Education meets Development – promoting global studies

Bettina Waldt

When I returned from Zambia ten years ago with a wealth of impressions and experiences, I looked for opportunities to continue working in education and social work and on development issues. So I was delighted when I first heard about the Education meets Development programme (BtE) during a DED returnees gathering. Engagement Global’s programme provides trained speakers for global studies events in nursery schools, schools, colleges, and other educational establishments.

I got in touch with the head of the regional education unit straight away and arranged to have an initial conversation with her to discuss how I might get involved in BtE. I then took part in an introductory seminar on global studies and subsequently drafted the programme for a BtE event on: "The everyday life of young people in Zambia". This workshop with Year 9 school students was my initiation as a BtE speaker.

Other BtE events, which I developed and ran with children, young people, and adults, followed. The workshops focused primarily on topics such as "The lives of children and young people here and abroad", "Globalisation and sustainable consumption", and "Health in our One World".

Besides running such events, I also look after BtE information stalls and inform and advise people about opportunities for getting involved in development campaigning and advocacy. This year I participated in the "BtE with Refugees" pilot project in Bonn, in which we accompanied and supported prospective speakers in preparing for their first assignments with BtE. 

In the spirit of global studies, I aim to contribute through my work and during my daily life to a more nuanced and respectful portrayal of the situations in which people live in the global South. My own personal experience of everyday life and work in Zambia is very helpful in this respect: I have experienced for myself, how much difference it makes, when you’re in a new country, to have people alongside you, who help you find your feet and gain your first insights into how things work, and who make you feel welcome. I was able to get to know a few people locally and learn about their involvement and know-how and their hopes and fears. And I was able to work together with some of them, so that we could learn from each other and continue learning together.

My stories of first-hand experiences, objects which I bring along, and pictures all enable me to paint a comprehensive and varied picture of everyday life in Zambia. I’m able to greet participants in a local language, include information about the African Nations Championship using a football shirt, and explain the preparation of a dish using an nsima spoon.

Networking with people and organisations whom I’ve come across in the BtE programme and elsewhere has opened up career opportunities for me. Besides working full-time as a school social worker in Bonn, I also make myself available as a global studies speaker and a teacher of German as a second language. These are fields of work which I find both challenging and extremely rewarding. And I see the necessity as well as the opportunities for networking, as I seek to promote integration and work for peace. So I’m very happy to be working together with other people in these ways.

More information on BtE:

Bettina Waldt lived in Sambia from 2005 to 2007 (published in transfer volume 1/2017)