For DE trainers in Slovakia, the leader (the ideal model) in DE methods and achieved goals is Ireland. For that reason I came to Ireland to network and learn new working procedures and experiences from KOWC on regional level, but also from NYCI on national level. But everything has changed.
During my placement (thanks to Grundtvig assistantship) with Kerry One World Centre (KOWC) I wanted to test my skills and experience DE work with people in Ireland. I was hoping that through cooperation and sharing with DE lectors from Irish NGOs I will be able to implement my own ideas about the concept of MDGs and sustainable development into my media production, postgradual research and everyday work back home in Slovakia.
Sorry, we are closed
In November I was happy to attend one of the NYCI projects ‘Taking the Lead! – action for global justice through youth work’ (as a preparation part for One World Week central event). It was training and also meeting of some DE trainers and youth workers from whole Ireland. We were discussing about the concept of Beyond 2015 agenda (what we want to make after the deadline for achieving Millennium Development Goals). We were also planning the steps towards effective showcase of active Irish young citizens in March – during the Irish Presidency of the EU.
In few days the follow up of that training ‘Taking the Lead!’ is supposed to be. So I wrote an email to DE project coordinator of NYCI: Elaine Mahon and I received very strange answer: “The NYCI Development Education programme has closed (due to an abrupt cease in funding)”. How could be possible that national programme (important specially during next few months of Irish EU presidency), that was successfully running many DE projects over the past 10 years, has simply closed? People around NYCI hope that the programme will be up and running again in June 2013 (at the end of Irish EU presidency). But what if not? There are no other organizations like NYCI.
Development education in time of economic crisis
The discussion about recent EU declaration on development education and about upcoming Irish EU presidency will be “on the table” everyday for next few months. So also regional DE NGOs like Kerry One World Centre are taking action on national level towards the implementation of that EU declaration, signed up by 398 MEPs in summer 2012.
At the end of October we invited Irish MEP Phil Prendergast to visit Kerry One World Centre in Tralee and asked her for the support for development education and active global citizenship. As a member of the European Parliament she is focused on main policy areas affecting Ireland, such as EU support for the Irish economy, the EU budget, EU funding. According to her: “Education, transport of teaching skills is very important, not only in Ireland.”
The EU should pay particular attention to development education and awareness raising and respect the role of civil society and local authorities in development. To stop the work in development education area (especially in times of economic crisis and rise of nationalist and populist movements) would be not good idea.
Author: Bozena Baluchova (Development education trainer in Slovakia & Ireland)
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.