DVV International

Strategic Aims and Performance Profile

Youth and Adult Education in Development Cooperation as a Contribution to Social Improvement


Strategic Aims and Performance Profile

Prefatory Remarks

The BMZ created the instrument known as Social Improvement, and selected spe cialist non-governmental organizations to deliver it; these are now working together successfully in the Social Improvement Network (AGS). Since its inception, Social Improvement has played a particular role among the wide range of development policy instruments used by the Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Co operation (BMZ). The delivery organizations have acquired the expertise required from their professional activities throughout Germany, and increasingly also in Europe, as well as from their experience of carrying out and evaluating activities in partner countries.

Improvements to social institutions are achieved through development policy approaches that ensure participation in social development by wide sections of the population, particularly the poor, and strengthen partners’ long-term capacity for self-help.

AGS members follow the guiding principle of globally sustainable development, in which urgent priority is given to combating poverty, securing peace and ensur ing fairer globalization.

The AGS organizations supported under Heading 68703, “Promoting Social Institutions in Developing Countries”, are required by the BMZ to draw up strategy papers setting out the focus of their activities and their regional emphases. From these, a performance profile is drawn up for each body, clearly setting out the comparative benefits to the BMZ of targeted cooperation.

1. DVV International as an Agent of Development Cooperation

The German Adult Education Association (DVV) was asked in the early 1960s by German Embassies in Africa and the BMZ to make its specialist expertise in adult education available to promote literacy and basic education by providing initial and continuing training for staff during the decolonization of Africa, and later of Asia and Latin America.

Through the DVV, the BMZ has since then continually and systematically promoted cooperation with partners in developing countries and countries in transition, par ticularly in basic and continuing education for young people and adults, initial and inservice training for specialists, and the institutional and material strengthening of adult education institutions.

1.1 Strategic Orientation Education is a human right and an indispensable requirement for development. It is therefore one of the most important areas of development cooperation. Successful education systems rest on four equal pillars: schools, vocational train ing, universities, and adult education; flexible transition is needed between them. Non-formal and out-of-school education programmes for young people and adults fulfil complementary and compensatory functions. Globalization, rapid technological change and the spread of knowledge and information-based societies have created the need for lifelong learning. Adult edu cation has a key role to play in the process of lifelong learning through general, vocational, cultural and academic continuing education. The recent reports of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Devel opment (OECD), Beyond Rhetoric. Adult Learning Policies and Practices (2003) and Promoting Adult Learning (2005) point strongly in this direction. This is the only way of meeting the growing need and demand for general and vocational adult education, which is equally recognisable in developing and industrialized countries, and in countries in transition. In the Memorandum on Lifelong Learning and the ground-breaking document Adult learning: Never too late to learn (2006), the European Union (EU) sets out clear positions, with the emphasis on using and strengthening adult education. DVV International is the Institute for International Cooperation of the German

Adult Education Association (IIZ/DVV). According to the international aims stated in its Articles, the Institute

  • promotes the exchange of information and expertise on adult education and development throughout Europe and worldwide
  • achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.”

The BMZ provided consistent support for EFA during the preparatory stage and set out its positions and services to support governmental and non-governmental school and out-of-school education at the Dakar Forum (BMZ Spezial 011). Non-formal education for young people and adults was highlighted as a major project type. After Dakar, the BMZ updated and spelled out its aims in “Grundbildung für alle als internationales Entwicklungsziel – eine zentrale Herausforderung für die deutsche Entwicklungspolitik” (Basic Education for all as an international develop ment goal – a core challenge for German development policy, BMZ Position Paper 106). Formal school education continues to be at the forefront. The significance of non-formal and out-of-school education programmes for children, young people and adults has increased in importance, however, as have the productive “life skills” for earning a living that are learned through education.

The importance of initial and continuing vocational training is particularly stressed in two directions through development cooperation. First, in the form of initial vocational training to strengthen specialist knowledge, practical skills and social behaviour, it is often a necessary supporting measure in the context of eco nomic development schemes. Secondly, there is a need to provide knowledge and practical skills for the large number of young people and adults who earn their family’s living through employment or self-employment in the informal sector, thus increasing their earnings and helping to combat poverty. The BMZ programme Vocational Training and the Labour Market acknowledges the important role played by non-governmental providers.

1.2 Position in the Organization as a Whole

In Germany alone, some 21 million adults take part each year in organized con tinuing education. Of these, over 9 million take courses at the Volkshochschulen (community adult education centres, VHS). These are learner-centred and provide national coverage, are the central continuing education establishments in each local authority area and offer a wide range of general, vocational and civic education.

The German Adult Education Association (DVV) is the national association of the 16 regional associations comprising nearly 1000 independent VHS, and it repre sents their educational and organizational interests and those of adult education as a whole at national, European and international level.

Among the bodies forming part of the DVV are telc GmbH, a company that de velops and tests European language learning certificates, and the Adolf Grimme Institute, a company specializing in media, education and culture.

The DVV is a registered non-profit association headed by a Board of Management under the terms of § 30 of the Civil Code. The Chair is Dr Ernst Dieter Rossmann, MdB (Member of the German Federal Parliament), the President is Prof Dr Dr h.c. mult. Rita Süssmuth, and the Director of the Association is Ulrich Aengenvoort.

DVV International is a DVV institute. Under § 30 of the Civil Code, the Director is the special representative for the area of operations covered by the Institute for International Cooperation. The Director of the Institute is Prof(H) Dr Dr h.c. (H) Heribert Hinzen, the Deputy Director is Uwe Gartenschlaeger, and the Head of Administration is Gaby Kleinen-Rätz.

The DVV has set up an Advisory Committee for Continuing Education, and the Institute has established a Board for International Cooperation, in which adult education and development policy, regional and local government, practice and research are represented.

In fulfilling its national and international tasks, the DVV follows the principles of promotion of women and gender justice.

In its projects promoting youth and adult education on development policy, the DVV draws on its experience of local work to provide development policy informa tion and awareness to the VHS through multiplier training, advice and materials, thus contributing to global learning. This is also one of the areas supported by the BMZ (ref. 114).

The DVV is increasingly involved in European activities to shape adult education. It is a leading member of the largest professional body, the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA). The DVV presses for a development policy dimen sion in the orientation of EAEA, through which greater influence may be gained on EU cooperation with developing countries by the use of adult education.

1.3 Funding, Organization and Staffing

The grants provided by the BMZ under the heading of Social Improvement are absolutely essential to the work of DVV International and its partners. For many years they have provided an ongoing and largely protected planning horizon by means of a combination of appropriations and cash funds. An increase in Social Improvement grants could purposefully and effectively be employed to expand existing projects and to launch new activities.

Financial control is in line with BMZ funding guidelines. In agreement with the BMZ, AGS has also developed a standardized planning, management and evaluation procedure based on targets, outcomes, activities and indicators. Using outcome and impact monitoring rather than an input orientation is a major task and a considerable challenge. Further refinement of new methodological approaches is needed in order to improve impact measurement and to create sector-specific and specialized indicators; this work is being carried out with our partners.

The synthesis report of the 2003 transverse assessment of social structure evalu ations proposed that the experience of Social Improvement projects should be used to procure third-party funding, thus ensuring breadth of impact. This has been successful to a remarkable and growing degree. In addition to BMZ grants, the DVV receives international cooperation funds and contracts from the German Foreign Office, the European Union, the Netherlands Development Agency, the World Bank and other organizations.

The staff of DVV International consists of a total of 143 persons, 28 at the head quarters in Bonn and 115 in partner countries. Of these, 61 are male and 82 female, 44 work in education and research, and 99 in administration and techni cal support. The majority are funded out of Social Improvement project funds or the administration budget. The use of short-term staff is concentrated in selected special areas. The quality of provision is enhanced by the voluntary involvement in projects and events of experts from educational and development practice, policy and research.

2. Areas of Activity

The conditions under which international cooperation projects have to operate in the field of adult education are anything but favourable, nationally and internation ally. The basic challenges to be met in the area of education have changed little. Problems in basic education have worsened over the generations, so that adults still lack the opportunity to acquire the knowledge that could help them cope better with their circumstances. The latest World Education Report estimates there still to be nearly 800 million younger and older illiterates. To these should be added 100 million children and young people who do not attend school, while the number of working children is put at around 200 million.

Significant social changes may not be brought about by education, but people cannot institute or help to make such changes, let alone consolidate them for the long term, without education. The development of democratic societies is only conceivable if people are willing and able to play a part in shaping these at local, national and global level. Adult education with a broad range of content and forms

of organization has lost nothing of its relevance, and solidarity is still needed to help partners build up sustainable adult education institutions.

Unfortunately, youth and adult education plays only a marginal role in bilateral and multilateral assistance. This is in diametric contrast to needs.

2.1 Sectoral and Subject Focus of Activities

In most of the countries in which DVV International operates, priority is given to the following sectors and areas of activity. They all have an implicit indirect impact on poverty reduction. Working with proven partners means that appropriate experi ence, plans of work and skills are available for the various target groups:

  • Basic education and literacy: functional youth and adult literacy work; non-formal and out-of-school provision; teaching of personal and social skills – found in the majority of projects
  • Compensatory education for adults: later than usual acquisition of school-leaving qualifications, young people with no school education and drop-outs, second-chance provision to prepare for and support vocational training – usu ally found in urban educational provision
  • Environmental education and sustainable development: teaching of practical ecological knowledge; improvement of the living environment – including planting of trees and use of alternative technologies
  • Health education and AIDS: information and education about diet, hygiene and various diseases – recognised training of people to care for AIDS sufferers and information campaigns
  • Empowerment and gender mainstreaming: specific educational provision for women, from encouragement of participation and support for women’s groups – to the cross-cutting task of greater gender justice
  • Human rights and democratization: information on personal, social and politi cal human rights; promotion of participation by disadvantaged groups – and hence strengthening of democratically based civil society
  • Conflict management and crisis prevention: clarification of economic and social causes and religious and ethnic background; support and advice for approved NGOs – a growing task in many project countries

In many projects, employment and career guidance are of particular importance. Together with specially selected and trained partners, who are provided with constant back-up and advice, support is given to training courses in crafts and commercial skills, office skills and administration. These projects contribute directly to poverty reduction. For many people, employment in the informal sector is in fact the only way of earning a living. The projects

  • aim to prepare people for work and employment, and to help them join the labour market
  • set out to increase incomes among poor and disadvantaged groups of the population
  • provide preparation and organizational skills for income-oriented self-help groups and cooperatives
  • often require the belated acquisition of academic and prevocational skills

Among the other thematic areas of DVV International and its work are:

  • support for self-help
  • sustainable agriculture
  • intercultural education
  • political education and representation
  • training of skilled workers
  • and generally, the creation of institutions to provide adult education

The sectoral approach, which aims at improving institutional policy, legislation and funding, and professionalism in the theory and practice of adult education, clearly requires cooperation with ministries and government agencies, university and other professional organizations, associations, NGOs and educational providers. DVV International therefore advises initiatives promoting adult education legislation; this requires professional expertise in working with parliaments and governments and in supporting NGOs in relevant lobbying activities. Another example is that of high-level training for adult educators, which calls for appropriate courses; in over ten African universities, DVV International supports the development of relevant curricula and teaching materials.

In the work carried out with selected partners from central and local government, professional associations and universities, NGOs and grassroots organizations, the emphasis is on improving the institutional structure of providers, skills develop ment and quality assurance. The work

  • stresses initial and inservice training: inservice training for multipliers, in specific areas and professions, for people working in management, teaching and administration in NGOs and specialist organizations, and strengthening of university courses on adult education
  • enables practice-oriented evaluation and research: feasibility studies, analy ses of providers, mid-term reviews, formative and summative evaluations carried out externally and internally, and thematic studies
  • promotes the development of relevant teaching and learning materials: spe cialist series of publications and journals, handbooks and course support materials, and use of the new media for information and communication
  • supports the institutional and material infrastructure: help with equipping teaching rooms, IT hardware and software, and equipment for media use and greater mobility
  • provides targeted advice on organizational development: ongoing support for NGOs, analysis of weaknesses, capacity building, and strengthening of partners and project providers
  • contributes to recognition in education policy and guaranteed status: informa tion and advice, assistance with lobbying, strengthening of institutions, and macro-level interventions with central and local government

The aims and activities of DVV International and its partners correlate with efforts to achieve various international development goals, from MDGs to EFA and CON FINTEA. These decisions and recommendations, like the BMZ Action Programme 2015, start from the crucial importance of education for human development, and especially for poverty reduction and underdevelopment. DVV International is convinced that non-formal education for young people and adults must play a key role. Newly developed and improved initial and inservice training for adult educa tors, and well-structured and functioning networking and education policy initia tives, help to encourage the creation of institutions and synergy effects. The goals aimed at are mutually complementary, and support for adult education providers in the civil society creates capacities on which government policy can build. These goals should be networked in the regional context and can exercise an influence on national policy and its implementation through exchanges of experience and information.

2.2 Cooperation Partners The target groups of DVV International and its partners are therefore primarily marginalized groups, people from slums and lower middle-class urban areas, indig enous population groups, small farmers, rural labourers, the unemployed and those at risk of unemployment or social exclusion, young people without work, training or prospects, and women whose skills are not recognised and who are oppressed and relegated to invisible positions on the fringes of society. The partners of DVV International are, in line with the sub-sectoral youth and adult education approach, drawn from government institutions and civil society

organizations. This accords fully with the experience that the creativity, proximity to the grassroots and commitment of NGOs are invaluable for the development and implementation of locally based and socially oriented activities and projects, although it is only the committed involvement of government authorities that can guarantee national provision of educational and learning opportunities for the adult population as well as children.

The consistent partner orientation guarantees both ownership and breadth of impact. There are numerous examples of pilot projects and innovative model projects carried out with cooperation partners that have clearly fed into activities with a broader institutional impact. Through a range of different projects, an im pact can thus be achieved at the micro level with local partners, frequently NGOs. The meso level is often the preserve of cooperation with specialist area partners. At the macro level, a structural impact is achieved: contact with parliament and government administration is needed to improve conditions of operation through legislation and professionalization.

Planning and evaluation seminars are generally conducted with partners, in which the different stages of the planning process are discussed using relevant documents. Partners are taken through the terms of reference and format of the goals, planning and management worked out for AGS.

The advice and guidance offered by the project offices are generally prized and made good use of by partners because of the high skill level of the staff. Applications from NGOs for project support are checked individually by the project directors and/or their colleagues, the requirements for support are determined, project visits are made, and evaluation reports are sent to the project office.

Networking between partners is strengthened through extensive cooperation with regional adult education associations and non-governmental organizations:

  • PAALAE: Pan-African Association for Literacy and Adult Education
  • ASPBAE: Asia-South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education
  • CEAAL: Latin American Council for Adult Education
  • EAEA: European Association for the Education of Adults

Because of their wide membership in their respective continents (a total of over 500 organizations), there are good opportunities for exchanges of professional practice and networking. Joint training courses and conferences, the multiplier ef fect of publications, and website links, make it possible for the DVV and its partners to combine grassroots activities with institutional support for providers.

Further significant partners operating regionally or globally in this field are:

  • REFLECT, a learner-centred literacy approach, particularly in Africa
  • PRIA, a participatory research society in India and other Asian countries
  • REPEM, a gender and women’s education network, principally in Latin America

At international level, a particularly important role in professional cooperation is played by:

  • ICAE: International Council for Adult Education
  • UIL: UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

In addition to cooperating on particular themes, DVV International has consistently argued at all accessible and appropriate levels in defence of adult education and in favour of an expansion in the ways in which it operates. This takes place in the knowledge that there is a need for a worldwide body to represent the interests of adult education and to coordinate the different regional associations, and this need is met by ICAE.

In its lobbying activities on behalf of continuing education, DVV International works chiefly with UIL, which is also responsible for the literacy and basic educa tion work of UNESCO; they have collaborated in the committee of experts for the UN Literacy Decade. UIL also has the task of preparing the next International Conference on Adult Education, CONFINTEA VI, to be held in Brazil in 2009; DVV International has been asked to join the consultative committee.

2.3 Regional Priorities

Generally, projects are already, and will in future continue to be, combined into major programme areas that are planned, managed and impact-evaluated by the headquarters in Bonn. These comprise local, national, regional and international measures and activities.

Regional programmes cover the individual projects in particular countries at continental level, and are overseen by regional offices. These are responsible for regional planning, management and networking. At the same time, they provide the requisite long-term presence and hence professional solidarity and support for projects which are often complex and complicated. Project staff deliver professional advice, give specialist input, and take part in lobbying activities.

Special regional initiatives directly foster exchanges of experience and network ing between specialists and organizations in the individual countries. Regionaliza tion has thus opened up new possibilities. Partners learn from specific experiences and developments in other countries, successful models are adapted and trans ferred, and training capacity in one country is made available to meet demand from other partner countries. Regional networking creates positive stimuli and synergy, particularly in the search for good practice and in the inservice training sector.

The current locations of regional offices and focus countries are:

in Africa

  • Conakry, covering West Africa, particularly Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad
  • Addis Ababa, covering East Africa, particularly Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania
  • Cape Town, covering Southern Africa, particularly South Africa, Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique and Lesotho
  • Rabat, covering North Africa, centred on Morocco

in Asia

  • Tashkent, covering Central Asia, particularly Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uz bekistan and management of the countries in the Southern Caucasus – Arme nia, Azerbaijan and Georgia
  • Vientiane (planned), covering South and South East Asia, particularly Indonesia, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos

in Latin America

  • Mexico, covering Central America, particularly Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and in future Honduras
  • La Paz, covering South America, particularly Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay

in Europe

  • Sarajevo, covering South East Europe, particularly Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo
  • Warsaw, covering Central and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and in future Moldova
  • St. Petersburg, covering the Russian Federation

Like the entry scenarios for education discussed with the BMZ for some countries in accordance with development policy priorities and the principle of focus and partner countries, exit scenarios have been drawn up for those countries which have been supported under special headings since the 1990s (the Russian Federa tion) and/or which now have access to other channels of support since joining the EU and will tend in due course to become donor countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Baltic States, Hungary). The same applies to the more developed anchor and threshold countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which are no longer on the relevant DAC list or the new BMZ list of countries. This development may give rise to the need to relocate regional offices.

On the other hand, the selection of countries will continue to need careful con sultation, since attention needs to be given to the relatively positive finding by the BMZ that non-governmental providers (NGOs, churches and foundations) often can and should work with partners in those countries where state development coop eration is not possible. As political circumstances change, operations should also be extended to new regions that are becoming more important; one outstanding task is to expand development policy dialogue and cooperation with the MENA area: the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe. The way in which the DVV builds up operations in difficult countries, chiefly by involving partners in the work, offers excellent possibilities.

Individual activities are grouped in two thematic programmes which have important functions in supporting and strengthening a whole range of projects. These are:

  • Information and communication: Adult Education and Development, the journal for multipliers that is now the mostly widely distributed in the world; International Perspectives in Adult Education, a series of reports, materials and studies; and Internet coverage of projects, partners and activities – all in several languages
  • Initial and inservice training: a transverse programme to support academic and non-university courses through bursaries and teaching materials, includ ing the textbook series African Perspectives on Adult Learning; seminars and workshops for the exchange of professional experience; promotion of network ing and conference participation; conduct of needs analyses, evaluations and other studies.

3. Description of Activities in the Individual Regions

In addition to formal learning, later than usual acquisition of school-leaving quali fications, development of appropriate curricula and inservice training in teaching methods to meet the particular demands of adult education, the focus in developing countries is constantly on adult education as a means of satisfying basic needs. Practical training and advice for rural workers, small farmers and micro craft en terprises, often in the informal sector, are the subject of numerous projects, as is promotion of the development of community methods of working such as coopera tives and communally managed production and service groups.

Shortcomings in health and social provision in villages and urban areas are addressed through local initiatives and communal action. People learn to help themselves, and to define and defend their interests more effectively. Political education is therefore also frequently an integral part of projects run with national partners. Adult education is part of an integral development process in which learning needs overlap.

3.1 Project Activities in Developing Countries

3.1.1 Africa

In Africa, the work concentrates on three regional programmes, each with a re gional office of DVV International, from which projects in neighbouring countries can be served. Each of the projects supports a large number of initiatives and activities, but has its own particular programme emphasis. In Ethiopia, the focus is on the expansion of adult education centres in rural areas and small towns, where craft skills, agriculture and other techniques for dealing with everyday living can be learned. Initiatives monitored from Ethiopia take place largely in Uganda and Kenya.

In Guinea, too, the work focuses on promoting basic education activities which help people to improve their health, dietary and income situation by their own means. These measures are primarily directed at women. In addition, a nationwide literacy programme is being organized with financial support from the World Bank. Outside Guinea, DVV International is working with smaller projects in Mali, Chad, Senegal and other West African countries.

In South Africa, DVV International is engaged particularly in the prevention of AIDS and the care of sufferers by means of adult education. A training programme for AIDS workers has now been certificated by SAQUA, the South African accredi tation council. In order to ensure participation by the target group, preference is given to using the REFLECT method. The office in Cape Town also serves projects in Lesotho, Botswana, Angola, Madagascar and Mozambique. Besides country-specific and regional project work, DVV International also carries out a number of activities across the board, particularly in the fields of initial and continuing aca demic training for adult education specialists and in the production of an African literature series on adult education.

Collaboration with adult education centres in the countries of the Maghreb is a new field of work that is opening up. The initial steps have been made possible through the special programme European-Islamic Cultural Dialogue, supported by the German Foreign Office. A feasibility study carried out with BMZ funding has also clarified the prospects for operations in Morocco and neighbouring countries, and a start has been made on setting up a project office in Rabat.

There is a combined effort by the pan-African association PAALAE and DVV International to strengthen cooperation with member bodies and partners. Other networks such as PAMOJA and FEMNET have gained in importance, acting as shared platforms for exchanges of ideas and external action.

3.1.2 Asia

From the outset, the work of DVV International in Asia has concentrated on sup porting powerful partner organizations, particularly in the NGO sector. In the Asia-South Pacific region, the focus is on India, the Philippines and Indonesia. Smaller initiatives are also supported in Nepal and the Solomon Islands. The the matic priorities are the promotion of women’s self-help initiatives, and training for disadvantaged population groups so that they can play a part in local government, and in environmental and ecological affairs.

Particular mention should be made of support for the Asia-South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education, a regional association with approximately 200 member organiza tions in thirty countries in the region. ASPBAE not only represents the educational interests of its members at national, regional and global level, but also carries out many of its own educational initiatives with and for its members in a wide range of countries in the region. The main focus is on the thematic networking of mem bers and professional training for their leaders. A recently concluded evaluation has examined the potential of its regional operation and the gender aspect of the ASPBAE EFA programme.

Given its Soviet history, Central Asia forms a separate region, served by DVV Inter national from its office in Tashkent. The emphasis of the programmes in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is on reorganizing and revising the content of vocational continuing education, and on modern approaches to civil society education.

Through the Afghanistan Stability Pact, DVV International supports training initia tives for some NGOs in Afghanistan, using Foreign Office funding.

3.1.3 Latin America

DVV International maintains project offices in two countries, Mexico and Bolivia. The Mexican office has now taken over responsibility for planning and organization throughout the Central American sub-region, especially in Guatemala and Nicara gua, where the emphasis of the work is on promoting intercultural education and autonomous economic development models for Indian communities.

In Colombia, DVV International supports its main partner, the Foundation for Rural Community Development, in its attempt to overcome the situation of near civil war afflicting large parts of the country by using adult education at the local level. In Bolivia, the restructuring of the state adult education system, combining general and vocational education into a common form of organization, is being continued, and now covers the entire country. In Argentina, DVV International promotes an integrated development approach for the Buenos Aires region, combining ecologi cal agricultural production and marketing with health care through self-help and shared solutions to community problems and tasks. In Chile, support is given to civil society projects in the city and region of Santiago.

In Cuba, a high level of education has been achieved among the general popu lation as a result of the social model adopted. Participatory adult education that responds to people’s domestic and working environments is less well developed. A new theme in the work of DVV International in Cuba is supporting the Ministry of Education in improving disaster prevention by teaching people to be prepared in their local communities.

The education policy interests of non-governmental adult education in Latin America are represented by CEAAL, the Latin American Council for Adult Educa tion, which seeks to raise the priority given to adult education in policy agendas in Latin America.

3.2 Project Activities in Countries in Transition

In countries in transition, there is generally a higher level of formal education than in developing countries. However, this education is often inadequate and obsolete when faced with today’s challenges. Changes are also beginning to bite, undermin ing the firm basis inherited from the socialist past. The formal education system is finding it difficult to maintain its quality and accessibility. In some countries, there is a visible trend towards a split between basic provision of declining quality for the broad mass of the population, particularly in rural areas, and increasingly privately organized higher education at international level that is only available to the wealthier sections of society.

Cooperation with state and private partners is more concerned with formal train ing that responds to changing employment and labour demands than is the case in developing countries. The emphasis is on vocational training leading to formal qualifications, language learning leading to internationally recognised certificates, and training in the use of computers. The need for continuing vocational educa tion and training and retraining requires new solutions. The role of the universities as places of training and research in adult education is changing and calls for cooperation with similar institutions at European level.

The key desire among partners in countries in transition for interaction with programmes and institutions right across Europe predates the eastward expansion of the EU, and it has therefore long been a core field of operation for DVV Inter national in its cooperation with Central and Eastern European partners. Providing security for adult education and enshrining it in law is an urgent a policy task in countries in transition as it is elsewhere, and DVV International both supports the policy interests of its partners and plays a committed role on its own account at national and European level.

The work is done by several DVV International project offices. In Warsaw, which supports regional initiatives in accession countries as well as many projects in Poland itself, and in Saint Petersburg, the offices are headed by qualified local professionals. The South East Europe Stability Pact region is served by the regional office in Sarajevo. There are smaller country offices headed by local staff in Bul garia, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. The adult education systems in Slovenia and Croatia also cooperate with the regional initiatives in South East Europe, addressing education for toler ance, conflict management and the joint treatment of history, alongside vocational training, the introduction of meaningful certificates in languages and computing, and education about issues relevant to multicultural societies.

3.3 Unified Development Cooperation

The BMZ is continuing to press for greater coordination between the five govern mental development cooperation instruments in order to work more effectively towards the MDG goals, to better react to the demands of policy dialogue with partners and international organizations, and to play a greater part in multilateral development. The BMZ invites all AGS organizations to take part voluntarily in unified development cooperation. In order to build on and make best use of its capacities and services, DVV International is requested to join the scheme. However, while offering professional advantages, it may also endanger the latter’s status as a NGO.

Targeted use of skills and experience in the field of development-oriented youth and adult education is in the interest of both sides. This applies both to the large-scale involvement of all sections of the population in development, and to the strengthening of institutions and providers in this sector. Government instruments and agencies are generally poorly represented in out-of-school youth and adult education. DVV International therefore offers comparative benefits, and its involve ment should be regarded as complementary and should be exploited.

The core skills and the specialist knowledge of DVV International in youth and adult education, which are being further increased through a large number of cooperative relationships and projects, are already successfully used by the BMZ (especially under ref. 311) as well as in cooperation with other German, European and international development and specialist organizations. Networking and advice-sharing already take place:

  • The Committee on Education in Development Cooperation brings together BMZ, KFW, DED, GTZ and InWent, the Churches, VENRO, private provid ers and DVV International, and regularly discusses new approaches and projects.
  • DVV International contributes its extensive experience of global learning for young people and adults in VHS to the BMZ Advisory Committee on Develop ment Education.

Cooperation with other German, European and international organizations is often a major feature of local projects. This may range from meetings of project leaders at embassies and regular collaboration through Education Donor Groups to the joint arrangement of conferences and the use of available resources and capacities. Mutual efforts could no doubt be made in order to further expand and improve such cooperation.

The systematic involvement of DVV International in the development of regional and national plans by the BMZ would be of considerable benefit; this already hap pens in the case of various sector plans in the field of education.

A Brief Summary

The work of DVV International is unique throughout the world. Neither in Europe nor anywhere else is there a comparable specialist adult education agency using similar instruments so systematically in so many parts of the world and in so many fields to promote youth and adult education and to urge those in power to recognise their social responsibility for it. It is an expression of the international solidarity and cross-border commitment of the largest German adult education body, of the Volkshochschulen, and of their local, regional and national associations.

Bonn, 12.11.2008

Adult Education and Development


DVV International operates worldwide with more than 200 partners in over 30 countries.

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