One World in Schools Programme Debuts in Angola 📽️Published: Jan 25, 2022 Reading time: 4 minutes
“I plan to create activities that are small at first, but that in time will have a meaning for those who need it most, like planting trees in my community or donating clothes and food.”
“I’ll try to be more active in social projects, and always defend the rights of my community, helping to solve its problems.”
“I think that if we become a more united community, we’ll be able to fight the problems that hinder our development.”
These are quotes from students who took part in one of the first One World in Schools (OWIS) film sessions held in Huíla province, Angola, before the school break. After watching a documentary and debating topics related to community engagement, they answered a questionnaire asking, among other things, what they plan to do for the development of their communities.
Using films, discussions, and learning activities, OWIS has been fostering important conversations in schools in the Czech Republic since 2001. It’s the first time that the People in Need (PIN) education programme is being implemented in an African country.
In Angola, OWIS is part of Youth4Change, a project funded by the European Union and implemented in partnership with AJOMA. The objective is to empower young people to become active citizens and contribute to the development of policies that most affect Angolan youth. The initiative also aims to enhance the capacity and engagement of young people and youth civil society organisations (CSOs) in the democratic process to support development and poverty reduction.
Paulo César is the executive secretary of AJOMA, and has led movie sessions with students living in the municipality of Lubango (Huíla). He organises reflection and debates on topics such as civic participation, good governance, and climate change. “The biggest challenge is to involve students in the debate, because sometimes they don’t want to open up when it comes to social issues,” he says. “We try to demystify the various topics, so that the students can increase their knowledge.”
Within the schools selected by the programme, teachers have been trained to facilitate film sessions. Their involvement is key for the sustainability and replication of the project. Expectations are high, as noted by Isaías Jesus Sakanhe, one of the educators who has been participating in OWIS activities and working with students as they develop projects for communities in Lubango.
“One group of students has this idea of running a campaign to plant trees in an area of the municipality that has been greatly affected by deforestation. Another group has a project on sexual education through awareness-raising talks with young women,” Sakanhe says. “There are also ideas aiming to sensitise people to vaccination, the wearing of masks [against COVID-19], and also to donate masks, because many people cannot afford them.”
“The best part of it is that all of those are not my ideas, but initiatives presented by the students. They are the ones who generate knowledge and solutions when they have the opportunity to demonstrate their potential,” Sakanhe adds. “As an educator, I like how easy it is to apply OWIS methodology, and how realistic it is, since it can be applied to students’ living context.”
Youth as agents of change
In addition to Huíla, OWIS is expected to be piloted in Bié province. In total, six public and private schools, including two universities, have been selected to show documentary movies to students. Forty teachers are being trained to conduct the lessons, which use methodological materials adapted for the local context.
Youth4Change is also supporting youth CSOs with training sessions, mentorship, and small grants directed to activities focused on youth awareness-raising, mobilisation, and civic engagement. Furthermore, the project facilitates meetings bringing together members of the CSOs with representatives of public institutions, the private sector, and academia to discuss youth needs and priorities.
As a result, young people and youth CSOs will be gradually equipped to become agents of change. “I plan to care more about my community, and not leave all problems to the government to solve, because we are capable of it, we just need to believe,” says another student who attended an OWIS session.