For Children in Crossfire, long-term sustainable Change requires more than our direct work on key issues within our target countries. Rather, it requires us to promote a more active role for people across the island of Ireland so that they are fully engaged with international development, understand the causes of poverty, understand the context of aid, and are mobilised to take actions for a fairer world overall. This is important because we believe that long-term support for development will depend on a well-informed public who are active participants in global development issues and issues of global justice.
Development Education works to help people to better understand the causes of poverty, inequality and injustice, global interdependence, and the impact that personal choices and actions have upon people in developing countries. It engages participants beyond simple understanding and knowledge to a process of thinking critically and acquiring the necessary skills and values for taking informed actions for change.
Development Education in Practice
Development Education is an active learning process, where participants explore the issues under the four main areas as presented below:
1. Attitudes – Exploring attitudes towards poverty and development
What perceptions do I have of poverty and inequality? Who informed these? How do I perceive people from the developing world? What are the implications of me holding firmly to the perceptions I have already formed? What are the implications of me forming new perceptions?
2. Knowledge – Exploring how the world is unfairly organised
Who benefits most by global trade rules? How does government aid to developing countries operate? Do developing countries need more aid or better opportunities for fairer trade? How does debt affect developing countries? How are people from the developing world portrayed and marketed through charities and the media? What is corruption on a global scale? Overall, what are the underlying causes which keep developing countries in poverty and affect the rights of people in the developing world?
3. Developing Skills
Overall, Development Education is a process of learning by doing, which in turn helps people learn to think critically, question, learn to be analytical, learn to effectively communicate and speak out. Children in Crossfire is currently designing new tools and methods for developing emotional literacy as a skill applicable to Development Education. It is our intention to build the emotional capacity of individuals to engage with the issues, and build positive values such as Compassion as the impetus that drives action for change.
What appropriate action can I take to bring about change, or how can I take action to transform the social, cultural, political and economic structures which affect the lives of others at personal, community, national and international levels.
Children in Crossfire is committed to the practice of Development Education because, being an organisation rooted in justice and fairness, we believe we have a responsibility to engage the public in looking at the complex underlying causes of injustice which are tied up in many factors such as trade, debt, and global corruption. Injustices inherent in these factors make it more difficult for developing countries to work their way out of the cycle of poverty. For example, we believe that the problem of hunger and malnutrition associated with our international projects must not be simply seen as coming from out there in the developing world. The people and communities involved in Children in Crossfire projects are at the receiving end of a problem that has many of its root causes fuelled by social, political, cultural and economic structures.
Overall, we see Development Education as an important practice to introduce people to these underlying causes, and fully acknowledge that longer-term change for the developing world will depend on people taking actions to achieve a fairer and more compassionate world for everyone.