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Collaboration Among Many Stakeholders Is Critical

It may go without saying that collaboration on certification in such complex contexts will be important. Nevertheless, some examples of effective collaboration will be helpful. One example is the success of the UNESCO Regional Programme of Education for Emergencies project in Somalia, which worked across ministries of education that laid claim to certification responsibilities for citizens in parts of Somalia in the early 1990s; it was able to provide internationally recognized certificates (Kirk 2009). As challenging as it is, this example provides credence to the possibility of certification within the similarly complex northern Syria context. A discussion around collaboration cannot forget the criticality of local partners in any effort.

Studies of certification efforts in Cote d’Ivoire (Chelpi-Den Hamer 2007) and Nepal (Parker et al. 2013) during periods of internal con?flict highlighted how valuable local organizations were in starting and supporting education and furthering certification efforts. In these circumstances, local entities have unique resources (e.g., local knowledge, local language capacity, and access). In Cote d’Ivoire, it was local initiatives that enabled the reopening of schools in the north a few months after the start of conflict (Chelpi-Den Hamer 2007). These efforts were later formalized into a local nongovernmental organization (NGO) that then acted, in practice, like a federation, or in some ways like an activated Education Cluster might. Similar undertakings are occurring in northern Syria and a similar pathway seems quite feasible.

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