Education Programmes Report - December 2018

The IFWEA education programme develops the capacity of educators in affiliated labour education associations, trade unions and partner organisations to improve the education they deliver to their constituencies through sharing their experience and knowledge. Our education programme has three components:

a.       Foundation Skills for Social Change Certificate Courses,

b.      Study Circles for Social Change

c.       Online Workers Education

During 2018 IFWEA worked with educators from over 40 organisations to develop curriculum, pedagogy and materials to enhance the education of grassroots leaders of trade unions and community based organisations and develop strategies to make education accessible, relevant and useful to them. We have also trained educators to use our online learning platform – the Online Labour Academy (OLA).

The Foundation Skills for Social Change Certificate Courses assist our affiliates to share or jointly design and run courses for grassroots leaders to take on new challenges and priorities facing the labour movement. These courses have been piloted by different affiliates to test curricula, methodologies and materials for educating grassroots leaders.

In 2018, 3 new Foundation Skills for Social Change courses were designed and piloted with trade unions, informal economy associations and community based organisations.:

1. Using Theatre Forums For Social Change,

2. Using Music & Dance Clubs for Social Change,

3. Using Film Clubs for Social Change.

Affiliates also started working on three courses for grassroots union leaders:

Grievance Handling (UNI Africa – unions in 6 African countries),

Violence and Harassment in the Workplace (ZCIEA in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda) and

Trade Union Management and Administration Skills (CENAC in Bolivia and INAESIN in Venezuela).

Two courses, developed last year, were successfully run again involving two or more affiliates.

The course on Women’s Leadership was run by SEWA in cooperation with ISD and IDEA for grassroots leaders of informal economy associations in India, Sri Lanka and  Cambodia to build confidence, improve skills and deepen our understanding of the values that build solidarity. The Gender Equity course was jointly designed by LRS in South Africa and LEF in Pakistan and run with grassroots leaders of unions to develop strategies for overcoming patriarchal tendencies to ignore gender discrimination.

Study Circles for Social Change supports affiliates to use the study circle method where participants learn through developing their experience and sharing their knowledge.

Study circles involving 80 grassroots leaders were formed in Venezuela, Bolivia, Pakistan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe. IFWEA assisted affiliates to share effective methodologies about study circles that help to bring about social awareness and change at a grassroots level. Popular education courses were also piloted with 130 study circle participants in South Africa. Study circle facilitators are also trained in online methodologies that enable them to learn from and to share their experiences with each other.

Patsime Trust, which formed a study circle that used theatre forums to construct a play titled Populism and Violence in Post Elections Zimbabwe, showed how effective a study circle can be –6 participants in a study circle managed to engaged more than 350 people in rural areas on this topic through using a theatre forum.

The activities to promote and build capacity to conduct online workers’ education within affiliates and unions so that they can face education challenges of the 21st century enabled 320 members from over 30 organisations to register and enrol in courses on the IFWEA Online Labour Academy during 2018. We also trained educators from 6 trade unions affiliated to UNI Africa to design and run online courses for shop stewards in cross border trade union alliances and assisted 10 IFWEA affiliates and partner organisations to develop online courses for their members and broader constituencies.

We thank all the organisations who rolled up their sleeves and got involved in running courses and study circles – you are leading the way and teaching us lessons for the future.  We look forward to working with you in 2019. For next year the education programme of IFWEA will include 5 new Foundation Skills For Social Change Certificate courses; support study circles that improves our knowledge of how to raise awareness on and organise to counter the rise of populism in the world; and work with educators to make education more accessible and relevant for  grassroots leaders.

If you are involved in trade union or community organisation education and interested in getting involved in the IFWEA education programme please contact the Programme Manager, Saliem Patel –

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For more on the IFWEA education programme see

The IFWEA Online Labour Academy website is