The Leicester Masaya Link Group (LMLG) co-ordinates Leicester’s official twinning link with the city of Masaya in Nicaragua. The LMLG use their expertise in international linking and sustainable development to inform and deliver global learning in schools and community groups across Leicester.
As a DEC, their focus is on using the link with Nicaragua as a ‘real world’ example and vehicle for exploring key aspects of development, using educational methodologies that promote a global outlook and encourage critical thinking about issues of global inequality, social justice and sustainable development. The LMLG is a registered charity and is regarded as an example of good practice for town-twinning, nationally and across Europe.
Here they talk about their global learning and development work.
Learning about Sustainability from Leicester’s twin-city in Nicaragua
Leicester’s official town twinning link with the city of Masaya in Nicaragua was established in 1987. Since then, the Leicester Masaya Link Group (LMLG) has been working to foster friendship and mutual understanding between the two cities, with the dual purpose of contributing to the alleviation of poverty in the Masaya region and building awareness of and engagement with related global issues in and across Leicester’s communities and schools.
In Masaya, we work in partnership with local organisations to deliver practical projects that respond to community needs and empower the people they involve, using an integrated approach that provides training and builds capacity.
In Leicester, our first-hand experience of development issues is integral to our programme of global learning and over the years we have devised and delivered a range of projects for schools, notably the Food for Thought programme, an interactive learning approach to tropical eco-systems which provides hands-on experience of life in Masaya. Global Challenges-Sustainable Solutions and the Plant to Product project offer pertinent examples of the local to global implications of the Sustainable Development Goals.
From Plant to Product – Learning about sustainability in Masaya, Leicester’s twin city in Nicaragua
In this project, inspired by the Leicester Masaya Link Group’s development work in Nicaragua, Leicester schools learn about resourcefulness and resilience from our counterparts in Masaya. Young people explore the centrality of maize to Nicaraguan life, from fresh corn on the cob to the ubiquitous ‘tortillas’ and the traditional maize and cocoa ‘pinolillo’ drink served in carved gourds, from greetings cards decorated with dyed maize husks to the medicinal uses of maize silks, they see how every part of the plant is used.
As well as handling original artefacts from Masaya, students think about how the LMLG’s projects in rural communities are making a positive contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals including access to water, clean/affordable energy, gender equality, poverty reduction and climate change mitigation. A key aspect of the project is to open a discussion about interdependence and the connections between our local lives and the global context in the 21st century.
The Global Learning Library
The LMLG also manages the Global Learning Library which comprises our own extensive collection of development education resources and Leicester City Council’s former Religion, Equalities and Diversity collection. The library contains over 27,000 items including books, artefacts and learning packs which are available for city and county schools, early years groups and voluntary organisations to borrow.
Blog by Claire Plumb – Development Worker, Leicester Masaya Link Group