Sherry FitzGerald were instrumental in establishing the 'Amawele' initiative
Amawele is an Irish South African schools twinning programme which links Irish schools with township schools in Cape Town, South Africa. Amawele aims to deliver a sustainable development and development education programme schools which Amawele works with. It aims to achieve a positive change in the perceptions of teachers, students and wider schools communities to issues of global justice and sustainable development using the mediums of linking and schools twinning as an effective mechanism to impart change and to encourage an understanding of the world outside of their own personal environments.
The project implements Development Education programmes in the schools which are participating in the Amawele programme and provides opportunities for entire school communities to experience global learning and a world outside of their own while encouraging them to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. The target group for the programme is primary and secondary education sectors. The programme identifies school leaders, students and educators from the schools who are involved in the Amawele programme. Amawele has established solid working relationships with 85 schools over the past seven years and these partnerships are conducive to effective project implementation. The inclusion of these target groups motivated schools to include Development Education and sustainable development as a natural components of school life and therefore increases levels of analysis, reflection and action for local and global citizenship and participation.
Amawele facilitates programmes based on the following global development and justice themes which are currently components of our Schools Programme - Millennium Development Goals, poverty and aid, trade, human rights, gender equality, environmental sustainability, health education, culture and hunger. Amawele implements programmes based on these themes and subsequently used our programmes in South Africa as core examples of indicating to students the world and its challenges in a global context. We strove to bring a focus on knowledge, ideas and understanding of the causes and consequences of global justice, poverty and sustainable development to each of our schools in the formal education sector.
We aim to emphasise the link between local and global justice and development issues through multiple methods. The most effective tool which Amawele used is school twinning and linking. We encouraged each of our schools to use the link to their twin schools in South Africa as an experience mechanism. Amawele facilitates Skype calls, mutual practical development and issue based projects between each of the schools and their twin schools. This provides the students with a visual and interactive component to their engagement with our projects whilst ensuring that the students experience issues through the eyes of their South African counterparts also. This provides students with a range of different perceptions and experiences.
Amawele places a strong emphasis on learner-centred and action-based methodologies. In our primary schools we conduct our programmes through practical methods including music, dance, puppetry, drama and practical permaculture. We encourage a significant focus on enhancing communication, intellectual and action skills through group work, discussion, competition, simulation exercises and debate which allowed the student to engage critically with development issues. We have a significant focus on visual and interactive learning which we heavily emphasise through our twinning and linking components which we believe complements our programmes, enhances the outcomes for learners and stimulates for further and longevity of engagement.
To find out how your school can get involved:
Please visit www.amawele.org