On 11 September 2019, DVV International hosted a Roundtable meeting on a Multi-sectoral Approach to Adult Education and Learning (ALE) in Lilongwe. The aim of the roundtable was to stimulate discussion on the cross-cutting nature of adult education, emphasising how it adds value to all other development sectors within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The meeting was attended by the Director of DVV International from Germany, Mr. Christoph Jost and the Director of Child Development Affairs from the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Mr. Mcknight Kalanda, as well as participants from government and civil society and the media.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Jost stated how as a cross-cutting enabler, ALE contributes to empowerment across many, if not all, SDGs, which speaks to the need for an integrated approach to adult learning that bridges many sectors. “Well-defined ALE programmes contribute to measurable results in poverty reduction, health promotion, local economic development, as well as climate action, and as such, robust framework conditions at the national level are necessary to support concrete development at the local level.” He further iterated that if a multi-sectoral approach is embraced, ALE has the capacity to help in tackling a wide range of global challenges. He urged those present to seek out synergies and work together for multi-sectoral ALE.
With the meeting coming just three days after International Literacy Day (commemorated on 8 September each year), he emphasised that with literacy challenges still present in many countries, including Malawi, it was important for organisations from various sectors to work together to reduce illiteracy, while integrating diverse skills and knowledge acquisition. In this regard, the long-awaited National Policy on ALE will be a key guiding framework.
In his remarks, the Director of Child Development Affairs welcomed the initiative and highlighted that a multi-sectoral approach to ALE will go a long way in advancing the SDGs and national development in Malawi. “It is my belief that a literate and educated society is a better society for the advancement of various sectors and the multi-sectoral approach will be of great value to the nation”, he stated. He stressed how an integrated approach to literacy programmes that takes into account the varied interests and needs of adult learners will result in more beneficial and attractive programmes. He reiterated how the ALE Policy, which he hoped would be approved soon, will empower the government to provide needed policy guidance in this area.
He commended DVV International for their continued support to the ALE sector in Malawi, which has helped provided increased opportunities for stakeholders to focus more on ALE than before.