Promoting Community-based Education for Sustainable Development

Promoting Community-based Education for Sustainable Development

Community is a vital platform for collective action for sustainability. The type of social learning that occurs in communities can lead to a cultural shift, changing people’s behaviours and mindsets towards a more sustainable path. In this regard, education can bring entire communities together to act for their own sustainability and for the sustainability of the world.

This is what a number of communities are learning to do under UNESCO Bangkok’s ‘Promoting Community-based ESD’ project. By going through a process of reflection, sharing, and action, these communities are examining their local practices, identifying the relevant issues and possible alternatives, and sharing their understandings for further collaborative action. As a result, these communities are empowered to build a sustainable future for themselves and their fellow community members.

In 2018, UNESCO Bangkok launched this project with the financial support of the Government of Japan. A conceptual framework and learning modules for this process were developed and piloted in five countries in the region: India, Japan, Lao PDR, Mongolia, and Philippines.

Project partners

  • UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)
  • Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU)
  • Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)
  • Centre for Environment Education (CEE)
  • RMIT School of Global, Urban and Social Studies
  • DVV International South-East Asia Regional Office

Project activities

The organizations leading the pilot projects are:

  • Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU), Japan
  • Centre for Environment Education (CEE) South Regional Office, India
  • National Centre for Lifelong Education (NCLE), Mongolia
  • Non-formal Education Development Centre (NFEDC), Lao PDR
  • University of San Jose - Recoletos (USJ-R), Philippines

These five pilot implementation partners are tasked to design and deliver a capacity-building process adapting the framework and its accompanying modules with at least 15 community and non-formal educators. These educators would then go on to share what they’ve learned with other educators and residents in their own local communities. In turn, the insights gained from the pilot experiences continuously update and enhance the framework and the modules.

The pilots are currently being implemented with the following communities in each country:

⮞  India

CEE South is conducting the pilot in the southern state of Karnataka with a variety of partners including, tribal communities, local government, youth and women’s groups, NGOs, and higher education institutions.

⮞  Japan

ACCU is leading the pilot with community learning centres under the authority of the local government, or ‘Kominkan’ in Japanese, in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

⮞  Lao PDR

NFEDC implements the pilot in Hom and Simmano villages in Vientiane with village heads, farmers, schoolteachers, and community members.

⮞  Mongolia

NCLE provides capacity-building activities for the teachers and staff of lifelong education centres nationwide.

⮞  Philippines

USJ-R works with several higher education institutions in the Visayas region to train the universities’ community extension workers who regularly support and closely collaborate with the surrounding local communities.


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