What is the Regional Education Learning Initiative

The Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI) began in 2017 as a joint program of Wellspring and the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC). Administrative leadership of RELI is provided by Wellspring and APHRC, but the initiative is driven by its members. Membership in RELI is by invitation only. RELI’s core, the long-term goal is to empower its members to become effective, influential organizations.

The four objectives of RELI are better coordination and alignment, improved learning outcomes, policy influence, and thematic principles of good practice. Three of the four key objectives of RELI relate to cross-project learning: development of thematic principles of good practice, policy influence, and better coordination and alignment of participating organizations. There are several mechanisms within RELI which help advance these objectives at the regional and the country level.

Currently, RELI organizations have identified three cross-country thematic clusters: Teacher Development and Support, Life Skills, and Equity and Inclusion. These clusters are constantly in evolution and are guided by the work, choices, and composition of the organizations who are members of RELI.

To enhance the work of the clusters and the individual organizations, Well Made Strategy (WMS) provides communications support to RELI. Organizations have the opportunity to participate in consultations with WMS during convenings, and WMS provides communication strategies for influencing policy during the country and regional convenings. In addition to the work with the organizations, WMS provides assistance to RELI leadership, including Wellspring and APHRC, to improve RELI’s communications and ability to utilize RELI as a mechanism promoting learning. WMS serves on RELI’s convening planning committee and helps with learning and communications-related tasks.

At the organizational level, RELI has provided MEL Mentors in each country of its work. MEL Mentors assist organizations in developing program MEL structures following baseline assessments, enabling organizations to move beyond the mechanics of project evaluation towards learning. The MEL Mentors also help link organizations to the evidence-building functions of RELI.

Regional convenings will happen under RELI (approximately) every year and largely focus on the three grantee-identified thematic clusters. Each cluster will develop two learning questions to explore together, as well as a plan for how they will explore these questions collaboratively. Each cluster has two cluster facilitators who will be responsible for guiding discussion and organizing intermittent learning phone calls for cluster members to hear from colleagues about topics related to their learning questions. Clusters are accompanied by Principal Investigators who work to document the learnings from each cluster annually, creating a sort of “best practice” guide over time for use by East African policymakers and beyond. Clusters are guided by the work happening in each country within the in-country clusters organized around the same topics.

Country convenings happen (approximately) every year in Kenya, Uganda (encompassing the small number of grants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Tanzania. Country convenings largely focus on policy influence, country-level learnings, and other topics of interest to the country group. Each country has a country facilitator nominated from amongst its members who helps to organize intermittent phone calls to discuss opportunities, challenges, and learnings as well as other opportunities for policy influence. Within each country, there are thematic groups that work to influence policy, share learnings, and strategize together.

© 2018 RELI Africa. All Rights Reserved.