DVV International in South Africa works with five main NGO partners as well as two university partners - one at the Nelson Mandela University and the other at the University of Johannesburg.
The Popular Education Programme (PEP) works to develop the capacity of a range of social movement organisations to support active citizenship. Among PEP’s partner organisations are those that are active in campaigns for access to information, for the right to health that goes beyond the absence of disease to include building healthy communities, supporting the anti-nuclear lobby, gender justice via campaigns, demonstrations and other events. Another key component is the PEPs youth focus where youth leadership development offers a sense of hope and “a way out” of an otherwise hopeless situation as 49.5% of South African youth are not in employment, education or training.
Women are a key focus of the work of DVV International as they are central to family life, especially in marginalised communities. They participate in community education programmes to develop leadership skills and receive training related to accessing their human rights.
PEP is also the lead partner of DVV International in the introduction of non-formal youth and adult education into the nine provincial pilot Community Learning Centres (CLCs). The new Post School Education and Training (PSET) policy framework seeks to offer CLC students more relevant learning programmes that address the socio-economic issues faced by youth and adults.
The Women’s Circle (TWC) is one of our longest standing partners. TWC displays a dynamic understanding of how to deal with the multi-dimensional impacts of poverty and social degradation. Historically, youth education was not a priority area of TWCs work. However, the work has now extended to include a range of activities that look to protect and support youth, many of whom are unemployed and can benefit from livelihood and community education programmes. TWC’s activities are led by women who are committed to the learning circles across ten communities spread across the “Cape Flats” of the Western Cape Province.
The learning circles and a range of other learning activities and events help to build the capacity of women to combat social problems such as drugs, gangs, and violence in their communities and to work towards creating communities that embrace health and wellness. TWC works on organising and mobilising local communities, and educating people for active citizenship via street theatre, national campaigns that address gender and patriarchy and child and gender-based violence. TWC’s community-based education approach has been presented to the National Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) which, given the shift to a more inclusive community college policy framework in recent years, is encouraging non-formal education approaches. Accordingly, the DHET is seeking to understand how the new community college system might learn from these non-formal education approaches being introduced as part of the learning programmes at Community Learning Centres.
The Initiative for Participatory Development (IPD) has as its primary focus, the promotion of socio-economic rights for justice and health promotion through popular education in the Eastern Cape Province. Via networking and partnerships with other NGO’s and community-based structures, IDP builds the capacities of community health workers by broadening their perspectives on popular education approaches when working with communities. IPD takes a broad view in their approach to health and accordingly engage communities and community-based organisations (CBO’s) in health education that goes beyond focusing on an individual’s physical health to explore how unfavourable socio-economic factors have a bearing on both individual and community health.
They develop the skills of community collectives towards the development of healthy communities. IPD works with local community learning centres (CLCs) in the province and hosts community education workshop sessions at CLCs. These workshops orientate college educators on the new and expanded PSET policy frameworks. IPD’s work also aims to strengthen and expand partnerships that include work in the cooperative field that supports livelihoods to address extreme poverty levels, particularly in rural areas of the province.
The Adult Learning Forum (ALF) is our partner most closely linked to community learning centres (CLCs) and the work related to the new policy frameworks that are unfolding in the establishment of community colleges in South Africa. ALF works to network and lobby stakeholders in the sector, including the DHET and the community college councils, where an ALF representative is a ministerial appointee on the Eastern Cape provincial college council. ALF is also represented on the Director General for Education’s National Task Team on community colleges, which allows them to continue lobbying for inclusive approaches in the community education sector. ALF is therefore a key partner involved in policy dialogue and practice, which engages with a wide range of stakeholders. These include the South African ABET Educators Union (SAAEU) and other educator unions. ALF hosts Adult Learners Week (ALW) and International Literacy Day events annually.
The Overberg Development Association (ODA) is a model example of what is possible in the framework of providing community college and CLC opportunities to youth and adults. Over the years, ODA has partnered with the Cape Agulhas Municipality (CAM), the local community learning centre and South Africa National Parks (SANParks) on a range of programmes in five towns of Cape Agulhas, as well as some smaller localities in the area. Activities focused on environmental education, arts and culture, as well as gender awareness and sport for youths and adults. A key component of their work is the Youth Cultural Movement (YCM) as ODA seeks to tap in and advance the latent potential of community education in the local towns. An MoU between the CAM and DVV International lends further impetus to the work in the communities.