Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

The GPE brings together developing and donor countries, multilateral agencies, civil society organizations and the private sector and private foundations supporting the education sector in developing countries, with a particular focus on accelerating progress toward the Education for All (EFA) goals.

Established in 2002 as the EFA Fast Track Initiative (FTI), the GPE has recently undergone a transition to more fully draw on the strengths of the partnership, particularly around collaboration and harmonization at country level. The GPE is underpinned by principles set out in the March 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and globally reaffirmed in the Accra Agenda for Action adopted by the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in September 2008. The GPE operates on the following guiding principles – country ownership, support linked to performance, lower transaction costs, transparency, development results and value-for-money and mutual accountability.

The GPE initiative is distinct in that it emphasizes partnership and mutual accountability. Involving all education key players, the initiative relies on the collective strength of all its partners to achieve the intended education results, increase assistance efficiency and ensure accountability and transparency at all levels. Mindful of mutual responsibility, GPE holds all partners accountable to ensure quality education to all children.

In order to be eligible for a GPE grant, all applicant States must develop a sector plan approved by donors that contains a strategic plan paying attention to the key pillars supporting this bid and, thus, be able to coordinate international efforts to provide high quality education to all children, boys and girls, with priority to be given to the most vulnerable groups. GPE seeks to support efforts set to accelerate the realization of EFA objectives through a broad-based consultation process that involved all GPE partners. During the period 2013-2015, the GPE pays a particular attention to the objective of expanding pre-school education, which is particularly relevant to the Yemeni context.

Central to the work of the GPE in supporting achievement towards the EFA goals are its strategic priorities, identified through a broad-based consultative process involving all the GPE partners. While the GPE supports all six EFA goals, its work from 2011 to 2014 will have a specific focus on the following four priorities: (a) increasing support for fragile states; (b) improving learning outcomes through quality education; (c) increasing support to girls' education; and (d) reducing the number of out-of-school children.

In October 2011, the GPE launched the GPE Fund, which replaced a number of previously existing funds including the Catalytic Fund and the Education Programme Development Fund. The Global Partnership's Board of Directors with guidance from its Financial Advisory Committee governs the GPE Fund.

To support country-level activities to achieve national education goals and objectives, the GPE Fund provides three types of country-level grants. One of these is the Programme Implementation Grant that provides funding for the implementation of a Programme that contributes to the implementation of the national Education Plan. The Programme must be derived from the national Education Plan and aligned with the Global Partnership priorities as appropriate.

At the level of beneficiary country, the global guidelines on support delivery are based on the following:

  • Ownership: Beneficiary states shall apply effective development policies and strategies and coordinate relevant procedures. This means governments have to design, manage, follow up, evaluate and implement any donor-funded projects.
  • Synergy with national priorities and systems: Projects financed by donors should support government priorities and use their administrative and institutional systems while adhering to the national education system and related practices.
  • Align donor activities: To share experience and avoid double implementation, this envisages integration through joint arrangements during planning, financing, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Results-based management: Resources management and improved decision making processes to achieve results whereby the government and donors monitor implementation progress to ensure fulfillment of goals.
  • Joint accountability: Define clear roles and responsibilities of both government and donors across different stages of project implementation based on joint accountability.

Yemen has previously benefited from three FTI funded Programmes, based on which the GPE has made the tentative allocation for a fourth Programme of US$82.6 million in 2013 to cover the period 2013-14 to 2015-2016. Of this US$82.6 million, US$10 million was allocated as “Accelerated Funding” and was transferred by GPE to the Government of Yemen (GoY) through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as a Managing Entity in May 2013 for immediate implementation of a set of emergency activities addressing the effects of the recent crisis and conflict in Yemen. This represents component 2.5- Emergency Activities - of the original proposal to the GPE. The remaining Regular Fund of US$72.6 million is designed as a grant to support the implementation of Yemen’s existing sectorial education plan – the Medium Term Results Framework (MTRF) 2013-2015 - which was appraised and endorsed by the donors in February 2013.

The GPE Programme in Yemen 2014-2018

The objectives of the GPE Programme in Yemen are to:

  • Increase enrolment rates in basic education.
  • Improve the quality of basic education.
  • Strengthen the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Education (MoE) and education offices in the governorates and districts.
  • Focus on pre-school education as an integral part of basic education.

Consultations between MoE and the GPE initiative over Stage IV of the Programme began in mid-2012. At the time, the World Bank (WB), being the Supervising Entity (SE) of the past three stages, organized a first meeting with MoE in Amman in September 2012. The meeting adopted a decision nominating the WB to play the role of the SE while UNICEF, as the chair of the local education group (LEG) also known as the development partners , was assigned the role of GPE grant coordinating agency (CA). However, deteriorating security conditions led to a reduced profile of the WB all over the country. Instead UNICEF was designated as SE given its technical expertise and the good outreach it enjoys in the capital Sana'a and other provinces, in addition to its capacity to work in poor security environments. The Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Development Agency – GIZ) was nominated to replace UNICEF and serve as CA, marking the first step in the process of Programme preparations.

The GPE Programme preparation process actively involved the GoY, the GPE, the LEG, the CA and the SE. A technical team was set up within the MoE to prepare the GPE Programme document and plan . Discussions also took place with representatives from the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC), the Publics Work Projects (PWP), Education Development Project – Executive Unit, and the Social Fund for Development (SFD). Finally UNICEF was engaged through the Yemen Country Office, Middle East and North Africa region office and the New York Head Office.

The GPE Programme has taken shape following a series of participatory activities involving all levels within MoE at the Centre and sub-national levels. LEG has been actively involved and contributed to this Programme during its development and preparation stages, and has shown great cooperation with MoE.

The preparation process adopted the following methodology:

  1. Preparation of draft documents, working papers and the plan by the technical team with the support of a group of experts.
  2. Discussion of those documents with the CA and the SE.
  3. Presentation of agreed upon outcomes through consultative meetings attended by all stakeholders referred to above.Three consultation meetings were held, as follows:
    1. Consultation workshop in Sana'a from 17-19th November 2012, with the objective of reaching a consensus on how to submit the application to GPE and implementation of the grant;
    2. Second consultative workshop from 15-16th December 2012, aimed at discussing and identifying the activities proposed by the Programme draft document submitted by Yemen. In this workshop, the GPE delegate was able to travel to Sana'a to attend the event.
    3. The third consultation meeting held on 27 February 2013 approved the outcome of the MTRF assessment, the GPE education document and the application form
  4. Outcomes of the consultation meetings are sent to the GPE Education Secretariat, which in turn, submits the same to experts to check the quality of its content. This process seeks to:
    1. Ensure transparency and cooperation and also to adopt decisions on how to utilize and implement the grant;
    2. Verify the relevance of activities and the extent to which these are interlinked with the National Education Plan in Yemen;
    3. Review appropriateness of these objectives with those of the GPE Education Strategy;
    4. Explore the existing funding modalities and how they are commensurate with applicable government systems as well as integration with other donor-funded Programmes; and
    5. Ensure that the fragile situation in the country in the post-conflict era and the transitional period have been fully considered in the education plan.

Pursuant to the proposal of the GoY and the LEG submitted to the GPE General Secretariat, the GPE Board of Directors decided during its meeting held on 22 May 2013 to grant the GoY the sum of US$82.6 million to execute the GPE Program. This fund was divided between the Accelerated Fund of US$10 million which was released to UNICEF as Managing Entity in June 2013 and the Regular GPE Programme of US$72.6 million which at that time was agreed to be used as a contribution to support the implementation of the MTRF, with UNICEF as Supervising Entity.

During its Board Meeting on 26 February 2014, the GPE Board revised its earlier decision of 22 May 2013 and requested that UNICEF assume a stronger accountability and oversight role than proposed, becoming both Managing and Supervising entity for the GPE programme in Yemen. Both UNICEF and the GoY accepted this request. The GPE Board expressed considerations of the grant related to this revised decision as follows:

  1. Approving to allocate a grant of US$72.6 million to the GoY to implement the GPE program for a period of four years. The funds will be transferred to UNICEF as the supervising and managing entity to be implemented using the existing Programme of Country Cooperation Modality with the GoY, and according to UNICEF's regular rules and procedures;
  2. Approving to allocate US$1 million for management and supervision costs plus US$5.808 million as administrative costs for UNICEF; and
  3. The need to review the roles and responsibilities, tasks and current terminology with regard to supervision and administration being a priority.

UNICEF Headquarters will request annual transfers according to the requirements of the annual work plan and implementation progress. Upon receipt of these funds at UNICEF HQ, they will be transferred to UNICEF Yemen Country Office. The GoY will, according to all proper and necessary internal procedures, open an account in the Central Bank of Yemen for local fund and IBY for the donor fund under the name of the GPE Unit of the MoE. Using the 4 Year GPE Workplan and the GPE Annual Workplan, the MoE will submit quarterly disbursement requests to UNICEF along with required supporting documents for each activity. Once reviewed by UNICEF and approved, UNICEF Yemen Country Office will transfer the required quarterly disbursement to the account of the MoE GPE Unit. All quarterly disbursement requests will be made using UNICEF’s standardized transfer request process.