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Working together better in development cooperation activities

Education unions have reaffirmed the importance of increasing and enhancing development cooperation activities at global and regional levels, and developed tools to this end.

“I first came to know Education International (EI) through development cooperation (DC) meetings,“ recalled EIGeneral Secretary David Edwards, addressing the 60 participants in the EI Development Cooperation Network’s annual meeting in Brussels, Belgium, from 14-16 January. “It is where you get to understand solidarity, as we can see it materialise in trade union and human rights issues. And remember: solidarity is not for sale!”

“It has represented a great education for me, being among you,» he also explained.

He continued by stressing that “capacity-building, DC, is ranked as top priorities of the organisation across all regions,” that “our struggle as an organisation is to be able to cooperate, respecting each other” and that “how EI and its affiliates can cooperate to face the challenges in the world is important.”

Underlining that “we know we have to lead our profession”, he urged participants “not to leave it to other forces and organisations. We do have some things that others do not have!”

“We are independent, and the issue of unity cannot be understated,”he said, highlighting “work in the area of renewal and young union members, the issue of the future.”

Edwards also noted that “it is crucial to defend democracy, because we are part of movement, for solidarity, justice, professional terms and conditions, etc.”

“We need to organise around ideas, and think about structural changes and ways our unions are built,”he insisted, acknowledging that “we have many things to do, plus the ones we do already.

At the same time, we must be there and support each other, and build long-term relationships.”

“We rely on your commitment to see where we need to do more, where we need to do better, and what to do next,”the EI leader concluded.

Collective drafting of a« Guidebook- A DC project from A to Z »

After mapping the needs and resources in solidarity and development cooperation projects, representatives of EI member organisations discussed the EI draft document called “Guidebook- A DC project from A to Z”, aiming to gather good practices on how to conduct DC projects.

The EI DC team underlined that the document is still a draft and that that the intention is to “co-write”it with the participants. It called on participants to take this document as an explanation of what is at stake for their leadership in a DC project.

The guidebook should clearly explain how to lead a DC project, and be easily accessible to non-experts in the field. The participants, therefore, reflected on the different issues raised in the guidebook and updated and enriched EI’s knowledge base with the use of concrete examples.