GLOBAL: "2016 Year end greetings from the IFWEA General Secretary"
'We are approaching the final weeks of 2016. It has been a busy and productive year, with an expanded programme of activities and a concomitant expansion in budget, thanks to increased support from the Olaf Palme Centre of Sweden to our core programme. This enabled us to appoint Saliem Patel as IFWEA programme manager in February this year, joining me, my assistant Shariefa Ebrahim and IFWEA communications co-ordinator Erna Curry on the Secretariat staff. Saliem is no stranger to IFWEA, having been the African regional co-ordinator of our Global Network project with SOLIDAR for several years until it ended in 2013. The increase in staff meant that our tiny office could no longer contain us. We are now sharing a larger open plan office space with our hosts, the Labor Research Service. Morale is high at the Secretariat. We all feel a sense of accomplishment at having laid a solid foundation for the first year of our four year strategic plan.' ▶️ click on the title above to read the entire report
'In my report to the 22nd Global Conference in Lima, Peru a year ago, I outlined the four pillars which would sustain a healthy IFWEA. These are:
• A common purpose;
• A common strategy;
• Investing in our affiliates by improving their resource provision to their members and beneficiaries;
• Investment by our affiliates in improving IFWEA’s resource capacity.
In 2016 the IFWEA Executive Committee addressed the strengthening of these four pillars and set up the programme we believe will deliver this. Our intent is to focus on expanding the core activities which both develops our network of existing affiliates and attracts more organisations to increase our membership base.
A COMMON PURPOSE
The purpose of IFWEA as reflected in its constitution is:
“To promote and advance the education of the public with respect to the democratic labour movement; and to promote the carrying out of free and voluntary educational work, according to the principles of solidarity and cooperation, justice and equality, and democracy and freedom.”
The above principles spell out our unifying values and have particular resonance in today’s polarised reality. This statement of intent tasks all IFWEA worker educators with ensuring that every aspect of our education should be grounded in these values. For IFWEA affiliates, worker education has as its objective the building of a consciously democratic labour movement, of which we are an integral part.
Our purpose frames our approach, viz. that the political power and influence required to achieve changes positive to all workers can only be attained through education based on an agreed, universal set of values. Although we do our work under the banner of “worker” education, we are aware that these values do not, in and of themselves, emerge automatically through organisation at the workplace alone. An educational intervention is necessary.
The need for intervention is compounded by three decades of profound labour market change. Survivalist economic activity and deregulation is shifting responsibility for income, benefits and conditions on to the individual worker in ever increasing numbers and multiplying the striation of the workforce. Still, we remain convinced that trade unions have the locational potential to overcome these difficulties, if equipped with a clearly articulated vision which refuses to accept anything less than solidarity and egalitarianism in fighting unfair differentiation.
We also maintain, as we did in the 1993 IFWEA Charter, that the awakening and development of the individual learner is integral to worker education. Only education which respects the integrity of the individual human being and the individual person's distinctive character will at the same time develop the required sense of human solidarity and cooperation.
Our vision is world where all working people have access to lifelong learning opportunities which enable them to claim and exercise their inalienable democratic rights, responsibilities and freedoms as global citizens. We have set ourselves the task of building a Global Knowledge Community based on these principles. We feel that we are uniquely placed to do so. 21st Century labour internationalism requires the building of relationships inclusively and comprehensively, from the top leadership down and from the ground up, in order to construct a solid foundation for collective power and action. As worker educators our historic mission has been to provide the knowledge base which develops and constructs these relationships. This has been done in the past. Our strategic task is to establish how it can be done in the future.
A COMMON STRATEGY
Strengthening IFWEA organisationally and improving the networking and collaboration between our member organisations.
This year we welcomed five additional affiliate organisations:
We have already begun working with our new members, and look forward to linking them to other IFWEA affiliates and including all of them in our work in 2017.
We also expanded and revised our flagship leadership development programme, the Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP). YGAP 2016 brought 24 participants from 10 affiliates in 12 countries together in Cape Town, for an intensive two week programme of discussion, exposure internships and skills development on pedagogic methods. To view the messages from this year’s YGAP participants, go to IFWEA’s You Tube site www.youtube.com/IFWEA.
We will begin recruiting new participants to YGAP 2017 in the first quarter of the year, and will circulate the programme in our first e-bulletin of the year. IFWEA encourages those organisations who are interested in participating to contact the secretariat at email@example.com. The 2016 YGAP course curriculum can be viewed on the Online Labor Academy of IFWEA www.ifweaonline.org
Increasing the educational and research capacity and services of our affiliates
In 2016 the Secretariat upgraded the Online Labor Academy (OLA) moodle platform, so that it has additional interactive features, a user friendly design and is appropriate for use on mobile phones. We assisted six young educators from IFWEA affiliates in Latin America, Asia and Africa to attend YGAP and develop their pedagogic and the design and delivery of online courses.
Programme Manager Saliem Patel initiated the Foundation Skills for Social Change Programme in 2016. The programme consists of a range of courses, discussed and endorsed by several IFWEA educators, established on OLA which can be accessed and used by IFWEA affiliates to service their target groups from 2017 onwards. The courses can be run online or in face to face workshops by affiliates through their educators accessing courses on OLA.
On completing all the activities of a course participants will be eligible for an IFWEA certificate which validates the learning achievement of the participants and their contribution to building the IFWEA global knowledge community. I encourage all affiliates who are interested in participating in the programme and have not yet been contacted to write directly to Saliem at Saliem@lrs.org.za
In 2017 we will also launch the ‘Making your Mark’ activity on voter education for young grassroots trade union and community leaders, which will form one module of the IFWEA Certificated Foundation Skills for Social Change Course. An online course on action oriented research methodology for worker educators which can tracks the impact of their education will form a second course module of the IFWEA Certificated Foundation Skills for Social Change Course. If your organization is interested in this activity, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The IFWEA South African Study Circles for Social Change project offers an informal, interactive way to learn about and discuss a variety of issues. From grassroots organising to re-imagining gender roles to overcome the restrictions of stereo-typing, the study circles participants engage around topics which are important to them. IFWEA offers study circle tutor-mentoring and resources for circle meetings. 12 study circles were completed in 2016 .The project has generated lessons that can be promoted on a global scale and has been included in the strategic plan where study circle programmes and experiences can be shared through OLA. This process will begin in 2017.
Providing resources online which builds knowledge and capacity within the global labour movement.
IFWEA communication co-ordinator, Erna Curry, maintains IFWEA’s channels communication. These are:
The IFWEA Website www.ifwea.org
The IFWEA You Tube (video) https://www.youtube.com/IFWEA
and Soundcloud (audio / podcasts) www.soundcloud.com/ifwea
The Online Labour Academy (OLA) www.ifweaonline.org – our educational platform.
The Secretariat also produces a quarterly e-bulletin, covering recent activities of the Secretariat and affiliates. In 2017 we will redesign the IFWEA website using WordPress, so that it is easier to use and can also serve as a resource platform for worker educators. We appeal to affiliates to contact Erna to provide her with electronic copies or web-links of the resources you develop and news of your activities at email@example.com. Affiliates will be able to access social media channels and labour news sites through the new website. The website will retain the closed sections for official executive committee and affiliate documents and communication.
Investment by our affiliates in improving IFWEA’s resource capacity.
The IFWEA Executive Committee (EC) represents the most active of IFWEA affiliates. The EC met twice in 2016, on 29 – 30th May in Gothenburg, when it discussed and adopted the 2016 operational plan and budget and in Sweden and on 14 – 15th November in Cape Town,
Support for the Secretariat comes in many forms and continuous contributions. To all the IFWEA organisations who paid their affiliation fees; put forward their leaders to participate on the Executive Committee; contributed to the Secretariat directly through solidarity fee contributions; through strategic advice and dialogue; through fundraising for our project work; through information dissemination; through project activities of the Online Labour Academy, the Foundation Skills for Social Change programme; the South African Study Circles for Social Change Project and our flagship – the Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme, I thank you.
With your sterling contributions as our resource, we make our Global Knowledge Community a reality. On behalf of the Executive Committee and the staff of the Secretariat, I wish you well over the year-end festivities and look forward to renewed activity in 2017.'
14 December 2016.