Rebecca Sharkey, Think Global’s Membership and Public Affairs Manager reports on her recent visit to our partners at the Development Education Centres in Leicester and Derby.
As part of Think Global’s new collaborative and outward-looking approach, we are particularly keen to strengthen our connection with the regional Development Education Centres (DECs) which deliver global learning programmes across the country. It’s great to have the opportunity to leave my desk in London and see for myself what our partners are doing ‘on the ground’, and gain a better understanding of their work and the challenges they face. So I was pleased to join our CEO Jess McQuail in Leicester to meet colleagues from our partner organisations from both Leicester and Derby.
The city of Leicester is officially twinned with the city of Masaya in Nicaragua (Central America), and it is this link which is at the core of what the Development Education Centre in Leicester does. Called the Leicester Masaya Link Group and coordinated by Claire Plumb, the group works in partnership with local organisations in Masaya to facilitate practical projects that promote sustainable development and empower the people they involved.
Back home in Leicester, the focus is on providing development education and global awareness raising across all sectors of the community, by organising exchange visits, cultural activities, projects in schools, speaker meetings and other public events. One inspirational project run by Leicester Masaya Link Group is ‘Food for Thought’, an interactive learning approach to tropical eco-systems which provides hands-on experience of life in Masaya to Leicester school children.
Yvonne Luce joined us in Leicester to discuss her work at Global Education Derby (GED), which runs a range of projects providing opportunities for teachers, youth workers and young people to get actively involved in exploring all aspects of global citizenship. In a county affected negatively both by far-right groups and Islamic extremism, Yvonne explained that projects such as GED’s Derby Schools Linking Programme have particular resonance in tackling negative stereotyping and contributing to improved cohesion. Participants in the programme gain self-esteem and a sense of place and belonging, while having a global learning context produces greater awareness of the wider world and provides opportunities to discuss identity, diversity, community and equality.
It was brilliant to meet two global learning practitioners who are so expert and enthusiastic about their work, and to learn more about their inspirational projects which so successfully engage thousands of people in the East Midlands in major global issues.
By Rebecca Sharkey, Membership and Public Affairs Manager at Think Global.