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BNELIT - Datenbank zu Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wissenschaftliche Literatur und Materialien
Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wiss. Literatur und Materialien (BNELIT)
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Are we Changing the World?
Development Education, Activism and Social Change
Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review
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Abstract: This article aims to support reflection and debate on how development educators engage the public on international development issues. The article comes on the back of recent research, most notably BOND′s Finding Frames report, which suggests that the development sector is struggling to enhance and sustain citizenship engagement on the structural causes of poverty and inequality. The article probes some of the factors that may underpin this lack of engagement both within the development education sector specifically and the wider development sector more generally. It examines some of the challenges involved in engaging learners in actions on global issues. Some of these challenges relate to the sectors and environmental pressures in which development educators operate which can thwart in-depth engagement with learners.

The starting point for the article is the shared commitment by many national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations to the action outcome in development education. It goes on to discuss why this core element of our practice is largely marginalised in the planning and delivery of many development education activities and projects. The article argues that this, in part at least, is due to failings within the development sector itself as well as the education sectors in which we operate. It suggests that if development non-governmental organisations (NGOs) fail to address the structural causes of global inequality as part of their activities then they cannot expect to engage learners and stakeholders in actions that will reduce poverty. The article appeals for greater clarity and openness with learners in terms of the kind of change that the sector wants to achieve. This does not mean prescribing actions but supporting learners in designing their own forms of active engagement. Ultimately, the article encourages development educators to reflect on the action outcome as a central tenet of our practice and think about how we can become more effective agents of change.
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