For a long time the poorest of the poor were receiving far too little attention. The issue had been pushed out by the need to respond to the terrible events of war, the consequences of a series of dramatic natural disasters, and the results of rapidly growing globalization, which was endangering peopleís social security and jobs in both developing and industrialized countries.

The three linked topics of fair trade, debt relief for the poorest countries and a doubling of development assistance have now once again risen up the agenda, and rightly so. World economic forums and G8 summits have been forced by global campaigns and their justified demands to explain how efforts to combat poverty worldwide can effectively reach the majority of the poor. It is already clear that the most important Millennium Goals, to which all states belonging to the United Nations have made a commitment, have no chance of being achieved within the given time frame.

Our partners are deeply involved in these discussions and in civil society protest movements. The International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) is working through a wide range of lobbying activities, which are documented in Voices Rising (www.icae.org.uy). The Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE) and the Latin American Council for Adult Education (CEAAL) are mobilizing their members and playing their part in influential consortia (www.aspbae.org). One consequence of the Botswana Conference on Poverty Reduction and Adult Education is its own website, which is regularly updated (www.gla.ac.uk/centres/cradall).

Another important tool is the critical follow-up to the Dakar World Education Forum held in 2000, which aims to achieve some very important goals by 2015 in the areas of school enrolment, gender equality and quality of education. One extremely interesting outcome is the report by the Global Campaign for Education and ASPBAE, which investigates the situation in 14 Asian-Pacific countries; these are divided into a number of categories under the heading ìMust do Betterî (www.campaignforeducation.org). For our work, the Dakar goals are particularly crucial: it is intended that young people and adults, especially women, should be given access throughout their lives to literacy, life skills teaching, and basic and continuing education. Each year, the Education for All Global Monitoring Report assesses what has been achieved (www.efareport.unesco.org). The focus this year will be on literacy.

As an institute, we have worked in the last twenty years with many partners in Latin America under the banner of Popular Education, which propounds and practises the liberating effect of adult education. The Deputy Director of the IIZ/DVV, Dr. Michael Samlowski, has been involved in many of these debates and has assessed for us the arguments put forward in La Piragua; we have translated some of these articles and reprinted them here, so that they can also be read in other regions of the world.

At the moment, an English version of our report on activities in the years 2003 and 2004 is being published. This summarizes the major areas of action and reflects events and their effects; it is available from the Institute on demand. Anyone wanting to know more about our current work can quickly find out by going to www.iiz-dvv.de; this site also contains information about our other publications. In this issue we include a number of reports reflecting the Instituteís projects with partners and other activities in particular ways. Examples are drawn from the fields of literacy, skills training, intercultural learning and continuing training for adult educators. In regional terms, the focus is largely on Africa, and in the last decade also on developments in adult education in Central and Eastern Europe. And finally, we ask what Spanish Tertulias might mean for adults in other countries. The authors of all these contributions are either staff of the Institute in Germany or abroad, members of its Advisory Board, or project partners.

In its project work with partners, the Institute is supported chiefly by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ), but also by the Foreign Office, the Federal Press Office, the European Union and the World Bank. We value this support and no doubt speak for our partners when expressing our thanks, in the certainty that the funds are put to very good use. At the same time, we must stress that more support is urgently needed for vital development assistance work in order to make a yet greater contribution to combating poverty through adult education with partners. I therefore reiterate the above appeal: we need a drastic increase in development assistance for more good grassroots projects, and a coherent policy of fairer trade at global level and debt relief for the poorest countries.

Prof.(H) Dr. Heribert Hinzen

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