The principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness are applied in the education sector in Bolivia. There is also a strong national and sectoral commitment to marginalised and indigenous populations, and to the involvement of civil society in planning and implementation processes. The education strategic plan, in line with the National Development Plan, includes a strong focus on intra-, intercultural and multilingual education, which aims to respond to the cultural and ethnic variety of the Bolivian population. The plan emphasises gender equity as one of its strategic principles.
The leadership of the Ministry of Education has strengthened through the formulation of the education strategic plan and the implementation of a Code of Conduct. The Ministry has insisted that the donor community align with the plan and use national budgetary systems. All support of the donor community is now in line with the sector plan.
Photo: The Chiquitania in the neighbourhood of Concepción (Rossanne Vlasveld)
Accountability has improved through the participation of civil society (including both women’s organisations and women at community level) in the formulation of the educational law and in the process for monitoring and evaluation. There are regular meetings between the Ministry of Education, the donor community and civil society organisations. The Ministry of Education also meets with the Indigenous Education Councils (CEPOS) which represent the different indigenous people in Bolivia. The Councils are also developing a gender equality focus in relation to the intercultural dimension of education.
One of the instruments to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action in Bolivia is the Memorandum of Understanding that is to be formulated in line with the new strategic plan. The challenge will be to include not only the donors to the basket fund, but also others. This would be a logical next step after the Code of Conduct. The other instrument to be developed is a common set of indicators as part of the strategic plan, which is accepted by the whole donor community.
The members of the basket fund are preparing the next phase of support, which is linked to the new strategic plan. The conditions and time frames of the different members vary. To keep transaction costs for the Ministry to a minimum, a joint calendar has been developed and each donor is responsible for a defined part of the appraisal process. The analysis of the collected information is a joint process.
The Ministry of Education and the donor community have agreed on an evaluation of the donor community on the implementation of the Paris Declaration. The Ministry of Education has developed a proposal. One of the challenges is to implement this evaluation, taking into account that some of the donors are not very willing to be part of it.
Despite these gains in ownership, accountability and a results-based focus, however, there is a need to further strengthen Ministry and civil society capacity to play effective roles in these processes, and to broaden coordination mechanisms at local government levels. Not all actors have similar understandings of the sector wide approach or of ownership.
One of the important lessons learned is that the implementation of the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action can only be effective and successful when there is political commitment from both the government and the donor community as a whole, and when there is a strong co-ordination of the donor group with continuity and follow-up on the decisions and agreements. A negative factor is the high rotation of staff and the lack of capacity on both the government and donor side.
“While access to education has improved for women, in particular for rural women, underlying gender differences that cause inequality are still being reproduced at higher levels of education.”
The Viceministry of Equal Opportunities (National Plan for Equal Opportunities)
“The gender gap in access to different levels of education has been closed step by step, and the share of girls and boys in formal education is similar. But as injustices continue to exist, education must also promote civic education, intercultural dialogue and ethical and moral values.”
The Ministry of Education
The original version of this case study was included in the report “Key messages and case studies for the HLF-3 roundtables from the workshop on “Strengthening the development results and impacts of the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness through work on gender equality, social exclusion and human rights”, London, 12-13 March 2008”.