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This PowerPoint presentation introduces a complex simulation developed by the UMass Education in Crisis and Conflict Network (ECCN) project team. The simulation provided the basic framework of a training workshop for USAID education officers from multiple countries affected by crisis or conflicts, held in Bangkok during the week of October 31 to November 4, 2016.

Simulations are a powerful training methodology that is modeled on real-life situations, but are compressed in time and scope. Simulations are used to provide opportunity for active participation of all participants and to require them to understand various stakeholders. By having to take on various roles participants must understand the perspectives and motivations of the stakeholder they are playing. Simulations lead to lively interaction and more intense involvement with the subject matter. In this training workshop, the simulation requires participants to create an actual project design.

The goals for the workshop were to:

  1. Use data and information on crisis and conflict-affected contexts to inform responsive programming.
  2. Procure and oversee or manage a Rapid Education and Risk Analysis.
  3. Create relevant, evidence-based project designs using theories of change that address key challenges of education programs in crisis and conflict-affected environments, including equity, conflict-sensitivity, safety, and institutional capacity.
  4. Apply principles of collaborative learning and adaptive management (CLA) in the design, management, monitoring and evaluation of education programming in crisis and conflict affected settings.
  5. Select and use appropriate award mechanisms to provide flexibility and adaptation for education programs in crisis- and conflict-affected environments.

The participants were introduced to a country they had never heard of before: Kampustan. The ECCN training team created this fictional country as a sandbox for participants to explore the goals and concepts. Kampustan was designed to be an East Asian country struggling with equity issues, government upheaval, protests and armed rebellion. It was crafted with care, based on research from seven countries in the region, and included an artist’s rendition of Kampustan’s geography with regions, ethnic identities, military and agriculture.

Participants were divided into groups which examined stacks of data cards for Kampustan as part of a simulated Rapid Education and Risk Analysis (RERA) activity. Discussions were animated as they decided which issues in Kampustan were causes of the major problems, which were effects, and how the issues related to each other.

They refined their analysis into a list of findings, a simplified version of what would be found as part of a real RERA activity. The groups were challenged to find the right level of detail, language and tone in their list of key findings. Groups were then asked to plan education programs for the specific challenges in Kampustan using tools and resources specific to crisis and conflict contexts. The need for flexibility in such environments was stressed.

This is one of several simulations developed by the UMass ECCN team. Previous simulations were used in workshops organized by ECCN in Ethiopia and north-east Nigeria.