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Latest news >Seminar on NGO/CSO contributions to EFA goals ...
 
SEMINAR ON NGO/CSO CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE EDUCATION FOR ALL GOALS IN SUBSAHARA AFRICA
Organized by UNESCO and the World Bank
 
in collaboration with the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Literacy and EFA and the ADEA Working Group on Non-Formal Education
 
 GENERAL REPORT
Bamako, 29 November to 2 December 2000
 
 
The seminar on contributions of non-governmental and other civil society organizations (NGOS/CSOs) to the Education for All (EFA) goals was held in Bamako, 29 November to 2 December 2000, within the framework of the United Nations Special Initiative for Africa and the follow-up to the Dakar Forum.
 

Organized by UNESCO and the World Bank, in collaboration with the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Literacy and Education For All and the Working Group on Non Formal Education of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), the seminar aimed at contributing to the following objectives:

Evaluate and valorize the contributions of NGOs/CSOs to achieve the EFA goals.

Strengthen the collaboration between NGOs/CSOs and other EFA partners, including the private sector.

Consolidate and strengthen civil-society/government collaboration on EFA issues at country level.

Reinforce technical, professional and institutional capacities of NGOs/CSOs.

The expected outcomes were the following:
 

Strategies to understand, assess and valorize the contribution of NGOs/CSOs to EFA.

Recommendations on reinforcing mechanisms to support policy dialogue, resource mobilization and information-sharing.

Recommendations for the development of training/learning programmes to build technical and institutional capacities.

A platform to promote the achievement of EFA objectives.

Three working groups were formed to explore the three major themes of the seminar. The first group focused on identifying the specific contribution of NGOs/CSOs, the second on the mechanisms to facilitate information sharing and policy dialogue, and the third on developing strategies to promote training and learning.
 

The work was structured around the following activities:

The opening and closing ceremonies, chaired by His Excellency the Minister of Education of Mali in the presence of their Excellencies the Minister of Education of Niger, and the President of the ADEA Forum of Ministers, the Minister of Education of Chad.

The plenary sessions, to present and adopt the programme and working procedures, introduce the main thematic areas and present, discuss and validate the results of the working groups.

Group activities, to explore the three main themes of the seminar.

Field visits, to learn about innovative community education initiatives and to see how NGOs/CSOs organize themselves for networking.

Video sessions on three subjects

(i) Basic Education and Poverty, (ii) The Fight against HIV/AIDs and (iii) Education Reform in Latin America; Presentation of synthesis of replies to the questionnaire on the activities of NGOs/CSOs with regard to the three themes of the seminar; Seminar evaluation on the basis of a questionnaire.

 
After discussions in working groups and plenary sessions, the seminar made a number of observations and discussed ideas concerning the state of the art on issues raised:
 

Regarding strategies on valorizing NGO/CSO contributions, the seminar took note of achievements in the following areas:

formal primary education,

literacy and adult education, particularly with regard to women;

education/training for school drop-outs, including both girls and boys;

non-formal basic education in general;

social mobilization ;

community participation;

alternative approaches to education, such as learner-centred bilingual education, the REFLECT programme in Ghana, the ABE programme in Namibia, the CED programme in Mali, the ECB programme in Senegal, the ABET programme in South Africa, the ES and CEBNF programmes in Burkina Faso, the Koranic schools in Niger and the Nafa Centers in Guinea;

the development and implementation of programs related to reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, peace education, democracy, human rights and environmental issues;

collaboration mechanisms, processes and networking; and

training for NGO/CSO personnel in areas such as programme development, management, monitoring and evaluation, etc;

 

The comparative advantages of NGOs/CSOs in the above-mentioned areas has proved to be particularly significant with regard to:

Poverty alleviation strategies such as income-generating activities which received the support of development partners and benefited from voluntary contributions.

The promotion of human rights through the application of principles such as mutual respect, genuine commitment and sharing.

Decentralization to promote sustainable local development through interaction with the community and the development of context-specific education strategies.

Human resource development through flexible education/training programmes that use appropriate learning materials.

The reduction of gender disparities, particularly through valorizing and strengthening women's initiatives and associations.

The seminar underlined that, in many cases, these achievements have not been sufficiently taken into account in the development of national education policies. Indeed, most countries do not build on these innovative and relevant experiences, which may indicate a lack of political dialogue, a lack of expertise or insufficient awareness.
 

The following weaknesses concerning NGO/CSO work were identified:

insufficient involvement of NGOs/CSOs in decision-making processes;

insufficient recognition and consideration of NGO/CSO experiences in conceptualizing education programmes and developing appropriate learning materials.

Insufficient sensitization to and dissemination of NGO/CSO objectives and achievements.

Lack of leadership in mobilizing and giving new impulse for more significant progress in moving toward the EFA goals.

A lack - and sometimes absence - of frameworks and opportunities for exchange and collaboration between NGOs/CSOs and public authorities as well as written statements and agreements clarifying the role of each partner.

A lack of NGO/CSO organizational dynamics both at the national and sub-regional level.

The absence of learning/training strategies for NGO/CSO capacity-building in EFA.

Insufficient and inappropriate working conditions and financial means.

In order to address these weaknesses, the seminar made the following recommendations:
 
NGOs/CSOs
 

To build strong NGOs/CSOs coalitions in order to promote greater synergy of action at the national level. This activity should be implemented by all seminar participants as soon as they return to their respective countries and should be completed before 30 May 2001.

To network at subregional, regional and international levels in order to create dynamic and effective partnerships. This activity should be implemented by seminar participants as soon as they return to their respective countries and should have progressed significantly by 30 June 2001. These networks should be structured around four groups (1) West Africa, (2) North Africa and the Maghreb, (3) East and South Africa, and (4) Central Africa.

To undertake EFA advocacy and campaigns especially to promote education for women, girls, nomadic populations, children in situations of conflicts, working children, etc.

To conduct surveys on all promising initiatives undertaken by associations, local communities and the private sector in order to integrate them into national EFA efforts.

To pursue efforts in order to eliminate gender disparities by 2005 and achieve basic education for all by 2015.

To regularly provide information on the progress made in implementing these recommendations.

 
Governments
 

To set up frameworks and forums for collaboration at all levels in order to promote the emergence of new dynamic and responsible partnerships.

To take into account NGO/CSO concerns and experiences in the process of policy formulation.

To take measures to promote and valorize, in a more determined manner, the local intellectual work achieved by NGOs/CSOs, in order to accelerate and promote the introduction of national languages in the education system.

To build consensus around national education policies taking into account the diversity of approaches and practices, and ensuring full participation of the civil society (charters, conventions, etc.).

To invite NGOs/CSOs to participate in the development and implementation of national EFA action plans. This invitation in writing should be sent by the governments.

To contribute to NGO/CSO capacity-building in areas such as school administration, programme management and evaluation, the development of relevant curricula and the design of pedagogic materials adapted to local conditions.

To pursue efforts in order to eliminate gender disparities by 2005 and achieve basic education for all by 2015.

 
UNESCO to facilitate
 

The dissemination of the Dakar Framework for Action at all levels and in all countries. Channels of communication accessible to local communities should be explored.

The implementation of the Dakar Framework for Action at the country level, particularly the development of credible, budgeted and time-bound national action plans, developed with the participation of all partners.

The collection and sharing of innovative experiences and alternative approaches to education at the subregional level, including approaches of learner-centred bilingual education, the REFLECT programme in Ghana, the ABE programme in Namibia, the CED programme in Mali, the ECB programme in Senegal, the ABET programme in South Africa, the ES and CEBNF programmes in Burkina Faso, the Koranic schools in Niger and the Nafa Centers in Guinea;

The identification and implementation of NGO/CSO capacity-building programmes that respond to their real training/learning needs.

The follow up of the recommendations formulated by the seminar. UNESCO, on the basis of a continuous dialogue with the participants, should report about the progress achieved in implementing the seminar's recommendations in six months time. UNESCO should also disseminate the seminar recommendations in the sixteen countries with the lowest primary school enrolment rates.

Dialogue between public authorities and NGOs/CSOs in order to promote the involvement of civil society in the elaboration and implementation of national EFA plans.

Development partners
 

To foresee, in all financing programmes, special funds to reinforce institutional capacity.

To establish a regional fund for NGO/CSO institutional and technical capacity building.

 
 
The seminar presented a vote of thanks to the people and Government of Mali, the Ministers of Chad and Niger, as well as all organizers, in particular UNESCO, the World Bank and the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Literacy and Education for All.
 
 
A platform for the promotion of achievements in Education for All was adopted.
 

Bamako, 2 December 2000

The participants

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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