On the 21st December, the shortest day of the year, Irish Aid launched its Development Education strategy for 2017-2023. Firstly, it feels significant that the strategy is launched on this winter solstice day. Solstices have been used throughout history to mark many important events each year, such as the sowing of seeds for crops, the harvesting of crops, and monitoring the reserves of winter food. As the earth keeps turning and journeying through the course of the year, and as the solstice sun appears low in the sky, it feels both poignant and hopeful that our government ministers and key education stakeholders are gathered together to mark our continued efforts to work at making the world a better place over the next seven years and beyond.
It feels poignant because of all the suffering in the world. There are many people displaced, cold, homeless, isolated and hungry.
It feels hopeful because in the midst of a suffering world, there is a will to ‘do good’ and mobilise an active citizenry of change-makers.
- Development Education seeks to cultivate the necessary skills, values and knowledge to build the person the world most needs – the person who will stand up for justice, and participate in the world as an active global citizenship. Overall, Development Education is rooted in human rights and the practice of justice and fairness. It is a practice that looks at everything through a global interconnected lens, exploring causes and solutions to injustice and inequality from many perspectives and levels.
- Development Education helps people gain a wider understanding of their interconnectedness with the rest of the world. The aim is to cultivate a global community where we are all accountable to each other, and are united in the common goal of bringing about positive change and justice for everyone.
The low sun in the solstice sky serves as a reminder that our earth will keep turning, and generations will come and go. It serves as a reminder that we are closely connected to each other on this single planet earth. Since we are all here for a very short time, shouldn’t we spin and journey through our solstices as people the world most needs – people who will care for each other, stand up for each other, and demand justice and fairness for all people across the world?
As we at Children in Crossfire prepare for our ongoing Development Education work for 2017, we are encouraged to work in partnership with Irish Aid to deliver the strategy. In particular, we will have a focus on delivering a Development Education which educates both the heart and the head. It is our aim to support the cultivation of emotional, critical, social, and ethical competencies; all of which are considered essential for fostering the compassionate global citizen – the Person the World Most Needs!
Finally, on the train journey home from the strategy launch, I looked out and saw our beautiful solstice sun. I immediately thought of my colleague Donna McFeely who wrote these words for a previous blog:
LIVE THE WORLD YOU WANT TO SEE!
LIVE IT! If you want a more peaceful world, live a more peaceful life. If you want a kinder world, live a kinder life! We understand it’s not always easy but didn’t Nelson Mandela say, “Nothing is impossible – for even the word itself says I’m possible!”
The thing about change is that it takes time… more so, it takes People! It takes Hope! Together we can all become people that our world needs- we just need to do it in a way that brings everyone along on our journey!
Caroline Murphy, Children in Crossfire