Development Education in Spain

Development Education

Historical Background: Social and Political Context

In the earlier years, Cooperation work was performed by organisations such as Caritas Spain (founded in 1942), Mission and Development (later called Intermon), and Manos Unidas (which emerged in the 50s). This first step was characterised by its intentions - assistance and evangelism. Both aspects played an important role at the time, but have been surpassed today.

In the 60s, two different types of entity joined the scenario and changed the tendency followed until then. On the one side the lay organisations, and on the other the professional ones. Spain did not experience the vast growth in NGO activity during the late 60s and 70s that had such a profound effect on society in other parts of Europe. This was to come after the end of the Franco regime and mainly in the 80s. The increase in the number of NGDOs was slow during the 60s, possibly due to the particular nature of the Spanish political process at that time.

In l980, the 10 existing NGDOs founded the Coordinadora, the Spanish NGDO's coordinating body. At present, there are 71 members of the Coordinadora and, in addition, there are many local NGDOs and their coordinating bodies covering specific regions of Spain (eg Catalonia, Basque country, Andalucia, Castilla- León, etc.)

The sociopolitical change experienced in Spain in the 80s meant a re-start for any type of civil grouping. It must also be taken into consideration that internal change coincided with dedication to the external task of establishing ties of world interdependence at a political, economic and social level. It was this climate of change that enabled the founding of 19 new NGDOs between 1980 and 1985.

The structural changes at national level markedly consolidated the NGDOs' financial base. There was an increase in the level of awareness of the Spanish people about solidarity with the South and an increase in the interest for Development Cooperation (in terms of the amount of volunteers, the collaboration and interest of the mass media, etc.) There was, also, a notable increase in the level of awareness of regional and local authorities in the importance of Cooperation.

Other important changes were the foundation of the Secretariat of State for International Cooperation and for Latin America (SECIPI) and the integration of Spain into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1986. As a result, national budgets were created for the co-financing of projects carried out by NGDOs. The potential offered to NGDOs by these changes. accelerated the legal registration of organisations: 29 new organisations were founded between 1986 and 1990.

By entering the EEC, Spain opened a door for NGDOs. The opportunity to access supplementary resources meant that, from 1988 to 1989, NGDO participation in the EC co-financing provision considerably increased: from 3 million to 6 million EC Us. 13% ofthis amount was devoted to DE projects. In spite of this important progress, Spanish NGDOs are still short of their potential level when considering the total volume ofthe various financing possibilities provided by the EC and, also, the volume of the flow of funds to NGDOs in other European countries.

In addition, Spain is far from the target figure of 0.7% of GNP to be allocated to International Cooperation. In 1992, the amount was 0.23% and in 1993, 0.24%. It is notable that some of the regional governments or city councils are closer to 0.7% of their total budgets being spent on International Cooperation.

From the DE point of view, there is a substantial difference between Northern and Southern European NGDOs, in the sense that there are decades of experience, resource production and institutional support for DE in the North, whereas it is little known in Spain.

The fast growth ofthe organisational process in Spain is taking place at the same time as a surge of new sponsors or social sectors, which will finance and support NGDOs; such as Trade Unions, Youth Associations, Professional Schools and others. They are joining the scene in the same way that the Church and other religious orders did in the 50s.

Since 1990, this preliminary work has been consolidated, demonstrably in the quality of SECIPI support and cooperation with the NGDOs and in an `agreement' signed by AECI (the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation) with the Coordinadora. The agreement is considered to be effective in the sense of mutual coordination, understanding and sharing of experiences. At the end of 1989, an `NGDO Service' was put into operation, which aims to evaluate the development cooperation projects.

NGDO-EC Liaison Committee: Development Education Group