up with the communities on activities by meeting regularly with them to get their feedback on the services provided. These focus group discussions allow NRC teams to adjust the activities accordingly and ensure that adequate and meaningful assistance is provided.

The pilot project with UNHCR mentioned earlier was evaluated by our Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Unit. The report gave some very good recommendations based on seven group discussions with Afghan parents and children in the various project locations. In addition, discussions were also held with local partners and the representatives of the Ministry of Education.

Through all these methods, we have access to and acquire the information needed to make this a success.

All the best,

NRC Teams in Tehran :)