Sightsavers at the CIES education conference 2024

March 2024
Two school students in Zambia huddle together at a desk. One is writing, the other is looking at the work.

Sightsavers attended the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) global conference in Miami on 6-14 March 2024, to share our expertise and engage with the education community.

Our goal was to explore how we can transform inclusive education.

The theme for the 2024 CIES conference was The Power of Protest, and we’re fighting for equal access to quality education for all children.

Sightsavers presented in four sessions, including two panels, during the conference. We showcased some of our innovative education projects, demonstrating how we’re generating evidence of ways to strengthen inclusive education systems for long-term sustainability.

For more information, visit the conference website.

How can you make a difference?

If we want inclusive education programmes to make an impact, collaboration is key. To learn how to get involved, email Anna Becker, director of institutional funding: [email protected]

Wednesday 6 March (online)

Policy approaches to inclusive education by governments and schools

  • Time: 4.15pm EST (1.5 hours)
  • Location: Online (Zoom Room 107)
  • With presentation by Sightsavers: Review of economic evaluations of inclusive education projects conducted in Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya. View the presentation
  • Speakers: Guillaume Trotignon and Iain Jones

Sightsavers conducted studies into the costs of its inclusive education projects in public schools in Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya. Our presentation will highlight evidence from the studies to support governments with planning and budgeting for inclusive education systems.

Read more about our costing studies in Senegal and Cameroon. Further reports available soon via Sightsavers’ research centre.

Monday 11 March

Panel: Evaluating a tool for school-based identification of children with functional difficulties: the Child Functioning Module – Teacher Version

  • Time: 6.30pm EST (1.5 hours)
  • Location: Hyatt Regency Miami, Third Level, Miami lecture hall
  • With presentation by Sightsavers: Findings from feasibility test of Child Functioning Module – Teacher Version in Sierra Leone. View the presentation
  • Speaker: Julia de Kadt

In many low and middle income countries identifying children with functional difficulties in educational settings poses a substantial challenge. To address this, the Washington Group on Disability Statistics, in collaboration with UNICEF, developed the Child Functioning Module – Teacher Version (CFM-TV) tool. This panel showcases three evaluations of the CFM-TV, providing an opportunity to combine learnings and discuss future research priorities. Sightsavers will present findings from our feasibility test of the CFM-TV in Sierra Leone.
Read more about this research

Wednesday 13 March

Parents and communities as holistic support systems for their students

  • Time: 8am EST (1.5 hours)
  • Location: Hyatt Regency Miami, Terrace Level, Gardenia A+B
  • With presentation by Sightsavers: Experiences of inclusive education amongst girls and boys with disabilities, their parents and teachers in schools in Senegal and Cameroon. View the presentation
  • Speaker: Sapana Basnet

We will present our study that captured the lived experiences of pupils with disabilities, their parents and their teachers in Senegal and Cameroon. We explored people’s perceptions of disability and inclusive education. Despite notable progress, there are numerous challenges yet to be solved. Learn more from our findings and gain insight into priorities that must be addressed to achieve inclusive education.
Read more about this research


Two teachers stand either side of a colourful blackboard showing the Braille alphabet.
Teachers Mrs Awa and Mr Dethie, from a school in Pikine, Senegal, are taking part in Sightsavers' inclusive education programme. © Sightsavers/Maroussia Mbaye

Panel: Promising approaches to generating inclusive data for children with disabilities: the role of learning assessment tools

  • Time: 4.45pm EST (1.5 hours)
  • Location: Hyatt Regency Miami, Terrace Level, Hibiscus B
  • With presentation by Sightsavers: Performance of the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) when used with children with functional difficulties in Kenya. View the presentation
  • Speaker: Sheru W Muuo

There is an urgency to develop early childhood development and education services in low and middle income countries, particularly for children with disabilities. The International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) is a standardised assessment of early childhood learning and development, validated for use in these countries. Guidelines exist for using IDELA with children with a range of functional difficulties, yet little is known about how the tool performs when conducting inclusive assessments. In this presentation, we will share our key learnings and recommendations from our study in Kenya to improve the use of IDELA when assessing children inclusively.
Read more about this research

A teacher in Kenya holds an iPad while a young student taps the screen.
An assessor and learner in Kenya using the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) tool. © Sightsavers/Ninth Wonder Productions

See how Sightsavers is transforming education

Our inclusive education work

Stories about education

Johannes Trimmel
Sightsavers blog

The key to inclusive education is engaging organisations of people with disabilities

Collaborating with organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs) on our inclusive education projects has earned the Sightsavers-led Inclusive Futures consortium a Zero Project Award in 2024.

Johannes Trimmel, February 2024
Mariana Rudge.
Sightsavers blog

How inclusive education can create a more equal and sustainable future

As learners with disabilities are disproportionately affected by global crises such as climate change, we're urging governments to build more resilient education systems for everyone.

Mariana Rudge, September 2023
Veronica Stapleton.
Sightsavers blog

Making assessments more accessible for children with disabilities

How an evaluation tool to assess children’s development has been adapted for young children with disabilities in Kenya.

Veronica Stapleton, February 2023