Innovation and Private Education in West Africa

Every year, more parents in West Africa are sending their children to private schools, hoping to secure better learning opportunities and a better future. In crisis settings, non-state schools, including religious schools, are often considered safer. Within this context of growing private provision of education to marginalized populations, donors, governments, educators and parents need to ask hard questions: How can parents ensure that they are getting a good value for their investment? How can government officials engage with private schools to regulate quality and ethical standards? How can quality be improved and innovation be supported? How can these schools — many of which are low-fee institutions — be financed?

Wednesday, May 15
9:30 – 11 am (breakfast at 9 am)
Results for Development
1111 19th Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Jean-Michel Severino — the former head of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and author of several influential books — delivered remarks, followed by an engaging panel discussion featuring former Liberian Minister of Education George Werner, R4D President Gina Lagomarsino and R4D Education Director Molly Jamieson Eberhardt.

Jean-Michel Severino is the author of several books, including Africa’s Moment. Currently, he spearheads an initiative funded by the government of Monaco to improve education in West Africa with the help of impact investing finance. The Monaco initiative is aimed at addressing education deficits in some of the most challenging situations that often get short shrift from donors and others.

George Werner served as Liberia’s Minister of Education from 2015 – 2018. During his tenure, he led bold reforms, including the “Getting to Best” program, aimed at overhauling the education system to give all Liberian children access to free, quality education. He now uses his experience and expertise to help assist other African leaders to implement transformative reform agendas aimed at developing human capital and maximizing demographic dividends for long-term economic growth.

Throughout her career, R4D President and CEO Gina Lagomarsino has focused on improving the accessibility and quality of health and education services for low-income populations. As one of the original co-founders of R4D, she served as chief operating officer from 2013-2016, building the financial, human resources and operational systems necessary for a growing organization. Taking over as CEO in 2016, she helped set the organization on a new course to strengthen health, education and nutrition systems around the world.

R4D Education Program Director Molly Jamieson Eberhardt leads the adaptive learning and evaluation work within R4D’s global education practice, including working with partners to embed rigorous monitoring and evaluation methods into program design and implementation to inform real-time, data-driven decision-making. She also co-leads the R4D-led Rapid Feedback Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning consortium, a USAID initiative that is piloting innovative evaluation approaches with USAID Missions and implementing partners to generate evidence throughout the program implementation cycle.

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