Enhancing Development Cooperation to strengthen Africa’s education unions

published 26 March 2024 updated 21 May 2024

All Development Cooperation (DC) partners make a key contribution to complement Education International (EI) efforts in strengthening member organizations in different African countries, and it is crucial to initiate new strategies to improve the collaboration. This was at the heart of discussions during a DC Café organized by Education International and gathering DC partners operating in the region.

United for quality education in Africa: Education International’s blueprint for 2024

EI Africa Regional Director Dennis Sinyolo, making reference to the Education International (EI) Africa Regional Conference, outlined an ambitious vision for education on the continent in 2024. He also articulated a strategy focused on strengthening teachers' unions and advocating for free, quality public education.

Campaigning against privatization

Central to EI’s initiative is the "Go Public! Fund Education" campaign, which aims to counter the privatization and commercialization trends that undermine the quality and accessibility of education in Africa, he said. "2024 is a pivotal year for Africa," he declared, highlighting the importance of the year dedicated to education by African heads of state.

Enhancing union rights and democracy

Sinyolo also addressed the challenges related to union rights and democracy, recalling the protest letters sent to Tanzania which assisted in the release of arrested union leaders. Moreover, he highlighted a victory in Eswatini where, with the assistance of the EI Solidarity Fund, a lawyer supported the Swaziland National Association of Teachers in their legal battle.

Empowering women in education

He went on underlining efforts undertaken to empower women in the educational sector, particularly through the African Women in Education Network and the John Thompson Fellowship program. These initiatives are expanding across Africa to train future union leaders, Sinyolo explained.

Strengthening South-South cooperation

He also emphasized that DC programs should align with EI strategic goals and priorities, respond to the needs of member organizations, be based on mutual respect and be of mutual benefit to the cooperating partners, and be better coordinated and harmonized.

In conclusion, Sinyolo advocated for closer cooperation among African unions, citing South-South cooperation as essential for a future where "we are stronger together." This message of unity resonates at a critical time when education in Africa is at a crossroads, facing internal challenges and external pressures from globalization.

EI map featuring DC programs globally

During the webinar, affiliates also talked about their various and multi-faceted cooperation projects throughout Africa.

The DC map, a great tool to check how many projects are happening in a country and avoid duplication and increase the impact of union efforts, especially financial ones, was also presented.

As this map must be kept updated, DC partners agreed to regularly check it, see where projects are in the countries they operate in and bring any information that could be useful for other partners to know.