Development Education in Luxembourg

Development Education

Development Education in Luxembourg

In Luxembourg, Development Education (DE) has only gained recognition as an essential part of NGO work since 1990, when the Ministry of Cooperation decided to co-finance awareness-raising projects in addition to development projects presented by NGOs. However, awareness-raising of Third World problems has not yet been recognised through State co-financing law. Therefore, DE is still not much in evidence in Luxembourg and is often only one element among others in a development project. Of about 70 NGOs working in the Grand Duchy, only a few are actively involved in DE, apart from providing information for fundraising.

Nevertheless, the success of campaigns and projects to raise awareness in the Luxembourgan population shows that there exists a real need for information on Third World problems, and that Luxembourgan people are mire open to North-South issues than we might think. Especially in the formal school sector, DE has enjoyed a considerable expansion during recent years, whereas there are still few local and national awareness-raising campaigns.

That the Grand Duchy is behind in DE can. be explained mainly by the State co-financing criteria, which are not very encouraging. Whether DE is supported or not depends on the decision-making of politicians. Consequently, the realisation of campaigns on this issue depends, even more strongly than for development projects, on NGOs' financial situations and on their structures. Development aid often makes it necessary to set up permanent follow-up procedures, which is not easy when working solely with volunteers. So, it is not surprising that the NGOs working in this field are mainly those NGOs which have some salaried employees. resulting in less than ten operating like this in Luxembourg.

Among existing structures are a Third World information centre, a cultural agency and a magazine dedicated to information on North-South relations: Brennpunkt Drett Welt (Focus on the Third World). The Ministry of National Education has seconded some teachers, at the rate of several hours a week, to develop activities dealing with the Third World within the Youth National Service.

Since 1987, Luxembourg has delegated one representative to the Development Education Working Group of the EC-NGO network in Brussels. There had been some awareness-raising work in Luxembourg before this date (for example the magazine quoted above has been existing for 20 years) but these new contacts on the European scale contributed widely to raising awareness of DE within Luxembourgan NGOs themselves.

A revision of the co-financing legal situation, which is currently under discussion, is imperative so that development aid finds its right place within NGO work. It is clear that such a revision would not be a mere administrative formality, but a political decision; to increase the standing of DE amounts to recognising the need of the population for awareness and information on inequalities between the North and the South, as well as on the causes of these inequalities. This approach is quite different from financial support reserved for development projects which, generous as it may be, is undoubtedly tinged with some paternalism.
As DE has been recognised for only a few years, the number of projects realised or under way is limited. The three following Case Studies have been selected because of their scale and because of their level of conception and planning. The first is a primary school project, the second a partnership between two local communities and the third a national awareness-raising campaign.

NGDO-EC Liaison Committee: Development Education Group