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Empower to lead: EI’s Development Cooperation Network meets in Brussels

The meeting of the Development Cooperation Network is taking place in Belgium from 2-4 March and brings together 50 union representatives from 25 countries across the world. Participants are joining forces to identify opportunities to work together and effect change in their countries and communities.

Opening the event, Education International’s Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst praised the large turnout and the increased interest in development cooperation among education unions. Holst highlighted that “Education International supports cooperation and solidarity between its affiliates and development cooperation is a great way to come together, share ideas and build our capacity so we can deliver real change for educators and students in our countries.”  
 
During her intervention, Holst presented Education International’s plans to achieve the objectives adopted by its member organisations during the 8th World Congress held in July 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. The four main areas of focus until 2023 will be: 
  • System: promoting and protecting equitable, inclusive free quality education for all; 
  • Status: promoting and protecting the status and autonomy of the profession; 
  • Rights and democracy: promoting and defending democracy, human and trade union rights; 
  • Renewal: Renewing, strengthening and growing inclusive membership. 
 
A survey conducted among Education International affiliates and presented at the meeting clearly shows that member organisations are working intensively on union building, growing their organisational capacities in their respective countries. Education unions also run activities and projects focusing on rights, children’s welfare, social dialogue and gender issues.  
 
Over the next few days, participants will have many opportunities to reflect on how to broaden and strengthen the Development Cooperation Network. The meeting features sessions dedicated to assessing needs and identifying priorities, cooperation for increased union membership; project evaluation; mapping needs and resources for international cooperation, and more. Participants will also join side meetings to review ongoing cooperation projects focusing on specific countries and topics. 
 
Education unionists meeting in Brussels will also bid farewell to Assibi Napoe who will retire from her position as Chief Coordinator of Education International’s African regional office. In her role, Assibi has been a tireless champion for development activities, especially on trade union unity, all over the continent.