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 and international solidarity 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 Europe 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 initiative “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,” 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 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 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Agency for Development and the National Agencies for 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 education issues in the Global South. “After approval of the project by a committee of La Ligue, the youth group goes to a country of the Global South to implement the project. 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. In order to promote it as a sustainable means of transport, the project partners from France and Tunisia opened a place to rent bicycles. 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 international citizenship for both volunteers and staff of the La Ligue network. The trainings follow the national training plan.
Since 20 years, La Ligue has offered a certification for the “CED-label” (Citizenship, Environment and Sustainable Development) to its education and leisure centres. This label recognises and validates their competences in the field of sustainability and is issued every three years. The participating centres are usually holiday centres for children and young people or recreational centers which offer programmes to raise awareness about nature and sustainable lifestyle. The staff receives annual trainings on sustainability: "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.
Text: Felix Meyer and Raffaela Kihrer
Photos: La Ligue de l’Enseignement France
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).