The world is going through a period of profound change.
The inclusion and exclusion of different groups serves to maintain and aggravate injustice and instability and the degree to which people can influence change is directly linked to the quality of their education. Globally there are 776 million people over the age of 15 who are illiterate, including a staggering 40.3% of the population of Sub Saharan Africa. Disparities based on sex, ethnicity, caste and status persist, in parallel to a direct link between poverty and illiteracy. It has become increasingly evident that illiteracy exacerbates the spread of HIV and malaria, various forms of violence, poverty and gener inequality.
Current initiatives are insufficient to address the situation. Despite the growing demand for literacy and adult education, resources and activities remain concentrated on universal primary enrolment, leaving literacy and non formal education far behind. Resources allocated to literacy make up less than 1% of the education budget in most countries, and comprehensive adult education policies are rare. The enormity of the challenge requires policies that guarantee environments where individuals can develop and use literacy skills both for their own empowerment and enlightenment and to actively contribute to the social and economic development of their communities.
Thus ANCEFA, FEMNET, PAALAE and PAMOJA made their appearance on the African scene. They have a common struggle for quality education for all. These four African networks have decided to collaborate from a joint platform in order that they might express their vision with a single voice. The African Platform for Adult Education was created in Dakar on the 29th March 2008 to represent this united vision. Its aims and objectives reflect its focus on preparing for and following up CONFINTEA VI (The International Conference on Adult Education) which took place in Belém Pará, Brazil from 1-4 December 2009.
The Platform has been involved with the preparation for the FISC conference (International Civil Society Forum), which took place from 27-30 November 2009. It brought together civil society to prepare and finalise their advocacy work before CONFINTEA VI and created a space for exchange between members of civil society from different countries.
The four African networks that make up the Platform are:
The "Africa Network Campaign on Education For All" emerged in 2000 following the World Education Forum in Dakar. Its vision is a united, strong, dynamic, motivated and effective African Civil Society committed to the promotion of "free universal access to quality education" ancefa.org/
The 'African Women's Development and Communication Network' was set up in 1988 to facilitate and coordinate the sharing of experiences, ideas, information and strategies for the promotion of human rights among African women's organizations through networking, communication, capacity-building and advocacy at the regional and international levels.
The Pan African Association for Literacy and Adult Education (PAALAE) is composed of national adult education associations, NGOs, institutions and individuals active in the field of literacy and adult education. The fundamental objective of the association is to promote adult education in all its variety of forms and dimensions and in relationship to the need for healthy growth and development of individuals, communities and societies in the African region. icae.org.uy/fre/paalae
PAMOJA is the Africa Reflect Practitioners and Affiliates Network, a participatory education and development initiative established in 2002 which facilitates learning, sharing and the continuing evolution of Reflect practice in Africa. Reflect is an approach to learning and social change that aims to create a space where people feel comfortable to meet and discuss relevant issues. It encourages agency in decision-making by strengthening the ability to communicate.
Organisation of the Platform
The General Assembly, the steering committee and the coordination body work together to make the Platform operational.
The General Assembly is the Platform's supreme governing body which holds an ordinary annual general meeting and extraordinary meetings if required. The Dakar workshop in March 2008 is considered to be the first general assembly out of which the Platform was born. It was there that the Memorandum of Understanding was signed, enabling the identification of its principal orientations, the action plan and the steering committee framework. The next meeting of the General Assembly will be held in February 2010 in Addis Ababa just before the 9th meeting of the High-Level group on Education for All. At this General Assembly, members will evaluate what has been done and give new directions for the future, which will in all probability, be based on the monitoring of the commitments made during the deliberations of CONFINTEA VI. In addition, it will be used to finalise and share our advocacy work to influence the proceedings of the high-level meeting also being held in Addis from 23-25 February 2010.Education for Africa (in french)
The Steering Committee is composed of one representative from each network. It determines the strategic orientation of the organisation and is responsible for ensuring that the Platform's activities are carried out as intended. It recruits the coordinator and other staff as necessary and provides them with clearly defined and time-bound directives. It is responsible for the evaluation of personnel and is accountable to the General Assembly. Members of the steering committee must meet at least twice a year and communicate regularly by teleconference both between themselves and with the coordinator.
The Coordinating body is the operational arm of the steering committee, lead by the coordinator, Diarra Mahamadou Cheick, who was recruited by the said committee. Lalla El Oumrany joined the team as assistant in January 2009. The Platform also hires experts on a part-time/contractual basis. The Platform is currently based in the offices of dvv International in Bamako, which provides it with technical and financial assistance for its development and to better implement the Platform's plan of action.