International Consultation of NGOs

In preparation for the World Education Forum, an International Consultation was held on 24–25 April 2000 at the “Centre d’Etude Superieur Africain de Gestion” (CESAG). This was attended by some 300 regional and international NGOs, together with representatives of NGO networks and associations. There was critical discussion of what had been achieved since Jomtien, what goals needed to be set for the future and what tasks undertaken, and what contribution the NGOs could make as partners without whom their fulfilment could no longer be imagined. We reproduce here the Declaration adopted at that meeting.

NGOs and the Unfinished Agenda of EFA

Education as a commodity in the marketplace is deepening poverty and exclusion, particularly in the worst affected countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organizations therefore insist on the recognition and reaffirmation of education as consultations of NGOs in 25 countries of the South identified three main deficit areas requiring urgent attention: the resources deficit; the quality deficit; and the democratic deficit, with underlying implications as to gender, for persons with disabilities, minorities and the marginalized. NGOs reaffirm their crucial role in building a popular constituency to demand change and ensuring that the needs and interests of the poor are persuasively articulated and considered by policy-makers and politicians. A new EFA-2015 compact should release new vigor, structures and mechanisms as well as resources to secure learning environments that develop self- and collective confidence and creative participation in socio-cultural, political, economic and technological innovation and growth.

Non-governmental and civil society organizations contributed considerably to the EFA 2000 assessment (Jomtien+10). They have developed large networks at local, national, regional and international levels to more efficiently and successfully achieve their objectives. Partnership building has become one of their major strategies. Thus, they have developed advocacy impact, sustained commitments in reaching the excluded, mobilized for the paradigm shift from schooling to learning and advanced the conceptual development of education for the 21st century.

In order to prepare their final collective input to the World Education Forum 2000, NGOs are now getting ready for an International Consultation, which will be held at the Centre d’Etude Supérieure Africain de Gestion (CESAG) in Dakar from 24 to 25 April 2000. It will bring together about 300 participants representing international and regional NGOs as well as some national NGO networks and federations. The meeting will ensure that the approximately 60 NGOs who will participate in the World Education Forum will be better able to raise the voice for the visions and concerns of civil society organizations at large. The International Consultation of NGOs has two main objectives:

  1. develop a joint statement and amendments on the EFA Framework for Action based in particular on the results of a prior electronic consultation
  2. think about new partnerships and mechanisms to ensure the implication of NGOs in the World Education Forum in Dakar and beyond

The International Consultation of NGOs is organized under the auspices of the NGO-UNESCO Collective Consultation on Literacy and Education For All (CC) and the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee, in partnership with representatives of the Senegalese NGO Organizing Committee. The Consultation is the culmination of an assessment process initiated by the CC, in which non-governmental and civil society organizations undertook in-depth case studies of their own EFA programs in over 50 countries world-wide and organized national consultations in 25 countries of the South. National and global education campaigns spearheaded by NGOs are galvanizing civil society into an effective force for advocacy for quality EFA and strengthening networking around the world. Regional NGO consultations in Johannesburg and Bangkok, as well as side meetings at the Regional EFA Assessment meetings in Cairo and Santo Domingo, brought together some 200 NGOs including international, regional and national organizations and networks. These meetings enabled NGOs to elaborate collective statements to inform the respective Regional EFA Assessment meetings.

The following six priority areas of NGO work were identified by NGOs at their 1998 CC General Assembly. Six NGOs coordinated and synthesized case studies covering a tremendous variety of situations across the world. A seventh synthesis condensed the outcomes of national NGO consultations held in 25 countries of the South. These thematic syntheses reflect important aspects of NGOs’ comparative advantage in the field of education and show once again that NGOs reached out to those who are excluded from formal education systems:

a) Community Participation: Experiences of NGO and Civil Society (Aide et Action)

b) Gender Dimensions in Education for All: NGO and CSO Experiences (African Community Education Network)

c) Linking Nonformal Education to Development: NGO Experiences during the EFA Decade (World Education)

d) Emerging Trends in Adult Literacy Policies and Practice in Africa and Asia (Asian-South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education)

e) Assessing Civil Society Partnerships in EFA (SIL International)

f) Education for All: Teachers’ Perspectives (Education International)

g) Civil Society Perspectives on Education for All: Broken Promises, New Hopes (ActionAid)


For further information, please contact:
The International Consultation of NGOs
c/o STA.ONG/EPT, Dakar, Senegal
Tel: 00.221.824.59.03
Fax: 00.221.824.44.13
c/o UNESCO-NGO Liaison Committee, Paris, France
Tel: 0033 1 45 68 17 31
Fax: 0033 1 45 66 03 37

Adult Education and Development


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