“Change the world through concrete actions”

Adult education is a key for achieving social change and reducing poverty levels around the world. Many of the EAEA members therefore address the issue of adult education and development. EAEA asked La Ligue de l’Enseignement from France about their work in adult education and its contribution to international solidarity and sustainable development.

“We think that we can change the world and make it a better place through concrete actions,” say Floriane Langlais and Eve-Laure Gay from La Ligue. The French member organisation of EAEA promotes the concept of international solidarity in education. “Our understanding of development is holistic, that means that development happens for everybody, everywhere in the world. This idea of development is part of all our actions.”

The development projects of La Ligue take this strong relationship between adult education and development into account. The adult education projects implemented in France are mainly awareness raising campaigns about issues of development, whereas the projects implemented in the Global South introduce non-formal and informal learning for young people and adults as a measure to achieve development.

Raising awareness about unequal access to education

With the campaign “No education – no future” (website in French), La Ligue wants to raise awareness about global inequalities in the access to education and promote international solidarity. “For our projects in development cooperation, we have partners all over the world, from Asia to Africa. They are mainly local organisations such as learning and leisure centres, and international solidarity organisations,” explains Ms. Langlais. “We consider these partners as ‘real’ partners among equals.”

“No education – no future” aims to improve the learning conditions and the access to formal and non-formal education in countries of the Global South. At the same time, the campaign informs the public in France about these actions in the partner countries and unequal access to education in the world. Since 2002, La Ligue receives funding for this project from the French Agency for Development and the French Ministry of Education.

Fostering international solidarity

In the programme “Chantier de Solidarité”, young adults between the age of 15 and 25 create their own projects dealing with development and education issues in the Global South. “After approval of the project by a committee made of representatives from several ministries and youth organisations, the youth group goes to a country of the Global South to implement the project with young people living there. The cooperation with local partners of La Ligue guarantees the success and sustainability of the project,” says Ms. Langlais.

An example of ‘Chantiers’ is a recent project of 10 young people in Tunisia. “Cycling is not popular in Tunisia and many Tunisian areas have no public transport service with makes the way to school or work more difficult. In order to promote it as a sustainable means of transport, the project partners from France and Tunisia opened a place to rent bicycles which is managed by young volunteers in their free time. Not only did the project raise awareness about green transport, but it was also an informal learning experience for the project partners,” she tells. When the young people came back to France, they shared their experience with their peers and a larger audience of young people and adults in presentations. This way, the participants of the presentations became multipliers of the project.

Sustainable organisational development

Apart from the projects in development cooperation, La Ligue offers nationwide training sessions on citizenship for both volunteers and staff of the La Ligue network. The trainings are part of the national training plan of La Ligue for its network.

For 20 years, La Ligue has developed a certification called the “CED-label” (Citizenship, Environment and Sustainable Development) to its educational and leisure centres. This label recognises and validates their pedagogical approach and practices in the field of sustainable development and can be renewed every three years. The participating centres are usually holiday centres for children and young people or recreational centers which offer, among others, programmes to raise awareness about nature and sustainable lifestyle. Annual trainings on sustainability are also part of the national training plan: “La Ligue believes that sustainability is important not only in our development projects, but also within the organisation. An example are trainings for the cooks of the holiday centres who learn how to prepare healthy meals from local and organic ingredients,” says Ms. Gay.

This interview with La Ligue is part of an article series on adult education and development that will be published throughout the European Year for Development 2015 (EYD).

Text: Felix Meyer and Raffaela KihrerPhotos: La Ligue de l’Enseignement France

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