The Human Force camp impacted me in all aspects of my life (Spiritually, physically,mentally) to care for all the little things that are around me and also to love myself more every day. It just made me grow and appreciate everything, and increased my inner peace! — a 19-year old participant from Europe
Human Force is an international programme for young volunteers. It bridges the gap between grassroots initiatives and everyday people who want to make a difference to the welfare of our planet and its people. With over a decade of experience, Human Force offers short-term Learning Service Programmes at Susila Dharma International Association (SDIA) projects worldwide, in the areas of health, education and sustainable livelihoods. Learning Service is a progressive approach to the traditional role of international volunteering. Human Force combines volunteering with learning objectives in global development education in order to provide a pragmatic and culturally sensitive experience whilst still meeting project needs.
In 2022, in partnership with the GHFP, Human Force’s international volunteers supported the community in Amanecer, la Tebaida, Colombia. The programme involved six kinds of activity:
Contributing to Phase 1 Environmental Plan and involving the construction of a walkway for a group of endangered nocturnal monkeys, planting of over 100 native trees to create a biological corridor and photographic mapping of the area to use for future phases of the project, in conjunction with the University of Quindio
English teaching classes over two days in conjunction with El Pedacito Del Cielo in the local town La Tebaida
Mural painting and gardening around the kiosko with Fundacion Amanecer, which was built prior to the camp commencement for the local children to have a safe place to play and develop
Installation of several signs for Amanecer International Centre and gardening work to further assist food security for the Centre
Global Awareness Program involving several talks and workshops about the social, economic and environmental issues pertinent to the region
Cultural and reflective activities to enrich the contextualisation of the project and bolster the human learning experience
This programme also featured region specific development learning related to ecology and the environment, guided personal reflection activities on talent and exploration of the unique landscape and culture of Colombia!
Sharing with good people, carrying out the different tasks together and despite the limitations in the language, everything has turned out in the best possible way. I’m so happy! — a 18-year old participant from Asia
The UNESCO Collective Healing Initiative aims to empower youth, especially young women, to initiate intergenerational dialogue and inquiry in communities impacted by historical mass brutality, and continued structural dehumanisation.
As illustrated by the African metaphor ‘Sankofa’, remembering the past can help recover and restore knowledge of previous generations, which not only benefits the present struggles and efforts, but can also guide our collective journeys into the future. Youth-initiated intergenerational dialogue and inquiry can enable stakeholders to reconnect with place-based indigenous wisdom, cultural resources and spiritual practices of resistance, resilience, restoration, healing, caring and well-being. Thus, intergenerational inquiry is a key to humanity’s endeavours to end cycles of destruction and patterns of violence.
By facilitating encounter and practising the arts of listening, attending, inquiring and dialogue, the intergenerational processes can help:
Understand people’s memories of histories and how they perceive their present lived realities in connection to marginalisation, colonialism and transatlantic slavery
Recover cultural wisdom and indigenous practices of resiliency, resistance, restoration, and regeneration
Identify the starting points for collective healing, social justice, and well-being through place-based ‘treasures’, e.g. stories of compassion, confidence and trust in the community’s strengths, the richness of inner life, and so on
Construct visions for a more humane and caring world
Proposing institutional conditions for systemic transformation
Intergenerational dialogue invites communities to adapt the inquiring methodologies to their own contexts. With the support of local organisations and the international partners, and guided by scholars and researchers in applying the ethics of inclusion and the arts of listening and dialogue, young adults and community elders will capture and document community-based narratives, and present stories of resilience, healing and regeneration to worldwide audience for mutual learning.
On 20-22 November 2022, partners from six countries in four continents gathered in London for an intensive workshops in preparation for the launch of the pilots for Intergenerational Dialogue & Inquiry.
Colleagues from UNESCO, including Anna Maria Majlof, Chief of Rights, Dialogue and Inclusion, Yvette Kaboza and Lucie Seck, Coordinators of Routes of Enslaved people, and Michael Frazier, UNESCO Donors Relations, as well as representatives from the programme’s funding partners, including Dr Mohammed Mohammed, Senior Programme Office of the Fetzer Institute, Professor Garrett Thomson, CEO of the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace, and Jeremy Smith, Dean of Education and Humanities, at the University of Wales TSD, all expressed their commitment to this global partnership.
The Creating a Culture of Encounter is a GHFP partnership initiative in collaboration with Aga Khan International, Arigatou International, European Wergeland Centre, and Scholas Occurrentes.
The one-year pilotbegan in September 2021. The main objectives were to bring together European nationals, and migrant and refugee youths living in Europe, through a culture of encounter to promote mutual understanding, foster inclusion and solidarity, and support young people to engage as active citizens through collective actions.
The project emerged in response to concerns identified by project partners around the rise of discrimination and hate speech across Europe. By creating shared spaces for young people to further develop their knowledge, attitudes and skills, and to actively question and transform narratives of discrimination and hate, the Project aims contribute to peacefulness in Europe and prevention of violence. Project activities aimed to equip youth with the competencies to be ‘agents of transformation’ in their communities, by influencing and training others, multiplying the reach of this initiative to a wider community of young people through positive social actions and campaigns.
As a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) partner, from September 2021 to July 2022, the GHFP conducted an evaluation of the pilot to draw out initial findings from the project activities. The purpose of the evaluation was to investigate progress against the intended aims and identify key outcomes of the project.
The MEL took a mixed-methods approach informed by quantitative and qualitative data from activity monitoring, youth baseline, teacher questionnaire and focus groups with young people and teachers.
Across three youth hubs in Spain, Portugal and Italy, 72 young people were engaged through citizenship and intercultural learning encounters and 48 teachers received training in intercultural and interfaith dialogue processes. Each hub successfully recruited youth from across several schools and localities that provided a broad range of participant backgrounds. Due to organisational constraints and covid-19 restrictions the programme did not engage as widely with refugee and migrant communities as intended; in future iterations, a greater focus on identifying relevant settings in advance and ensuring uptake would be advantageous.
Project partners collaborated to identify three key types of activity of the pilot project:
Educator workshops aimed at strengthening the capacity of teachers and equipping them with intercultural and interfaith dialogue skills to work with youth on issues of discrimination and violence to foster inclusion and pluralism.
Youth workshops for young people aged 16-18 years old in Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, through both online and in-person participatory workshops intended to provide opportunities for youth to experience active citizenship and learn to integrate intercultural and interfaith dialogue for creating a culture of encounter in their communities.
Youth-led projects facilitated in schools and communities to advance new narratives of mutual understanding, belongingness and respect, including a youth-led social media campaign to mobilise a wider network of young people in Europe, raise awareness, share their experiences, and influence positive change.
Teachers and young people reported a high level of need for and desire for spaces to examine issues of identity, discrimination, and inclusion. Learners valued the culture of encounter as a safe space for them to learn about themselves, get to know each other and consider their contribution to building more inclusive communities.
Learners most appreciated the participatory nature of activities and how they were encouraged to share their own thoughts and ideas.
The model of teachers participating and interacting equally with young people proved transformative for both teachers and youth.
Storytelling and mural activities were also effective for opening up discussion with young people. Young people reported an increased confidence and openness to express themselves and that activities had reduced inhibitions when engaging in group situations.
The programme had clear benefits on improving participants’ awareness and experience of active citizenship. The programme supported young people to recognise themselves as agents of inclusion, recognise commonalities and gain new perspectives. Young people felt that they had increased understanding and awareness of prejudice and discrimination, and increased confidence in combating discrimination and exclusion.
All young people interviewed during focus groups recognised the importance of youth as agents of change, felt more confident that they could make a positive difference and had been motivated to take a more active role in their communities. The project has had a positive impact on social interactions of young people in both the classroom and beyond, with examples of youth-led initiatives being disseminated in their schools and communities.
‘I have learned that, at least in my experience, between different people there are more similarities than differences, and that, different tastes aside, we work better together.’ — Young person from Greece
Teachers were highly impressed by the training and ability of facilitators to develop a strong level of openness and encounter with youth. Teachers appreciated learning about new innovative and participatory tools to engage students, recognising the value of these as helpful launching off points to introduce difficult topics around identity and exclusion. Teachers were inspired to take a more learner-centred participatory approach to citizenship education and prioritise youth encounters in future. Teachers valued having the space to hear and exchange ideas around inclusion and identity from colleagues in different schools and across different subject areas. They reported that they were likely to apply the learning in the classroom and were inspired to support youth-led change. As a result of the project, teachers were committed to supporting youth-led projects and had an overall sense of pride around the potential of young people and the sense of empowerment unleashed amongst learners.
‘This way of understanding education is encouraging many teachers to open the windows of our schools, weave networks and multiply the spaces for play, art and critical reflection because we have seen the transformative force they contain.’ — Teacher, Spain
Despite the positive experiences in creating a culture of encounter across participating settings, teachers noted that COVID-19 impacted project delivery and the practicalities of delivering face to face workshops led to delays and complications. The use of online spaces for youth engagement was also limited and could be further utilised in future programming through better understanding of how youth can best make use of these platforms.
An added value of the partnership model has been the sharing and cross fertilization of youth pedagogies across the delivery partners with youth hubs, this has led to rich and diverse workshops and an ever evolving and responsive programme.
The three youth hubs continue to be engaged in the project as they continue to roll-out youth initiatives. Funding is being sort for the next stage of the Culture of Encounter project which will build upon the successes of the first-year pilot in 2023.
On 13th October, educational thinkers, practitioners and policymakers gathered together online to discuss the challenges of the current assessment paradigm, and explored the potentials of an innovative orientation to education, one that places the process of relating at the centre of learning and well-being!
Many believe that the building blocks for realising the potentials of a relation-centred education are largely in place. However, the major obstacle to its advancement remains the defective, testing-based approach to assessment. Hence, amplifying the voice of students and teachers, in this webinar, we presented an energising array of evaluative practices that nourish the potentials of relating while providing a wealth of resources for continued learning, and for enriching students’ (and teachers’) well-being.
We have deliberately chosen the term ‘evaluation’ as opposed to other terms such as ‘assessment’, ‘measurement’ or ‘appraisal’. This is because these latter ones tend to carry strong connotations of objective judgement, and imply that learning is best observed and improved through quality control, carried out by an external authority.
By contrast, ‘evaluation’ is about valuing, strengthening, empowering. In the context of education, it is about appreciating the values in the activities and experiences of teaching and learning. In so doing, evaluation can replace the emphasis on student deficiency with a focus on the potentialities, possibilities and opportunities for well-being and well-becoming. Valuing helps affirm students’ equal intrinsic value as persons, and support the emergence of their strengths.
The contributors to the Webinar concluded that the world of education is in desperate need of political will as to re-focus educational aims and processes, away from passing exams and achieving grades; away from preparing students to be used as part of the economy engine, but instead, to refocus education on making schools high-quality inclusive & caring environments fit for our children and young people’s learning and well-being.
In November 2022, the GHFP and other partners, including Arigatou International and Kaiciid co-convened the Ethics Education Fellowship Programme’s first capacity-building session in Yogyakarta, hosted by Indonesian Ministry of Education.
More than 30 Fellows from the Ministries of Education of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Mauritius, Nepal and Seychelles participated in the capacity-building, including workshops on facilitating intercultural and interreligious dialogue, transformative pedagogy, and collaborative approaches to monitoring-evaluation-learning (MEL).
Fellows were enthusiastic about the relational conception of ethics education and the innovative pedagogical practices introduced. They also realised that the ways to evaluate the fruit of teaching and learning cannot be separated from the processes of engaging in teaching and learning.
More importantly, the Fellows recognised that when fully integrated in public education, ethics education can provide the space for learners to foster the qualities, capacities and competencies necessary for them to relateethically with self, others and the world. Through interreligious, intercultural and interworldview learning processes, children internalise the relational principles of dialogue, and develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills to flourish in a plural world.
On Sunday the 15th August, the Project Hijas de la Paz was inaugurated in Amanecer, Colombia, with a ceremony that included the local Mayor and other local dignitaries and the chairperson of Subud Colombia.
45 young women took part in a four-month residential programme, most of who are from indigenous and Afro-communities who are living in terrible conditions of poverty and violence. 11 children who came with the young women joined Amanecer Kindergarten and received International Child Development Project (ICDP) support.
The entire community was involved and provided 900 hours of training and formation. There were 16 tutors on the Programme (academic, personal, entrepreneurial, cooking, gardening), and 10 of them are residents of Amanecer. Other Subud members were acting as ‘helpers’ to the participants, supporting them in processing and addressing the deep traumas.
The Hijas de la Paz Project has enabled these vulnerable young women to feel their intrinsic value as persons, and from a place of deep quiet, they learned and worked harmoniously with a community of mentors. This is how they can be nurtured into future leaders and peacemakers.
“Today is a day to celebrate peace. This award recognises that positive peace can be expressed in many ways, such as a spiritual presence, a serene psychological state, a relational consciousness, a loving community, a caring institution, an economy centred on human well-being, and a way of inter-being on the planet with all that is.
These diverse aspects of peace are united by a common ethical core – the search for the global good and the flourishing of all. It is this ethical core that invites our imagination of structural peace, co-construct a culture of well-being, and support pillars for positive peace.
I am most grateful for this award which gives so much meaning to our work for peace. More importantly, it draws our attention to those who are pioneering positive peace – who have shown us that so long as we see humanity as embodiment of dignity, love as the promise of mutual belonging, community as the commitment to our deep relatedness, peace is already within reach.”
The global symposium Transforming Education: Ethics Education for Learning to Live Together gathered more than 900 educators, children and young people, policymakers, religious leaders, faith-based and civil society organizations, academic researchers, and multilateral agencies.
The Symposium provided a platform for various stakeholders to share experiences on ethics education programs and their contribution to peacebuilding and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Participants learned about good practices, programs, and policies from governments and schools, with the participation of several ministries of education.
We are pleased to share with you the Report of the Symposium, where you will find out more about the issues discussed, and the recommendations made by the different stakeholders.
One of the main outcomes of the symposium is the launch of the Ethics Education Fellowship Programme for ministries of education to build a network of formal education institutions and create a platform for sharing and building capacity within the ministries. The Fellowship Program will be formally announced within the next few weeks.
Please feel free toget in touch with us to explore collaborations and find opportunities for partnership and engagement.
“Young people are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future for all.” — António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
“Children will never accept a return to ‘normal’ after the pandemic because ‘normal’ was never good enough.” — Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF
In 2021, through a Global Listening Initiative, the G20 Interfaith Forum Education Working Group partners brought forward voices of worldwide children and young people in the following policy statement. It highlights five practical implementable actions as follows:
SAFEGUARD HEALING AND WELL- BEING AS A CORNERSTONE OF EDUCATION Education is essential not only to healing the trauma of COVID- 19, but also addressing the pre- existing epidemic of youth mental and emotional illbeing. Faith- sensitive conceptions and practices of healing and well- being should be considered to enrich educational effort to this end. This is a significant step that all G20 countries can take for education, guided by a common objective of nurturing students’ holistic well- being through education.
ENGAGE YOUTH IN EDUCATIONAL DECISION- MAKING Youth have a significant part to play in educational decisions that directly affect their learning, well- being, and present and future lives. Therefore, all young people, including girls and youth from minority and vulnerable backgrounds, must be respected and engaged as actors, innovators, co- creators, partners, and advocates for transforming education. G20 leaders should consider faith communities as key partners for education in this regard as many have provided meaningful support in terms of youth engagement.
ENSURE ALL LEARNERS’ EQUITABLE AND CONSISTENT ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION To improve learners’ equitable experience of, and equal access to, good quality education requires a commitment to making digital technological infrastructures available in homes, schools, and communities. Broad G20 political partnerships and public and private investments in educational resources are key to educational inclusion.
EMBED ECOLOGICAL AND GLOBAL CONCERNS IN CURRICULA AGENDA The world increasingly recognises the interdependence of human well- being and ecological flourishing, a spiritual understanding long advocated by global faith communities. Education can contribute significantly to young people’s deepened awareness of the need to decentralise human self- interest, and to recentre human responsibility for regenerating our ecological environment. With the support of faith-based partners, curricula agendas must be reformed to include and promote environmental education and direct experiences in/of nature, along with a deeper understanding of SDGs and the skills to support them.
PRIORITISE TEACHERS’ WELL- BEING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND STRENGTHENTHEIR CAPACITIES TO FACILITATE BLENDED LEARNING Teachers’ well- being and continued professional development is essential to high quality education. With the strong possibility of future pandemics on the horizon, cultivating teachers’ capacities to facilitate student learning and well- being through online and blended media has become a key priority. Online CPD platforms and creative resources across G20 partnerships can serve to support the sharing of innovative practices and enable mutual learning. Faith- inspired conceptions of education and well- being can help strengthen teachers’ connection with the noble vocation.
To understand how education can contribute to the above challenges, the IF20 Education Working Group partners launched a Global Listening Initiative (GLI). The aim of the GLI was two-fold: (1) to ground policy inquiry in existing global proposals, (2) to understand the lived experiences of children and young people in diverse contexts and engage them in identifying actions for educational transformation.
The GLI consisted in two parts: an extended Desk Review to listen to the widespread calls to action from diverse international organisations, global educational commissions, religious communities, grassroots movement and scholars; and a global consultation to listen to young people and engage with their perspectives. Over two thousand adolescents (aged 14-19) from 26 countries across five continents took part in online and/or in-person workshops hosted by NGOs, schools, and faith-based organisations. Adolescents from diverse backgrounds were invited to reflect on their experiences of life and education during the Covid-19 pandemic; identify who and what have been most supportive to their learning and well-being; and propose educational policy priorities that can explicitly support their healing, learning and flourishing. Participants’ insights were drawn out through a deep listening and dialogic process, and immersive data analysis, bringing together themes arising from structured and unstructured facilitators’ and youth’s reports, images, drawings, and quotes from participants. Both processes have yielded rich understandings of the potentials to work purposefully through education programmes as ways to advocate for and advance equity, inclusion, and well-being. Conceptions of healing and well-being rooted in faith, indigenous and other spiritual traditions played an important part in guiding the GLI’s reflection.
Young people from India, Lebanon and UK representing the voices of global adolescents and shared their experiences of education and insights from the Global Listening Initiative in the following dialogue.
Through listening, dialogue and inquiry, the G20 Interfaith Forum Education Working Group was able to bring children and young people’s voices forward through an educational policy brief, presented at IF20 Summit held in Bologna, September, 2021.