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Global Citizenship

All posts in the ‘africa’ Category

February 13th, 2014

Land issues and ‘Land Grabs’

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 : Categories africa, international, social studies, sustainable development

A new online educational resource for global citizenship, ‘On the Land We Stand’, focuses on the subject of land ownership and usage in rural communities. It uses this theme to get young people to explore issues about power, rights, fairness and sustainability.

Targeted at education in lower Secondary, this resource provides background information, images, activities, and links to other resources which offer extended coverage. It will assist teachers to develop the global awareness of their students around this essential issue.

The struggle over land ownership is a recurring theme in history, with the Highland Clearances being a historic example in which many Scottish communities experienced a period of great loss and thousands of Scots left their land forever. In the 21st century, some poor communities in developing countries are suffering today from ‘land grabbing’ imposed by companies or governments. ‘On the Land We Stand’ looks at key areas: the importance of land from the perspective of local people; rights; forced migration; and actions for positive change.

The creation of this resource was led by the Highland One World education centre, one of the Development Education Centres in Scotland which has benefitted from funding through the programmes of Department for International Development and the Scottish Government. HOW partners for this project included Oxfam, Christian Aid, and the Highland Council.


November 8th, 2013

Water and global citizenship education

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 : Categories africa, health and wellbeing, international, sciences, social studies, sustainable development

The new Winter 2013 edition of ‘Stride’ magazine, produced by the IDEAS network for a Scottish teacher audience, focuses on the issue of Water. Readers will find articles, curriculum links, activities, news of school projects, etc. The magazine can be downloaded in PDF from the IDEAS website.

This edition’s key message is that Water is a fundamental Human Right; yet access is very unequal, with millions of people not having access to a supply of clean water. This affects their lives in many ways, including health, access to educational opportunities, and the ability to earn a living and prosper.

Charities such as WaterAid provide resources for teachers about global water and sanitation issues. Many international school partnerships also have water as a key theme for learning and for practical action such as the installation of pumps and pipes to provide local people with a source of clean water.

And on 19th November, World Toilet Day will invite people to recognise the importance of good sanitation and water supply. A WaterAid web resource is dedicated just to this Day.




October 3rd, 2013

Send My Friend ‘Young Ambassadors’

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 : Categories africa, international, social studies

The ‘Send My Friend to School’ programme is well-known in Scottish schools, designed to promote the right of every child to be able to get access to a quality education. Each year thousands of schools in the UK get involved, running activities in their school and community to raise awareness of issues such as teacher shortages and gender inequalities in developing countries. Lobbying political representatives to win support for change is a key element of the programme, part of the international Global Campaign for Education.

Now it is running a competition to find two 14-15 year old students who can act as ‘Young Ambassadors’ for the Send My Friend campaign in 2014. They are seeking bright articulate young people who can support the campaign through communication with the media and with their peers.

The focus of the 2014 campaign will be the disabled children around the world who miss out on an education.  The winners of the competition will travel to Uganda to investigate the barriers to education for disabled children.

Full details are on the competition webpages. This is a great opportunity for two young students to demonstrate how individuals can be responsible global citizens, contributors to society, and effective communicators.


October 1st, 2013

global citizenship and Film

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 : Categories africa, creativity, europe, expressive arts, international, social studies

Film is a very useful tool for teachers planning activity on global citizenship topics, both in terms of viewing and production. Commercial movies from all over the world present different perspectives on topics such as slavery, child labour, natural resources, and sport. Pupils can research the problems underlying big issues, and gain an understanding that complex problems do not have simple soultions but can be reduced by the actions of individuals, organisations and governments. Dramas and documentary films can prompt new discussions and avenues for further action.

This week the ‘Take One Action’ film festival is showing a number of films at Edinburgh and Glasgow venues. Made in developing countries, each of these films helps an audience to consider issues such as the environment, food, refugees, education for girls, and HIV/AIDS. The full programme details are available on their website.

Edinburgh’s Filmhouse will also be hosting its ‘Africa in Motion’ film festival in October and November, with a range of movies made in South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Chad, etc. Two films are offered as special schools events – ‘Aya of Yop City’ is an animated film about young people in the Ivory Coast, and ‘Zambezia’ is an animated story about a bird’s life. Contact the cinema for further details of adult and schools showings.

The first National Youth Film Festival also includes a selection of films from around the world among the many movies offered to young audiences in this UK-wide festival. For example, ‘I am Kalam’ from India, ‘Le Petit Nicolas’ from France, and ‘More than Honey’ from Switzerland/Austria. The website listings include links to education resources if these exist.






September 10th, 2013

Education for Girls

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 : Categories africa, citizenship, international, social studies

Since the creation of the UN Millennium Development Goals there has been substantial progress in improving access to education for young people in some developing countries. The picture is complex, with big differences between countries and stubborn problems to be addressed, such as supply and quality of teachers. Also, the MDGs will end in 2015, to be followed by new international partnership work against poverty.

However, girls are still more likely than boys to miss out on their right to an education, at greater risk of being out of school due to poverty, conflict and discrimination. This gender inequality is an issue often explored by teachers working on global citizenship.

Plan UK is one of the charities working in some of the world’s poorest countries to support development and build sustainable futures. Plan UK has launched a new lesson plan resource for use with students aged 11 and over , ‘Girls Rights after the Millennium Development Goals’, available for download from their website. The aim of the resource is to identify the rights that all children are entitled to. It invites students to identify how the new development goals can protect and promote girls rights, for example the right to education and freedom from violence. The resources supports young people’s understanding of the current MDGs and the process of designing new goals for the period after 2015.

This resource is part of a ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign, which aims to end the barriers that prevent girls from getting a quality education and achieving their aspirations. The Plan UK website also has a range of short films and materials which can be used by schools.  The ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ on 11th october provides a good focal point for learning activity.

The Global Campaign for Education is an international civil society initiative to promote education as a right and as a tool against poverty. The ‘Send My Friend to School’ campaign is supported in many schools, as young people recognise the importance of a good quality education in improving life chances and know that this should be available to all. The campaign website has materials for teachers to use with students.

Malala Yousafzai, the young woman shot by militants in Pakistan because of her championing of education for girls, has been inspirational to many people and highly successful in raising public awareness. Her speech to the UN Youth Assembly in July 2013 is available on YouTube and the video clip makes a valuable asset for educators.

The World Bank education strategy 2020, under the goal ‘Learning for all’, presents a strong argument for its key approach of ‘invest early, invest smartly, and invest for all’. A video clip “what is school” makes another good resource for stimulating discussion.





September 9th, 2013

Global Citizenship education and the MDGs

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 : Categories africa, citizenship, international, secondary schools, social studies

Last week the Vine Trust charity ran its third Scottish ‘Global Student Forum’ for secondary students. This year’s theme was ‘Education beats Poverty’, with the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 2 “Universal Primary Education” as the focus of the day.

More than 30 Secondary schools sent a group of students and a teacher to GSF 2013, which enabled senior pupils to engage with the complexity of this issue through presentations, video clips, discussions and interactive sessions. A speaker from Tanzania gave very clear descriptions of the challenges facing educators in that country, and the benefits provided by education in terms of lifting people out of poverty and giving them a future. Through events such as these, young people increase their understanding of how individuals can make a personal difference and contribute to the development of a better world as global citizens.

Staff and students from several schools spoke from the stage about their global citizenship activity in countries such as Peru and Tanzania. Partner organisations provided additional material and inputs to help young people consider these complex issues. For example, Christian Aid provided a session on Tax Justice, and the Global Campaign for Education spoke about access to education, quality of provision, and the shortage of teachers in less developed countries.

This day event was rated highly by the teachers I spoke to. Students now take on the task of ‘peer education’ work to introduce friends in their schools to this international development issue and the actions they can take to improve the situation.


March 3rd, 2013

ARKive – Team Wild

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 : Categories africa, biodiversity, games and sport, sciences, sustainable development

Team WILD is a fun and unique way for students to discover the importance of a career in conservation and science – by turning scientists into superheroes!

“From jungle to savanna, rainforest to coral reef, the Team WILD game will test students on their speed, skill and coordination. As they play, students will discover a diverse range of field tasks a conservation scientist or ecologist must do in order to protect the world’s species and habitats – from surveying coral reefs in Chagos to evacuating non-infected mountain chickens from Montserrat where populations are being decimated by the deadly chytrid fungus.”

The game is supported by curriculum-linked topic pages on amphibian conservation, coral reef conservation, predator-prey relationships in the African savannah and reforestation in the Atlantic forest to support the learning element of the game and to inform young people and provide educators with supporting information and related education resources.

There are also two new education resources modules on species discovery which focus on amphibian discovery and classification, please see Species Discovery for 7-11 year olds and Species Discovery for 11-14 year olds.

February 27th, 2013

Scotland declared a Fairtrade Nation

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 : Categories africa, citizenship, community, international, social studies, sustainable development

Scotland has become one of the world’s first Fair Trade Nations, International Development Minister Humza Yousaf announced this week.

The news comes on the first day of Fairtrade Fortnight 2013 and follows a nationwide campaign led by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum that has seen the people of Scotland rally behind Fair Trade principles.

The accolade means people, government, businesses, public bodies and community organisations across Scotland have come together to meet stringent criteria designed to promote Fair Trade.

Speaking ahead of a visit to the Urban Fox project in Glasgow, where he will launch an initiative to supply Fairtrade footballs to youth and sports groups in disadvantaged areas, Mr Yousaf said:

“People in every city and across all local authority areas share a vision of Scotland as a good global citizen, committed to playing its part in addressing poverty.

“That vision includes our commitment to Malawi, to take the lead in climate change, to promote clean drinking water and explains why we have doubled our International Development Fund to £9 million since 2007/08.

“I thank every person, business and organisation who has helped Scotland towards achieving Fair Trade Nation status. In particular I commend the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, who have been instrumental in driving forward our Fair Trade Nation agenda.

“We must now build on today’s achievement and continue to work hard to encourage even greater Scottish support for Fair Trade.

To qualify for Fair Trade Nation status, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum (SFTF) was required to demonstrate how Scotland had met a series of stringent criteria, including:

  • All seven Scottish cities and at least 55 per cent of local authority areas to have Fairtrade status.
  • All 32 local authorities areas and at least 55 per cent of towns with a population of 5,000 or more to have active Fair Trade groups working towards Fairtrade status.
  • At least 60 per cent of higher education institutions to have active Fair Trade groups working towards Fairtrade status.
  • Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to use, promote and make available Fair Trade products internally, and to actively promote Fairtrade Fortnight each year.
  • Fair Trade to be promoted in schools through the curriculum, procurement and other possible means.
  • Schools, Further Education Institutions, Faith Groups, Trade Unions, business networks, voluntary and youth organisations to pledge to use and promote Fair Trade.
  • 75 per cent of people to buy a Fair Trade product every year.
  • 40 per cent of people to regularly buy Fairtrade products.

February 18th, 2013

Malawi – educational development

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 : Categories africa, commonwealth, health and wellbeing, international, social studies

The links between Scotland and Malawi are long-established, with the David Livingstone bicentenary in 2013 providing a current reminder of the relationship. Malawi also continues to be the most common partner country for Scottish schools involved in international school partnerships, often supported with modest funding through programmes such as the British Council’s ‘Connecting Classrooms’.

For some years Scottish teachers and school pupils have been visiting Malawi to contribute their skills and learn from their African hosts, returning to Scotland with a greater personal understanding of what Global Citizenship means on a practical basis.

Link Community Development Scotland is one of the charities active in Malawi, working with local partners to improve the quality of education and increase access to educational opportunities, especially among young women. LCD is inviting applications for its ‘Malawi Cycle and Trek 2013′, in which a group of cyclists from the UK will ride through the country and visit school projects in July 2013. Each participant finds sponsorship from their friends, relatives, schools and communities to support LCD projects in Malawi. Scottish teachers have been keen participants in previous similar Bike Rides, and one Primary Headteacher has signed up to ride again in 2013 and described the benefits and challenges of the experience. The closing date for people to sign up is 8th March 2013. That leaves plenty of time afterwards for the training!

The Scotland Malawi Partnership holds regular networking meetings for Scots who are involved or interested in Malawi, and the next meeting of the its Schools Forum will be on 26th February in Edinburgh City Chambers.



January 25th, 2013

Global development goals – seeking the views of young people

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 : Categories africa, citizenship, health and wellbeing, ICT, international, learner voice, religious and moral education, social studies, sustainable development

The current United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which underpin international efforts to reduce global poverty and support development in many poor nations, will come to an end in 2015. There has been great progress, and there will be more in the intervening years, but it is already clear that in some of the 8 themed areas the targets will not be met. The international community is now considering the next set of Development Goals which will follow the MDGs. A High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda is leading this work, and Prime Minister David Cameron is one of the co-chairs of this Panel.

The Department for International Development has challenged Secondary schools acros the UK to engage pupils in the discussion about what the next set of goals should be. Its ‘Shape the Future’ competition, launched this week with the support of the Scottish Government, targets pupils from the first three years of secondary school. Each team of up to five students will discuss the issues and formulate ideas for the next goals. The team will then create a short presentation of their proposals in multimedia form. The deadline for this first stage is 28th March.

Five schools will be shortlisted for the second stage, and given mentor and workshop support to refine their proposals and prepare a final presentation. These school teams will gather in London to make their final pitches to an Expert Panel. The winning team will work with Oxfam on a special project over the subsequent months.

The challenge represents a great opportunity to get young people engaged with development issues that will change the world they will live in.

A dedicated resource pack for schools, to assist with taking part in the Shape the Future challenge, will soon be available to download from the Global Dimensions website. There are also many links to global citizenship resources and organisations from our own Education Scotland website.

An information sheet for teachers at Scottish schools is available for download and distribution.

Shape the Future schools competition – info sheet for schools (Scotland)


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About This Blog

This blog contains ideas, resources and information to support global citizenship activities in schools - including international, sustainable development and citizenship education and also games legacy.