Development Education

In 2008 began the process of drafting the National Strategy for Development Education (ENED) - a challenge proposed by IPAD (now Camões, IP), with the overall goal to "Promote global citizenship through learning processes and raising awareness of the Portuguese society on development issues, in a context of growing interdependence, having as final goal action targeted to social change." The final document, presented by IPAD in 2010, includes the Portuguese NGDOs Platform contribution, working close with the Development Education Working Group.

According to the document, defining Development Education was challenging. None-the-less, ENED considers good starting points: the definition from the Portuguese NGDO Platform, the contributions from the "A Strategic Vision for Portuguese Cooperation” document and the outlook released by the "European Consensus on Development".

Definition from the Portuguese NGDOs Platform - 2002:

“Development Education is a dynamic, interactive and participatory process aimed at: people’s full education; awareness and understanding the causes of development problems and local and global inequalities in an interdependent context; intercultural experiences; commitment to collective action grounded in justice, equity and solidarity; promoting the right and duty of all people to participate in and contribute to a full and sustainable development. Development Education cannot be confused with fundraising campaigns, organizational marketing or official information on development aid. The singularity of Development Education is its links to the South which is always taken into consideration the speeches and proposals made by and directed to the South. For that reason, it is different from other “Educations”.

Definition from the Strategic Vision - 2005:

“Development Education (DE) is an educational process that promotes social, cultural, political and economic interrelationships between the North and South and that also promotes values and solidarity and justice attitudes, that should feature a responsible global citizenship. It consists on an active learning process, aimed at raising awareness and mobilizing society to sustainable human development priorities. It is fundamental to create the basis for a common understanding and support from the public opinion at a national and international level, regarding development cooperation issues. Although DE is not only about formal education, it is important that it is progressively integrated in school curricula, similarly to other European countries, so that the formal education contributes to the formation of watchful, demanding and participative citizens”. Coordination with the Ministry of Education is fundamental for this matter. On the other hand, DE is not only about international issues, but also it cares about finding solutions and answers to cross-cutting issues of our societies, such as the respect for multiculturalism, immigration and social inclusion, fight against poverty, health education and environmental sustainability campaigns, corporate social responsibility, sustainable consumption and fair trade and media’s social responsibility.

Definition from the European Consensus on DE - 2007:

“Development Education and Awareness Raising contribute to the eradication of poverty and to the promotion of sustainable development through public awareness raising and education approaches and activities that are based on values of human rights, social responsibility, gender equality, and a sense of belonging to one world; on ideas and understandings of the disparities in human living conditions and of efforts to overcome such disparities”. It is also based on participation in democratic actions that influence social, economic, political or environmental situations that affect poverty and sustainable development.

The aim is “to enable every person in Europe to have life-long access to opportunities to be aware of and to understand global development concerns and the local and personal relevance of those concerns, and to enact their rights and responsibilities as inhabitants of an interdependent and changing world by affecting change for a just and sustainable world”.

Although these definitions are the result of different priorities and contexts, it is important to “understand, identify and share the fundamental ideas”, as stated in the first Round Table of the Portugal-Austria interchange. The National Strategy for Development Education presents the main consensus regarding DE:

  • Its general definition as a learning process (educational dimension);
  • Thought and action underlying principles: solidarity, equity, justice, inclusion (ethical dimension);
  • The mobilizing goal: DE is aimed at social transformation, based on an ongoing critical self-reflection, able to disassemble power and hegemonic relations (political dimension).

DE has the following dimensions:

  • DE raises awareness: by sharing information and reflections, by questioning and by making the will to change what is unfair grow;
  • DE raises awareness, educates and mobilizes: leading people to assess their own and other people situations, based on justice and solidarity, to develop strategies and proposals for change and to take action to fight injustice;
  • DE influences policies, including public policies, by reporting those leading to poverty, exclusion and inequalities and by proposing new policies in the State, private sector and civil society field of action, promoting welfare at a local and global scale.