The root of problems of access, quality and equity in education is found in the fact that the parents of poor children have little or no voice in education policy processes. This is why influencing educational reform at a local level is only part of our work. Engaging in national education policy debate is equally important.
In an effort to place education reform higher up on the domestic political agenda, we have played a major role in building national alliances on basic education in many countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. These often bring together diverse international and national NGOs, trade unions (especially teachers' unions), parents' associations, women's movements, child labour or debt campaigners and social movements.
The activities of these alliances and coalitions have included:
- influencing government policy
- mobilising the wider public through rallies, petitions and special events
- campaigning and lobbying to end gender discrimination
- working with the media and celebrities to influence public opinion
- engaging in cross-country research studies
- targeting the national budget process by producing simplified versions of the education budget
Many national governments have drawn on learning from our practical field experiences, or those of our partners, in their policy making. Co-operation and links with government education institutions are strong in many countries, particularly so in Africa.