Qs: How do you plan on scaling Koulu School? & "It would be interesting though to learn more about the way Koulu has tackled the formalization of the methodology." A: We are grateful and excited that the Open Ideo’s expert panel sees so much potential in scaling and integrating it with existing EiE programs and action! We would love to work with international experts in making this happen.
On formalization: At the moment we have a manual (in English) and materials (in Finnish, English, Arabic and Nepali) for peer teacher training, a presentation and video of the idea and basic elements, initial manual for organising a Koulu School activity and for setting up a inspiring, safe and supportive space (both in English). Modelling and formalising the method further with toolkits and other types of implementation support is one of the keys for scaling, but we know very well that that does not yet scale the real use of the model. There are several potential channels and ways for scaling Koulu School inside the ecosystems of humanitarian action, which are not mutually exclusive but need to be prioritized based on their impact and feasibility. Koulu can be scaled e.g. through through FCA’s ecosystem of country offices, activities and channels of FCA as well as its partners and through what we call open access / open source model available online for anyone.
In the ecosystemand operations of FCA there are two fruitful opportunities at hand in the recent future: a) FCA is at the moment preparing guidelines and toolkit for psychosocial support for all its operations by its country offices and their field work, especially from the educational point of view. Koulu School can be included as one of the tools in the toolkit. There will be pilots on the guidelines and toolkit during 2017 and full implementation to all FCA’s 15 operating countries during 2018. There are different platforms that support distribution, adopting and maintaining the model: program workers gather together annually for e.g. introduction of new guidelines and tools; there are education specialists in each of the operating countries; FCA has an online training platform Learning Lab and it coordinates a Finnish volunteer network of Teachers without Borders that supports improvement of education by providing volunteer experts to different countries.
b) FCA trains formal teachers in almost all of its 15 operating countries. FCA develops the training continuously and is at the moment developing a psychosocial module for the training. Koulu School model can be included in the teacher training. FCA is a highly valued partner in development of education in different countries. E.g. after our Nepal pilot there has been interest in including Koulu School in the national teacher manual.
When FCA has more experience and examples of implementation and evidence of the different impacts of the model (learning outcomes, empowerment and other psychosocial impacts), the model can be introduced to FCA’s vast partner networks (e.g. Act Alliance, the Global Education Cluster, Inter-Agency Network of Education in, Emergencies.local partner organisations)
We value the expert comment on scaling a service is harder than scaling the implementation of a tool – this is something that keeps as awake at nights. Working with experienced and innovative people on this would be a dream come true!
Another, supplementing channel for scaling we want to mention here is what we call Open Access & Open Source dispo: Koulu School aims to provide toolkits and other support online for adopting and adapting the model by anyone who wants to use it and for any context they want to use it. The resources for this can be developed alongside the work for the official humanitarian ecosystems. We dream that in the future the community could contribute to the development of the model with their adaptations and input, like in Linux and other open source solutions. We are keen to do this as Koulu School has since the beginning raised interest in civil society networks, educational and cultural institutions and even companies. Through already existing materials, different actors have independently organised Koulu School activities e.g. in Finland and Germany. We want to continue supporting and enabling this independent action with better means (e.g. developing the online access and support to materials and trainer training). We also have contacts to global civil society networks which are interested in spreading Koulu School, such as Burners without Borders, a disaster relief and community initiatives network.
We however acknowledge that we need to be careful in prioritizing and not spreading our resources too thin but first concentrate on the most readily impactful ways of scaling.
Questions by the Expert Panel and our Answers: Q: Does the training include a psychosocial component? Q: Young refugees are a particularly vulnerable group, are facilitators trained to pay attention to the mental states of the young people they are working with? Q: How will you ensure that psychosocial well being for highly vulnerable and/or traumatised young people is supported? Q: What type of evidence-based treatments or strategies will you use?
A: Koulu School method is a holistic model as it both supports gaining new skills and knowledge and increases the psychosocial well-being of its beneficiaries. The method itself is a tool for community-based psychosocial support as it empowers the youth by providing them an opportunity to contribute positively to the community, increases self-worth through skill discovery and development, and generates new social structures and relationships.
In addition to training the young peer teachers, the model includes Training of the Trainers that is under development. This will include a module of understanding and using methods for psychosocial support to help the trainers in paying attention and supporting vulnerable beneficiaries. FCA has expertise in this: it has trained e.g. teachers in psychosocial support and is currently developing a holistic guideline and toolkit for psychosocial support that will be implemented in all its operations, and will also be utilised in developing Koulu School’s trainings. FCA has done this work with Church of Sweden, a member of ActAlliance which is specialised in psychosocial support in humanitarian work. Also, in the first phases we aim to recruit trainers, who already have experience in working with vulnerable youth.
Moreover, the Peer Teacher Training is itself a tool for psychosocial support as it increases the skills and knowledge as well as emotional and social well-being of its young participants through e.g. empowerment, self-expression, shared fun and increased self-confidence, which have been important impacts according to our initial user feedback.
Furthermore, the model could encourage more community-based approach to education by establishing study and hobby groups, supporting the involvement of parents in formal and informal learning, and allowing to maintain the culture of beneficiaries. For instance, this could involve forming a study group of mathematics or language taught by a peer or a parent or inviting a community member that is skilled in playing a traditional instrument to form an after school activity.
Thank you OpenIdeo & experts for feedback – we are very happy and excited that you see huge potential for scaling & impact in Koulu School! Thank you for sharp questions, many of them have been bubbling in our minds as well - how to scale the service and maintain the quality, how to measure impact, how to use Koulu effectively and safely for psychosocial support? We would absolutely love to work with you to tackle and make the most of these issues.
Of the many questions of the expert panel, we'll first address here the questions regarding psychosocial aspects: Q: Have you considered measuring the impact that Koulu School may have in terms of psychosocial state?
A: Impact measurement is an highly important aspect for us. We have drafted initial impact indicator and gathered feedback of the prototype pilots. In the sustained measuring of impact, the method will be evaluated mostly qualitatively as the quantitative, psychological assessment would require psychiatric professionals and longer intervention that would enable recording data from both baseline situation and after intervention, as well as a control group.
We have gathered initial feedback also of psychosocial aspects and want to develop a robust, replicable framework for measuring the impact. For the purpose of impact measurement, we are planning to use the method of ‘Most Significant Change’ (MSC) and “Well-being Flower” for creating indicators and analysis tool. MSC entails beneficiaries themselves assessing the different impacts and changes the implementation of the Koulu School method has brought upon both individuals and community as well as prioritizing them due to their prominence. This means organizing focus group discussions for the different target groups of the activity after each intervention. Moreover, the data from these focus group discussions will be further analyzed following the “Well-being Flower” and indicators based on that. This holistic framework includes the social, spiritual, cultural, mental, emotional, biological, material aspects of well-being and it has been broadly utilized in the work of Church of Sweden (part of ACT Alliance like FCA) in assessing psycho-social impact of their programs. The framework and more specific definitions of its dimensions can be accessed in the Community-Based Psychosocial support Manual of Church of Sweden (p.42) on http://18.104.22.168/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Community_Based_Psychosocial_Support_Training_Manual.pdf