19.08.2015 EAEAMEMBERS

"For us development is a very broad concept"

ADULT EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT. EAEA's Belgian member organisation supports projects that alleviate poverty, promote lifelong learning and enhance basic skills. Their development work is targeted at people living in Belgium.

This interview is part of an article series published through the European Year for Development.

Afdeling Sociaal-Cultureel Werk voor jeugd en volwassenen (Department for Social-Cultural Work), part of the Ministry of Youth, Culture, Sports and Media, gives subsidies to organisations that work in the field of development in Flanders.

"All of them work within Belgium. That means that we are not talking about North-South development cooperation but about the needs of people in Belgium, and how to fulfil these – sometimes very basic – needs," says Arent Maes from the Department for Social-Cultural Work.


Sustainable development for all ages

The project 'Ik vind the aarde leuk' ('I like the earth') is a best practice example for the promotion of sustainable development.

"Senior citizens learn how to incorporate sustainable practices of consumption, travelling, transport etc. in their own lives, and how to give this information further to their children and grand-children," tells Mr. Maes.

Over 1000 local groups in Flanders, all working with volunteers, work in this project. To reach out to the target audience, the volunteers meet the elderly persons at social meeting points, for example bingo-afternoons and popular restaurants.


Fostering integration

Vormingplus, another successful project supported by the agency, promotes activities that stimulate participation in society. It offers learning opportunities in which adults can develop their personal, social and cultural competences.

"This project reaches out to immigrants who have lived in Belgium for some time already or who just arrived and need help to find their way in Belgian society," elaborates Mr. Maes.

"Although these projects are implemented in Belgium, they have a big transfer potential for other countries. Our ultimate goal is to give people better chances to succeed in life, and to create a sustainable change of society. Education takes center stage in achieving sustainable development," he states.

Text: Raffaela Kihrer
Photos: OKRA

Development is one of EAEA's themes for 2015. Adult education is a key for achieving social change and reducing poverty levels around the world.


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