Development Education in Germany
Since 1986, the educational foundation (Bildungswerk) of the Deutscher
Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB - German Trade Union Association) has made DE an
integral part of its work. Then, in 1987, the foundation formed a North-South
Network. The main objective of this Network, apart from the reinforcement
of DE within the organisation in general, was to improve coordination and
cooperation with individual trade union groups, whose activities in the
field of international solidarity had been more or less ignored by their
umbrella association, the DGB. The North-South Network produces relevant
materials, organises discussions, seminars and workshops, and sponsors
solidarity groups and projects.
The basis of the Network's activities is the realisation that trade unions in the developing world are often the most important social bodies in the fight for workers' rights.
The Kölner Aufruf (Cologne Appeal) of 1985 set the ball rolling. This petition was intended to strengthen community North-South activities and draw people into more active participation in development cooperation and the North-South discussion. In 1986, the European action campaign `Towns and Development' was started. Today,13 countries are involved in the campaign which is carried by town and city federations and NGO networks. Germany was represented on the NGO side by the Deutsche Welthungerhilfe and terre des hommes. The Deutsche Stadtetag (official alliance of communities from all German regional states) represented the community level and in the following years was to play a more active role in the attainment of the objectives mentioned above.
During the European Council's North-South Campaign in 1988, about
50 North-South fora were formed with the support of `Towns and Development';
these fora have had their own coordination bureau since 1988. Their objective
is to provide assistance for local NGOs, help with activities and to make
better use of available (political and administrative) facilities.
The strengthening of community structures in the field of development cooperation, education and awareness-building was directly linked to the formation and support of partnerships with communities in developing countries; this includes and encourages exchange on all levels, for example, administration, culture, school, adult education.
The Arbeitskreis Entwicklungspolitischer Bildungs- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
(AEBÖ - Working Group for Development Education and Information) is the
informal alliance of the PR, education and information officers
of all the larger German development aid organisations. They have been
holding regular meetings since 1978. The AEBÖ's importance as an integrational
sociopolitical body stems from the fact that it brings together representatives
of political foundations, Church welfare organisations of both confessions,
as well as independent sponsors and other independent institutions. One
of the AEBÖ's objectives is the exchange of information and internal coordination
of projects, aims and problems in the field of education and public relations.
The AEBÖ also publicises specific joint projects such as the Development
Guide. In addition to this, the body issues manuals for MP's of the
Federal Parliament (at election times) and declarations on problematic
development issues in the form of press notices or letters to government
representatives. A speaker is regularly chosen. It was decided within the
AEBÖ to hold regular meetings to discuss pedagogical issues.
Since 1988, education officers from the most important German NGOs have been meeting twice a year within the Padagogisches Werkstattgesprach (Pedagogic Workshop) to discuss, update and exchange information on developmentally relevant pedagogical affairs. Another important function of the Padagogisches Werkstattgesprach is lobbying: depending on events, the body writes or commissions assessments, demands or commentaries that are agreed upon by all members. On several occasions in the past, it has worked as a voting panel. In this way, it formulated the demand for an information and coordination office for teachers (`Schulstelle') for the federal state of Northrhine Westphalia, directed this demand to the relevant Ministries and worked out a concept for this coordination office, with the result that the Northrhine Westphalian teacher training institute is to receive this office in 1994.
There is a specific department of the BMZ which is responsible for surveying
DE in Germany and providing funding applied for by NG Os for materials
and activities (not to be confused with the BMZ public relations department
which has the task of publicising and explaining government development
policies). This department sought to work more closely with NGOs and experts
on contemporary issues in the field and allowed itself to be advised by
them. In the late 70s and early 80s, just as the hopes of the Third World
movement were disappointed, and revolutions around the world failed, the
`Third World film' was in a state of crisis. Filmwork representing the
interests of the developing world experienced a backward trend, returning
to the perspective of pity and concentrating on misery, with appeals for
donations as a parting shot.
At this point, mention should be made of the spectacular `Day for Africa' in 1985, on the occasion of which the major NGOs used all the means and the media at their disposal in order to show how desperate the situation was in many African countries and encouraged millions of Germans to donate for the continent's starving people. The awesome media extravaganza prompted many to reconsider the purpose and the methods of educational work and awareness building in the field.