In 2017 our work has stretched more globally than ever before, working with partners in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Our focus this year has been developing our Indonesian office and building up our global connections, sending more of our members around the world. Our Indonesian members travelled to Germany, FYR-Macedonia, Bulgaria, Nepal, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia and India. From Our UK operation we delivered one project this year in Malta and supported an ongoing consultancy project in Malawi and Mozambique.
Our year started with a project that had continued from 2016 and was led by our FYR-Macedonian partners. (i)migration was a two year project that brought partners from Bulgaria, Germany, FYR-Macedonia and Indonesia together to look at the issues migrants face when entering to new countries. Inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis our European partners in Bulgaria and FYR-Macedonia found that their countries were undergoing massive changes to boarder management when thousands of political refuges started turning up on their doorstep. Collaborating with Germany and Indonesia the project worked towards developing an online platform and publication to support youth organisations working with such displaced people.
In Indonesia our reality is slightly different, although Indonesia has seen an increase in refuges coming from Myanmar, the main issue for the country is young people leaving the country. Young people are migrating to work in areas such as the gulf and other nearby countries like Singapore and Malaysia. The common work for Indonesian migrants is as labourers and domestic house workers. Many cases had been identified were Indonesian workers had found themselves in situations of bonded labour (slave labour) or victims of sexual or physical abuse. Our publication has been distributed to organisations in an effort to share information about these dangers, identify organisations that support victims or those who could be at risk.
Based on the success of this project our Bulgarian partners have successfully applied for additional funding to create another project in this area, this time working with Estonia, Spain, Germany, Kenya and the Dominican Republic, of which two of our volunteers when to Spain in December of this year to learn more. Read their blog here.
The (i)migration project launched the publication at a seminar in Bali which was supported by Udayana university (See publication here). At the seminar academics and national NGO’s shared the realities for migrant workers leaving Indonesia with example case studies and academic research in the area. The seminar was also attended by students from Udayana university who participated in discussion groups with the international participants from the project and local experts.
The final evaluation of the project took place in FYR-Macedonia where we assessed the positive impacts of the project. A few month later were were catching up with partners from Germany and Bulgaria again, this time in Bulgaria for the launch of a new project that would look at the same topic, but this time with partners from Spain, Estonia, Kenya and the Dominican Republic. After agreeing the work plan we decided that the first activity will take place in the Dominican Republic in March of 2018.
Another successful partnership began with partners from Slovenia in a project that looked at entrepreneurial solutions to tackling environmental issues. The project was launched in Portugal in 2016 and was attended by our Indonesian Director Aini and other leaders of representative organisations engaged in the project. This project involved Portugal, Slovenia, Ghana, Argentina, Nepal and Indonesia. After agreeing the work programme in Portugal the first activity was a training course in Slovenia attended by three of our active volunteers from Indonesia.This Training Course is aimed to increase competencies of youth workers/leaders/youth entrepreneurs/ in green benefits from innovative ideas such as green job opportunities and how to translate into action “green entrepreneurship concept”.
The next stage of the project was a youth exchange in Bali bringing together four participants from each country. As well as allowing the participants to explore and understand the local culture, there were a number of events that allowed us to learn more about where all the participants were coming from. Being a truly global project engaging four continents the intercultural learning was massive and appreciated by all.
The next stage in the project was a study visit to Nepal. Indonesia sent two participants who learned about some of the creative entrepreneurial work from inspiring social actors in the country. One example was a company that was making toys for children and another was a local recycling centre. Additionally each country gave a presentation and shared case studies about social entrepreneurs from their country.
A large percentage of our year was spent in Africa working with the international NGO VSO (Volunteer Services Overseas). Working in Malawi and Mozambique Act Global supported VSO’s business development department in securing funding for some of their flagship programmes in Southern Africa.
In Malawi the main initiative was called Unlocking Talent, an educational project that brought technology into the classroom (see link). One of Malawi’s greatest issues is high-class sizes, in one class a teacher can be required to support over two-hundred pupils, making it almost impossible for teachers to monitor and observe if pupils are achieving the minimum standards in numeracy and literacy. Partnering with UK based non-profit software organisation onebillion, an initiative was created using teaching application that works on tablets and gives pupils a one-2-one learning experience. Operating in the local language of Chewa the application simulates games and activities that teach and test the numeracy and literacy, these test scores where then sent in real time to the ministry of education to assess children’s scores in real time. Working with various funding partners and the national ministry for education Act Global supported the business development team to maintain and grow funding streams for its development.
In Mozambique Act Global supported a research activity to explore how to make education more accessible and inclusive in some of the most vulnerable parts of the country. Mozambique is right at the bottom of poles on human development, and additional to poverty the country has suffered greatly in a long drawn out bloody civil war. VSO Mozambique is one of the few international NGO’s working in central Mozambique in the province of Chimoio. Chimoio is still one of the provinces under the stronghold of Renamo, Mozambique’s national resistance, a military organisation in direct conflict with the ruling government. Schools are still under the control of the national government, and as the area is still controlled by the national resistance Renamo, International organisations are reluctant to get involved. VSO was taking the brave choice to continue to support schools in the region, but with multiple issues from illiterate teachers, sex for grades scandals and abject poverty, researching exactly which area to support was a mind field. Working with local and international researchers, Act Global supported a base study to identify where VSO could make an impact. Concluding in a seminar with local and national stakeholders to share the studies findings, the conclusion was to support the development of teacher training projects that aims in engaging more girls into education.
Our final activity for the year was an evaluation seminar in Malta related to the training course we did the following year about coaching (See blog). Tools for coaching engaged participants from Spain, Netherlands, Estonia, Malta, FYR-Macedonia, Romania, Greece and the UK. The final seminar brought together representatives of each organisation to look at how effective the training had been for the participants, and how they were utilising such pedagogical approaches in their practices. All felt the training to be beneficial and wanted to continue to spread the practice among its networks. As well as giving a chance for the partners to network the event created a meeting with representatives from the Maltese national agency to discuss the future of the Erasmus + programme and other future initiatives.