Regional Initiatives in Asia

Cooperation between DVV International and ASPBAE, the Asian-Pacific Association for Adult Education, spans a period of more than 30 years. Many changes have taken place over the course of the last three decades. Goals and focuses have shifted, and activities have been modified accordingly in each corresponding phase of our mutual projects. Personnel changes over time have brought new faces to the partnership. The priorities, however, have remained the same. Efforts still concentrate on regional networking, joint policy advocacy, and strengthening the institutional capacity of ASPBAE members while fostering dialogue, professional exchange, and information activities in the field of adult education and develop ment.

Promotion of thematic networks continues to be a central focus. The objective is to help ASPBAE support its members and adult education partners in the various countries of the region and to reinforce their efforts around the following core themes:

  • Adult Literacy for Social Justice and Empowerment
  • Indigenous People's Education
  • Education for Women's Empowerment
  • Education for Citizenship and Good Governance
  • Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention
  • HIV/AIDS Education Programme
  • Education for Displaced Peoples

The theme-oriented networks organize a broad range of valuable programmes and activities. Besides holding seminars on citizen participation, they conduct cost-benefit studies on the impact of literacy, and develop education watch tools. In a recent project, a training kit was developed for peace promoters. Detailed information about these and many other programmes can be accessed on the Internet at – a site that is well worth visiting.

A study was commissioned during the reporting period to evaluate the coopera tion between DVV International and ASPBAE. Very favourable conclusions were reached by the evaluation, which focused on content and methods employed by the two associations, aspects of women-specific education, gender mainstream ing, and progress in the implementation of the “Education for All” targets. In the coming years it will be possible to implement the recommendations made in the evaluation.

ASPBAE has also made progress in developing its own organizational structures while improving its strategies to support member organizations. Electronic means were used, example given, to conduct the General Assembly and hold elections for the Association’s president and executive committee. This constitutes a remark able innovation considering the vast expanse of the region and wide dispersion of ASPBAE members, but it is also an impressive achievement in terms of the effective use of modern information and communication technology.

In 2008, DVV International worked together with ASPBAE and its members on a new three-year Regional Action Plan. Strategic-planning workshops were very helpful in this connection with the opportunities they provided for stocktaking, evaluating current activities, and defining goals for the next phase of work. The functions were conducted on a sub-regional level. In Southeast Asia, for example, a workshop was held in Manila with the objective of fortifying national and cross-boarder networking among Philippine and Indonesian partners, the majority of which have common interests in their focuses on environmental education, the promotion of women, and rural development. The partners set themselves goals and defined the results they expected from their efforts to improve adult education programmes, strengthen institutional structures, and support providers, as well as to foster policy dialogue and advocacy work.

Three new regional activities were proposed and incorporated into the Action Plan to strengthen professional exchange and networking:

  • ASPBAE will build on its very successful modules of basic leadership courses and develop a second, higher level course to upgrade the qualifications of young executive-level adult educators.
  • Our Indian partner, PRIA, will set up an internet-based learning platform for adult education and lifelong learning where partner organizations will be able to pool resources and post their media releases, materials, and studies.
  • The thematic networks are to be expanded to include the areas of policy-making, legislation and financing; initial and advanced vocational training; initial and advanced university training; and education and sustainable development.

These activities are expected to bring strategic advantages and add value to the many other bilateral national programmes that DVV International continues to sup port.

At the same time, with a view toward the future, a study was conducted on the feasibility of cooperation in adult education in Cambodia and Laos. The results were discussed with partners in both countries as well as with our funder, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The suggestion for initiating steps toward cooperation in this subregion came from the Ministry itself. Cambodia and Laos are important partners in German development cooperation, and bilateral cooperation with Laos has priority status for Germany. Preparations are underway to open a new regional office to coordinate and assist adult educa tion programmes in southern and southeastern Asia.

Another aspect that still needs mention here is the CONFINTEA process, which has particular bearing on the future development of adult education throughout the region. A major event in this connection was the Regional Conference convened by UNESCO in Korea under the title “Building Equitable and Sustainable Societies in Asia and Pacific: the Challenges to Adult Learning”. All DVV International partner countries were represented at the event. As NGOs, they contributed important insights from the perspective of civil society, considerations that will be reflected in the final declaration and brought into discussions at the 2009 World Conference in Brazil. The national reports presented by the various governments have been reviewed in a regional evaluation. All these very informative documents are avail able for viewing on the Internet at

Market in Indonesia

Market in Indonesia Source: DVV International

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