The role of Development Education (DE) and Awareness Raising (AR) has been acknowledged as essential for the EU to live up to its European as well as international commitments to development. This has been particularly evident in the New Member States (NMS) where a lot of effort has been spent on both actions to build up the public support and strengthen the emerging national ODA policies. With the increasing number of DE & AR actions in NMS inevitably a debate on its effectiveness and sustainability emerges as an imperative question to be addressed.
The European conference “Effectiveness in Development Education and Awareness Raising” held in Prague within the framework of the Czech EU Presidency followed on the conference model built in Helsinki in 2006 where the process of the elaboration of the European Development Education Consensus started. Over 100 participants who represented European non-governmental organizations, national ministries, state institutions and EU institutions met in Prague on 28th – 29th May 2009.
The event was organized by People in Need, a Czech NGDO, in co-operation with the national NGDO platform Czech Forum for Development Co-operation (FoRS) and CONCORD. The conference took place with the support of the EC and the Czech MFA.
The objectives of the conference were to contribute to the already ongoing processes focusing on evaluation and effectiveness of DE & AR and to increase the quality in the field of DE&AR practice. The conference provided a forum for sharing best practices on DE&AR actions and on strategic frameworks for their implementations. The participants had more space to further discuss and develop their ideas within the framework of four working groups (WG). To illustrate, the concrete recommendations based on agreement in the WG „Citizenship education as quality development education” were: to engage youth based on their own interest and speak with them in their own language by letting them use their media to communicate; to create opportunities for youth to have ownership of actions; to build capacity of the DE/AR practitioners; to show the connections between local acting and global changes; to learn with and from (and not only about) the South.
The final recommendations of each working group were presented at the end of the conference and will become available soon. Please check out the FoRS website at: http://www.fors.cz/en/eu_presidency/ or contact email@example.com
Information provided by Lenka Sobotová, People in Need
Photo: Iva Zímová