Education

Improving learning outcomes for all by strengthening education systems, forging cross-sectoral linkages, and engaging stakeholders.

DAI’s Education Practice strengthens the provision of high-quality, inclusive education for children and youth around the world. We work hand-in-hand with educators, policy makers, communities, and stakeholders to implement local solutions, borrowing and building on ideas and innovations from across sectors and working to understand education systems as a whole.

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DAI supports partner countries to create safe learning environments for students of all ages to help them acquire 21st-century skills—literacy, STEM, vocational skills, and critical thinking—and promote their self-reliance. We work within global education frameworks—from the Sustainable Development Goals to bilateral donor agencies’ strategies—to connect our initiatives to the broader development agenda, focusing on core areas including:

School Safety—Young people cannot learn if they feel threatened or fear for their safety. DAI works with education systems holistically—including with communities, teachers, school leaders, ministries of education, and nontraditional education stakeholders—to improve school safety.

Psycho-Emotional Support—The education process can help to heal traumatized children and youth who face adversity. Psycho-emotional support affords children an environment in which they feel safe to learn. Our activities include equipping teachers and education professionals with strategies for efficacy in difficult environments, and developing materials and extracurricular activities that make learning enjoyable and healing for children.

Pre- and In-Service Professional Development for Educators—DAI provides technical support to ministries of education and institutions to improve teacher professional development policy and practices, curriculum and course content, pedagogical approaches, field-based practicums, and performance assessment aligning with global and national indicators. DAI also creates high-quality student and teacher resources, in language, literacy, numeracy, and content areas that are appropriate for the context.

Systems-Level Support—DAI manages innovative programming to better engage communities and a broad range of stakeholders in the education sector, including through mass media campaigns, using tech-enabled tools to solicit citizen feedback, and working to incorporate public priorities into policy and budget decisions. DAI provides all levels of support, from teacher training to policy reform.

Peace and Resiliency—The education sector is a critical avenue for reaching young people and promoting factors that build confidence, resiliency, and—ultimately—peace. DAI’s education programming works at the intersection between formal education and positive youth development, involving parents, caregivers, teachers, and policy makers, and using various tools—from comic books to popular media—to re-shape narratives to promote inclusive messages.

Technology and Innovation—Technology is re-shaping the way we live, but not all technology is equal or applicable to the needs of educators. DAI is committed to testing and understanding the innovative use of technology in improving learning outcomes—and finding ways to scale the solutions that are proven to work.

Cross-Sectoral Programming—Children and young people need books and teachers to learn; they also need to feel safe and healthy. As a cross-sectoral implementer, DAI is committed to making linkages between programs, avoiding siloes, and applying learning and innovation across sectors.


Our Experts


Estera Barbarasa specializes in designing and implementing programs in workforce development, economic growth, market-driven skills development, youth, and gender.

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John Lindsay leads DAI’s Workforce Development and Youth practice, specializing in developing market-driven products and services that improve competitiveness for enterprises and employment opportunities for youth.

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Sakil Malik is DAI’s Senior Global Practice Leader for Education. He has more than 23 years of experience working in international development and international project management, focused on education in conflict programs.

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Greg Maly has spent his career working at the intersection of global development and diplomacy, technology, and the arts.

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Gustavo Payan is an international development specialist with experience in conflict-affected and fragile environments.

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Angie Quintela is an education and governance specialist with a cross-cutting focus on gender and inclusion, and is a founding member of DAI’s education practice.

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Kristen Roggemann has extensive field experience in the Middle East and Africa working on mobile-for-development initiatives in both public and private sector contexts.

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Julie Sellers is a Workforce and Development and Youth Specialist with more than five years of experience.

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Georgia Taylor has been working on gender, women’s economic empowerment, private sector development and sexual and reproductive health for more than 20 years.

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Mosharraf Zaidi is the Team Leader for the Transforming Education in Pakistan programme and Campaign Director for Alif Ailaan, a political campaign to help end Pakistan’s education crisis.

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Our Projects


Jordan—Workforce Development (WFD) Project

In 2014, the Government of Jordan responded to the King’s call for a 10-year economic blueprint for meeting a set of challenging objectives. Key among the objectives was “to enhance policies related to human resources, link education policies to labor market demands, focus on building a labor force through vocational training, especially youth, so that they gradually replace guest labor, and encourage women to join the labor market.”

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Liberia—Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI)

The Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative is improving the citizen-state relationship in Liberia by supporting coalitions and advocacy campaigns that promote public sector accountability.

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Pakistan—AAWAZ Voice and Accountability Programme

AAWAZ brings together civil society development organizations to strengthen Pakistani citizens’ capacity to collectively voice their priorities, bring about reform, and hold the government accountable.

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Pakistan—Transforming Education in Pakistan (TEP)

The Transforming Education in Pakistan (TEP) programme managed a public advocacy campaign in Pakistan to ensure that parents and civil society groups support quality education.

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Thailand—Sapan

Democracy in Thailand foundered in recent years on the heels of a period of strong economic gains. During the political crises and civil unrest of 2005-2010, institutions such as citizen advocates, professional associations, labor unions, and independent media faltered or simply disbanded.

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El Salvador—Puentes para el Empleo (Bridges to Employment Project)

Through Puentes para el Empleo, DAI is supporting USAID in El Salvador to link youth—including young women and vulnerable populations—to basic social resources of work, knowledge, security, and social capital in order to foster inclusion through employment opportunities.

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Pakistan—Education Voice and Accountability Fund (Ilm Ideas)

We are supporting organizations and individuals who are working to demand accountability and promote innovation in Pakistan’s education sector.

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Malawi—Local Government Accountability and Performance (LGAP)

Over 20 years since its first multi-party elections, the government of Malwai is renewing efforts to decentralize government power, based on the principle that sustainable socioeconomic development is best achieved when decisions are made at the local level. Despite an initially strong legal framework for local governance, institutional tensions as well as confusion over roles and responsibilities between levels of government continues to hinder successful decentralization.

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Honduras—Asegurando la Educación (Securing Education)

Asegurando la Educación works to improve schools’ ability to prevent violence, strengthening local networks that increase school safety, and building the capacity of the Ministry of Education and social service agencies to respond to school-based violence in Honduras.

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Tanzania—Feed the Future Tanzania Advancing Youth

The Feed the Future Tanzania Advancing Youth activity helps young people ages 15 to 29 in Tanzania to enhance their employability, business savvy, leadership skills, and participation in civic life.

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Indonesia—Mitra Kunci Initiative

The Mitra Kunci Initiative is providing Indonesia’s poorest and most vulnerable with skills needed to be productive members of Indonesia’s workforce through training, information, and resources to prepare them to meet the needs of the private sector.

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