Think Global, Act Local
Think Global, Act Local (TGAL) is a GCE programme for people in Ireland above the age of 18. Participants gathered for 6 months (April – September 2022) to participate in GCE workshops (which we called ‘Global Forums’) on topics framed by the Sustainable Development Goals, such as Climate Action, Fast Fashion and Responsible Consumerism, Social Justice, Ethical Development, Gender Equality and Attitudes and Languages towards marginalised groups.
Participants engaged in these interactive workshops and carried out ‘tasks’ between sessions such as research into the standard of SDG 5 Gender Equality in SERVE partner countries in the Global South, or eating only locally sourced food for an entire day.
Participants were also joined by guest speakers from Ireland and the Global South throughout to talk on various social justice issues such as Don Leary from the Cork Life Centre, and Milimo Muchanga, a youth worker in Mazabuka Zambia. As part of the programme, participants carried out some online volunteering during the summer with our partners in Zambia. This ranged from CV writing and interview skills workshops with young people, or conversational English lessons with St. Patricks Secondary School in Mazabuka, Zambia.
TGAL is designed specifically as a Global Citizenship Education initiative to enhance learners' knowledge of Global Issues and it encourages participants to become active global citizens by providing an opportunity to apply their knowledge in a practical setting by volunteering with a development organisation and in their own community. TGAL global forums explored topics such as justice, solidarity, and the Global Goals. Participants complete Global Citizenship Education and Personal Development Modules that enhance their knowledge, skills, and gives them a strong grounding in global issues and how to effectively advocate for positive change. Once participants have the ground knowledge of these global issues, they complete the volunteering segment of the programme. In-person and virtual volunteering opportunities allowed participants to connect with and directly support communities in Ireland and in the Global South that are tackling the interlinked challenges of inequality, injustice, and the growing impact of Climate Change.
For example, in the ‘Attitudes and Languages towards marginalised groups’ module participants were presented with information and knowledge regarding issues faced by people marginalised groups and engaged in interactive discussions about this topic. They then had the opportunity to listen to a guest speaker who experiences everyday life as a member of a marginalised group in Ireland. We arranged for Elton Sibanda to speak to our participants as part of the module. Elton is a young artist living in direct provision in Millstreet Co. Cork with his family. Elton moved from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 2019, after fleeing to South Africa during the coup in Zimbabwe. Elton spoke to the participants about his personal experience living in direct provision in Ireland and as a migrant. TGAL not only provided participants with information about this topic but firsthand real-life accounts from guest speakers affected by these global issues.
As part of each module the participants had to complete a task with the support of their mentors. Continuous mentoring from experienced global justice advocates enabled participants to become more active and engaged global citizens. Some examples of tasks completed by the participants included completing the Inequality challenge, to identify and explore inequality in their own community and the Local Food Challenge – to grow their own food or shop for locally produced food.
Target group, beneficiaries or clients
TGAL overall not only provides a learning experience for participants to increase their knowledge of global issues but also allows them to reflect on how those issues affect the lives of individuals. TGAL provides leaners with an opportunity to listen to and connect with individuals adversely affected by global issues both in Ireland and overseas. The programme allows participants to explore ways of taking action on these global issues and thus beginning their journey as global citizens.
TGAL allowed learners to avail of Global Citizenship Education while also providing them with an opportunity to connect with and directly support communities in Ireland and in the Global South who are experiencing inequality, injustice, and the growing impact of Climate Change.
The participants of the programme had the opportunity to work in solidarity with young people in Assumption Parish, Mazabuka by facilitating online workshops over four weekends on Cover Letter, CV writing and interview skills.
One of the TGAL participants Antonio described the experience - “Presenting my work in front of so many people was an enormous honour and pleasure. I hope that my work will contribute positively to their lives and they will reap benefits from the skills I shared with them. The young people were really engaged in what I had to tell them and they had plenty of questions afterwards, meaning that the work I did with them stimulated their interest. I’m very thankful to them for the trust they placed in me and for giving me their attention. Through the monitor I could see their wide smiles and hear their cheerful hellos. Even though there were miles of distance between me and them, we felt them very close. They have been an amazing group and overall, it has been an amazing experience.”
Antionio’s reflection demonstrates the impact that TGAL had on the learners individually but also on our partners in Mazabuka and in their community as they directly benefited from these workshops and through the collaboration with TGAL participants.
Scala Retreat and Conference Centre,