The Guardian and Dadamac: "From development goals to global targets?"

Andy Wales' article on "From development goals to global targets?" in Guardian Professional has overlap with work in Dadamac, I was interested in what he wrote about 'post 2015' goals, "getting a good job" and "education" because everything I do has some relationship to 21st century lifestyles, life-long-learning, and livelihoods,

Andy Wales wrote:

At the recent Africa Economic Summit in Cape Town, one of the themes .. was the 'post 2015' goals... when the existing Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.

I spoke at an event ... where the audience seemed divided ...(some favoured) an emphasis on economic growth – perhaps focused on job creation or competitiveness. However, others felt that growth is over-emphasised ...  and that it would be more powerful to only target social development outcomes...

ONE, the development campaign organisation founded by Bono, has taken the important step of actually asking young people around Africa what they want for the post 2015 process. The results ... getting a job, and then a good education (presumably to get that job) rank as first and second priorities, ahead of concerns around food, healthcare or any of the other perceptions (of) Africans' most pressing concerns. You could argue that whilst NGO campaigns in Europe and the US are, once again, defining Africa in terms of food shortages, Africa's view of itself is going a different way.

Actually asking

It's good that ONE is actually asking young people what they want.

When I read that any top down initiative is demonstrating some common sense and is finding out "what the question is" before arrogantly barging in with "the answers" I feel torn between clapping and crying. I want to applaud the fact someone is asking, but I could weep that it's still so rare that it's newsworthy. The reason I started Dadamac was to try and close the reality gap between what I saw actually happening in real places and what I could "learn" about "development" from the Internet (see Dadamac - the Internet-enabled alternative to top-down development ). The gap is still wide.

Getting a job, and then a good education

I would love to see the young people's concerns regarding "getting a job, and then a good education" included in the 'post 2015' goals.

It's a need that people in Dadamac are aware of, and some are starting to address it (see Dadamac Knowledge Centre - Learning for Livelihoods and October First Thursday - youths, livelihoods, unemployment, violence, David and Goliath, and more and Challenging the lack of employment opportunities ).

It is also an interest that quickly emerged within the new GlobalNet21 and Africa Changemakers Group that I launched with Francis Sealey last week. Member Margaret Thorli leads an employment training project for young women in Sierra Leone, and will be reporting on it to the group after her next visit.

Global goals

Andy Wales also wrote:

The other big debate ... was why we need development goals at all. Some influential African voices argued that we should instead set global goals, as applicable to Europe as they are to Africa. ... youth unemployment ... emerging markets .... why shouldn't we take a new approach? That's a compelling view. It's also supported by the World Bank's Doing Business Entrepreneurship Survey ...

Maybe it's time to consider a focus on jobs and improved incomes everywhere. Alongside minimum social development standards and dramatic efficiency improvements in natural resource use, it might create a post 2015 agenda that feels like the whole world could own it.

It's a world wide ongoing dance between working and learning

I'm glad to see increasing recognition that globalisation is not just about "markets" - it's about living in an interconnected world, where people are people, and problems are increasingly shared problems although they look different in different parts of the world.

The world of employment is becoming an ongoing dance between working and learning new skills for work. Changing patterns of employment are a whole world issue, and it's not just the concern of young people. Older people as well as young ones are looking at the issue of employment. Together they have a great mix of skills, perceptions, energy and experience. Together they can build new opportunities that young people will take over to build a better future. We need a much wider and more interconnected vision - not just "youth" employment and not just "Africa"

Linking across countries and across generations

I've already mentioned some of Dadamac's interests in employment / livelihoods and there are more.

Nikki Fishman and I became interested in youth employment via a shared interest in unemployment amongst older people. This led to Collage-Network, concerned with people of all ages who are positioning or repositioning themselves in the world of work. It is currently based in Croydon (SE London) but has a wider vision. (See Nikki's blog Adieu for now! )

I was also at recent events in London which were part of the Transeuropa Festival 2013 (festival programme). The events related mainly to young people, but I was interested because of trans-generational issues of work (and housing). I expected to go and simply listen, but found that a wider perspective was welcomed.

I also have in my mind the online support group for Teachers Talking, which was active between 2004 and 2008 (see Overview of Teachers Talking ). It was a vibrant community that linked people from many parts fo the world and brought together relevant resources, ideas and support for teachers in rural Africa who were learning about ICT (Information and Communications Technology). I would like to see something similar to support training for employment programmes.   

There are too many more connections to mention because, as I wrote at the start, everything I do has some relationship to 21st century lifestyles, life-long-learning, and livelihoods.

Local and global

I'm so pleased to see a more holistic view of jobs etc and a recognition of the "shared problems" faced by people across the world.

We are all impacted by issues such as unemployment, climate change, water security, and resource depletion. We need local solutions guided by the combined wisdom of people who have local knowledge and people from outside with wider perspectives and complementary knowledge. This is true whether we are looking at local solutions in Africa, in Europe or anywhere else. The internet can enable us to have that sharing of knowledge.

We need an approach that acknowledges our need to be working towards a new model of development worldwide based on a readiness to learn from each other. We need local implementations, local appropriateness, shared ideas and combined wisdom, A wise choice of "post 2015' goals, with the mindset of "global goals, as applicable to Europe as they are to Africa." as suggested by Andy Wales could help to set us all in a better direction.