After we successfully conducted the series of GRALE 5 Regional Webinars in July 2020 together with the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and the German Adult Education Association (DVV-International), The ICAE Executive Committee felt that there was a need to ensure greater participation by civil society in the CONFINTEA VII process. We also wanted to ensure that our participation in global platforms is informed by advocacy messages that are developed together with our members. It was also important that these advocacy messages were not merely for CONFINTEA VII but were the core advocacy messages that we as ICAE, the global voice of civil society organisations committed to adult learning and education as a right, will carry during this term of office.
And so, we encouraged our Vice-Presidents to design a region-specific membership engagement process that would contribute to the development of the ICAE ALE Advocacy Agenda. We foresee that the 2020 series of regional webinars will be the first round as we look forward to 2021 when we expect the CONFINTEA VII Preparatory Regional Conferences to occur, to 2022, when the actual CONFINTEA VII will happen, and to 2023, when together we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ICAE. Below are brief summaries of the first round of these regional webinars in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and Africa. Let me thank all those who participated and actively contributed to organising each of these events, but more importantly for achieving the first aim of engaging with our members about our role as adult educators during these challenging times. Details of the outcomes will be shared after the completion of all the regional webinars.
The Asia-Pacific Webinar was conducted on 5th October as part of a series of three webinars that was conducting on Adult Learning and Education (ALE). The webinar was attended by 45-50 ICAE and ASPBAE members on zoom. The first part of the webinar involved ICAE and ASPBAE sharing our respective ALE advocacy plans at the global and regional level, respectively. The second part was focused on CONFINTEA VII, as one specific advocacy space that we wanted to explore. Mr Werner Mauch, from UIL, updated the participants with developments in the GRALE 5 process, followed by brief presentations by country-based civil society participation in the GRALE 5 national surveys. Cecilia Palm, ICAE EC Member from Sweden, spoke of their attempts to contact the person in-charge of responding to the GRALE 5 survey. Takafumi Miyake, from the Japan NGO Network on Education (JNNE)described how through their timely effort, they were able to shape the response of the government. However, based on the feedback from the participants very few other civil society organisations were able to effectively engage with the national focal points for GRALE 5. The third and final part of the webinar was a workshop, where the participants were asked to identify strategic advocacy approaches for engaging in the following: (i) the official processes for CONFINTEA VII, (ii) facilitating inter-regional engagements within the HLPF processes, (iii) the narrowing of the SDG 4 agenda at the expense of ALE in the other global platforms, and (iv) Communities of Practice and Capacity-building efforts on emerging themes (eg Global Citizenship) that contribute to our ALE advocacies? (Robbie Guevara)
Nani Zulminarni, ASPBAE President and ICAE Vice-President for Asia-Pacific clearly described the event as successful.
“It was not only that the content and the focus were urgently needed during this time, but it also demonstrates how we can effectively work with our members in the region to deliver our collective agenda. The webinar was planned well. By integrating it into a series of related sessions which are organized by ASPBAE, and ending with ICAE webinar, it effectively built the national, regional and global contexts of our ALE advocacy work. It was very clear that our members in the region expect ICAE to play a strong role in global advocacy. Even though members, like ASPBAE, have our own reputation at the global level, coming together as ICAE certainly makes us stronger. I think this kind of collaboration can be best practice for us in the future. With all the limitations we have, we can actually work closely with our members at the regional level to build our collective agenda.”
On 21 October 32 participants from Europe joined the EAEA (European Association for the Education of Adult) and ICAE regional webinar to discuss global challenges in adult education and to brainstorm on a joint advocacy strategy. Participants were introduced to the advocacy work of ICAE and given space to share issues that they find important in their context. It was agreed that currently we are at an important moment to get together to cooperate and strengthen European and Global voices on ALE, heading towards CONFINTEA. Also because these challenging times have showcased the importance of a “shared vision of solidarity” as we are exposed to the pandemic demographic change and the climate crisis, among other challenges. It was discussed how we can ensure that experiences from the pandemic are taken up and continued in advocacy work in the upcoming months/ years. We as ICAE have reiterated that our strength is in our membership and the crisis reminded us how connected we all are. The diversity of civil society actors is a huge asset!
In its strategy to get closer to its members, ICAE is organizing a series of webinars for its regions. For the Africa region, two webinars are planned to take linguistic issues into account. The English webinar that took place on November 11, 2020 was attended by 12 people. The webinar went well with the support of Robbie, Katarina, Ricarda and Ronald. Following Katarina’s presentation, the discussion was very interesting after Katarina’s presentation. In term of priority, members suggested that ICAE must find the possibilities to strengthen the capacities of its members in Africa and to reinforce its visibility in Africa. In addition, participants strongly recommended the organization of a preparatory conference before CONFINTEA 7. Failing to have a physical meeting, we could organize the conference online taking into account the challenges of accessing the internet in Africa. Finally, the participants deplored the non-involvement of civil society in the process of preparing country reports for GRALE 5. In his closing remarks; the Vice-President of ICAE Africa thanked the members for their active participation in the meeting and encouraged them to pay their dues so that ICAE can continue to play its advocacy role at the global level (Carole Avande).
Dans sa stratégie de se rapprocher davantage de ses membres, ICAE organise une série de webinaires pour ses régions. Pour la région Afrique deux webinaires sont prévus pour tenir compte des enjeux linguistiques. Le webinaire anglophone qui s’est déroulé le 11 Novembre 2020 a connu la participation de 12 personnes. Le webinaire s’est bien déroulé grâce au soutien de Robbie, Katarina, Ricarda et Ronald. A la suite de la présentation de Katarina, les participants ont posé Les échanges fructueux qui ont suivi la présentation de Katarina ont permis de retenir qu’il faut que ICAE trouve les possibilités pour renforcer les capacités de ses membres en Afrique et pour être plus visible en Afrique. En outre les participants ont fortement recommandé l’organisation d’une conférence préparatoire en prélude à la CONFINTEA V7. A défaut d’avoir une rencontre physique, on pourrait organiser la conférence en ligne en tenant compte des défis d’accès à la connexion internet en Afrique. Enfin les participants ont déploré la non implication de la société civile dans le processus d’élaboration des rapports pays pour le GRALE 5. Dans son mot de clôture ; la Vice-Présidente de ICAE Afrique a remercié les membres pour leur participation active à la rencontre et les a encouragé à payer leur cotisation afin que ICAE puisse continuer à jouer son rôle de plaidoyer au niveau mondial (Carole Avande).
Successful participation of ICAE affiliates in the French speaking webinar for Africa
ICAE organized a French-language webinar of its member networks in Africa on November 18. Led by Carole Avande Houndjo, ICAE vice-president for Africa and coordinator of the Pamoja network bringing together 14 West African countries, the activity brought together engaged persons in adult education from Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Senegal, joined by a representative from Mozambique.
The exchange focused on the consultations of different governments regarding the advancement of the right to adult education in their respective countries. It should be remembered that consultations will be carried out by UNESCO ahead of the International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTÉA) that it will be held in Morocco in 2022. Despite the observation of the uneven development of consultations in the countries, it appeared a will to pool observations at the regional level on the issues and challenges in adult education, in a regional report for Africa civil society organizations. A perspective that ICAE will support strongly. (Ronald Cameron)
Succès de participation des affiliés d’ICAE au webinaire francophone pour l’Afrique
ICAE a organisé un webinaire francophone de ses réseaux membres en Afrique, le 18 novembre dernier. Animée par Carole Avande Houndjo, vice-présidente d’ICAE pour l’Afrique et coordonnatrice du réseau Pamoja regroupant 13 pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest, l’activité a réuni des responsables de réseaux en éducation des adultes du Burkina Faso, du Bénin, de la Guinée, du Mali et du Sénégal, auquel s’est joint un représentant du Mozambique.
L’échange a porté sur les consultations des différents gouvernements concernant l’avancement du droit à l’éducation pour les adultes dans leur pays respectif. Rappelons que des consultations seront effectuées par l’UNESCO en amont de la Conférence internationale sur l’éducation des adultes (CONFINTÉA) qu’elle tiendra au Maroc en 2022. Malgré le constat du développement inégal des consultations dans les pays, il est apparu une volonté de vouloir se concerter au plan régional pour mettre en commun les observations sur les enjeux et les défis en éducation des adultes, dans un rapport régional pour l’Afrique des organisations de la société. (Ronald Cameron)
North America/Caribbean Joint Regional Webinar Held
On December 2, 2020, ICAE hosted a joint regional webinar of members and other interested adult educators to discuss the current state of adult learning and education (ALE), priority issues being faced, preparations for CONFINTEA VII, and co-constructing an advocacy agenda. Forty participants from Canada, the US and the Caribbean received updates from Secretary General Katarina Popovićon ICAE’s advocacy activities and the CONFINTEA VII process; related country/regional perspectives from Shermaine Barrett (Caribbean), Linda Morris (US), and Daniel Baril and Ronald Cameron (Canada).
In the “open forum” that followed, there was much discussion of the many differential impacts of COVID-19—physical, psycho-social, economic; the disparities in access to broadband internet—“digital deserts”—and the related urban-rural divide; continuing government indifference to ALE; and the challenges of organizing a diverse civil society to mount effective advocacy efforts. While poverty and inequality have been amplified during the pandemic, too great a focus on an “economic-driven agenda” for ALE risks diverting our attention from addressing other issues such as social injustice.
A more thorough report on the webinar will be reviewed by the ICAE Executive Committee as it updates its advocacy agenda with CONFINTEA VII in Morocco (2022) in mind.
Tom Sork, VP North America, Shermaine Barrett, VP Caribbean, Ronald Cameron, EC Member