DVV Chairman of the Board Martin Rabanus and Board Member Arne Zielinski on a delegation trip to East Africa

“I am convinced that there is a very important contribution being made toward sustainable development and for the people”, said Martin Rabanus after his delegation trip to East Africa.

Martin Rabanus in conversation with learners on literacy courses at a Ugandan Community Learning Centre

“I am convinced that there is a very important contribution being made toward sustainable development and for the people”, said Martin Rabanus after his delegation trip to East Africa. From 14-19 April, the Chairman of the Board of DVV (Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband, the German Adult Education Association) and Arne Zielinski, Board Member and Chairman of the DVV International Curatorium, visited the foreign offices of DVV in Ethiopia and Uganda in order to gain a better perspective on the work done there.

DVV International, the Institute for International Cooperation of DVV, has been engaged within its partner countries Ethiopia and Uganda for many years so as to establish functioning sustainable structures for adult education. This has been done within the framework of what is known as social structure support sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The delegation was accompanied by Uwe Gartenschlaeger, Director of DVV International, and Frauke Heinze, Regional Director for East Africa. The delegation met with, among others, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in Uganda, the Ministry of Education in Ethiopia as well as the German ambassadors in both countries. The programme included visits in both countries to Community Learning Centres (CLCs), which were established with the help and support of DVV International. In addition, the delegation took part in a conference marking the 30th anniversary of the start of project work in Ethiopia. The conference was simultaneously a farewell conference because DVV International will terminate its work in the country in the summer of 2024.

Praise for the work of DVV International

Martin Rabanus, at the end of his trip, praised the contribution of the institute toward sustainable development in its partner countries: “Our over 100 years of experience with adult education in Germany serves the DVV and its institute for international cooperation, DVV International, very well globally in the help it provides for structures of adult education. I was able to see that with my own eyes in Ethiopia and I am convinced that there is a very important contribution being made toward sustainable development and for the people. DVV International is the only institute active globally that does this in the realm of adult education. As Chairman of DVV, I am very proud of my international institute, and from this profound conviction will champion its work.”

Arne Zielinski summarised the meaning of this work at its various levels. “The visit to the foreign offices in Uganda and Ethiopia was a very special experience. It became very clear to me that the three-level approach of DVV International is based on a strategy of long-term effectiveness. The success of this approach is excellently mirrored in the local community learning centres. The establishment and the stabilisation of adult education structures is one of the central tasks of DVV International, and to have had a close look at this work on the ground was a priceless experience.”

DVV International – in East Africa and the world

As the leading professional organisation in the realm of adult education and development cooperation for the past 50 years, DVV International has been supporting the establishment and sustainable development of youth and adult education structures in its partner countries worldwide. In order to do this, it works on different levels: at the national level it carries out lobby work and advises governments; at the organisational level it strengthens the competence of local education providers; and at the micro level it develops and supports innovative educational offers for adults.

Although the challenges posed in the sector continue to be daunting, DVV International has been able to score a number of successes in its East Africa partner countries in the past few years. In Ethiopia, along with the Ministry of Education, DVV International was able to develop the IFAE – Integrated Functional Adult Education – approach. This approach combines literacy with other areas such as health, farming and the environment, and has in the meanwhile been introduced into many regions. In Uganda, the first ever National Non-formal Adult Learning and Community Education Strategy for the country was launched in 2023 with the help of DVV International.

More information on the work of DVV International in East Africa can be found on the regional website

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

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