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Development Requires Education

Education and development are inextricably linked. This demands development policy commitment in Germany as well as equal educational opportunities in the Global South.

Education Promotes Sustainable Development

Education is the prerequisite for sustainable development, both on the ground in developing countries and in Germany. The goal must be to make people aware of the complexity of global action and to critically question their own perspectives. People of the southern lands are in fundamental need of more schools and more teachers in order to reduce illiteracy rates, and more vocational training in order to be able to work profitably.

„We are changing the global rules of the game to create a just and sustainable world for all.“

Dorina Diesing, member of the youth committee of Brot für die Welt Youth

The Vicious Circle of Poverty and Lack of Education

Almost 800 million people worldwide, around two-thirds of whom are women, can neither read nor write. They are often dissuaded from attending school for religious or economic reasons, because they have to contribute to their family livelihood. For this and other reasons, more than 50 million school-age children do not attend school. Of those who do start school, around one quarter drop out early. Since there are too few schools, the children often have to travel long distances.

There is also a lack of well-trained teachers and appropriate learning materials. In addition, many parents cannot afford the tuition fees. Often they were not able to attend school themselves as children, and so closes the vicious circle of poverty, lack of education and the resulting continued poverty.

The North Disregards Global Interdependencies

The globalised world has reinforced the mutual relationships between the North and South, but many decision-makers in politics, business and the Church still ignore the complex interconnections. This is also true in everyday life. But those who fail to consider the consequences of their own actions create a multitude of problems in countries of the Global South, from precarious working conditions to environmental violations through to debt crises, which drive entire regions of the world into ruin and with them the people who live there.

Education for All

Above all, disadvantaged groups in rural and impoverished urban areas need targeted support in order to catch up with the social strides of the urban elites. It helps if they can demand the right to education through lobbyists who are well-versed in law and can give these groups a voice.

Development-oriented Education in Germany

In Germany, the task of development-related educational work is to make people aware of the complexities of global action and to reflect on their own positions. After all, we cannot foresee all the consequences of our own behaviour. Those who confront these issues at an early age can later take a clearer position on development policy issues and focus more strongly on global injustices.

Organisations such as Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) promote development policy measures, conduct seminars and offer instructional material. This is not so much about the acquisition of specialist knowledge, but rather about developing skills on the basis of a considered value system. It is about becoming aware of one's own values, positions and goals, critically questioning information and developing one's own approaches to solving problems, arguing with those who think differently while remaining capable of dialogue, and dealing with the complexity and uncertainty of unresolved situations.

What Brot für die Welt Does

We support numerous educational and training projects in the countries of the Global South. We concentrate on rural regions and urban areas with disadvantaged populations, where the need is especially great. We buttress these educational projects with other measures such as school meals, vouchers for school materials and micro-credits for parents so that they can become self-employed, relieving the children of the obligation to contribute to the household income. We also help ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged communities to assert their right to education and thus hold their national governments to account.

In Germany, we support church congregations, development-oriented associations, initiatives, fair trade shops and educational institutions in empowering people to intervene, to point out injustices and to take responsibility. To this end, we network with environmental protection organisations, among others, and offer continuing education and educational material.

With grants in Germany, we also support the further training of the staff of our partner organisations in the Global South and the academic studies of young people. Our volunteer programme enables young people from Germany to gain experience with the partner associations of Brot für die Welt. In turn, volunteers from the Global South can also work in Germany for one year.