Global Connect report
What we did in 2010-2011
Global Connect took a slightly new direction in 2010-11. We continued to pursue the aim of working with communities suffering from globalisation, by developing partnership with organisations already working with them. The Bethany Christian Trust supports people who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness and run education and support programmes. The BCT runs a weekly drop-in session for men where their service users can get a meal, socialise and use computers. We joined in with this session, encouraging discussion and debate on topical issues using GC materials for stimuli.
This programme was then developed with the addition of a standalone session open to all BCT service users, held in the Learning Centre. This has enabled more focussed discussions with fewer distractions! Between 6 and 9 people usually attend, with a huge range of experience and ideas. Topics have covered recycling, community, identity, supermarkets and trade and many more, with suggestions often coming from the group. The discussions are facilitated but often go in unexpected directions. There have been some fantastic moments when participants (including the facilitators!) have learned something, changed their minds and decided to change their behaviour. We start off each session with lunch which encourages people to attend and helps people get to know each other better. The sessions work well because the collaboration between WDM and BCT is effective - both believe strongly that homeless people have a lot to offer and will benefit from the opportunity to express themselves. The thinking from the sessions goes to a wider audience through the BCT's weekly radio slot on Leith FM and in their magazine, The Bugle. We are aiming to take the process forward by lobbying MSPs on issues of interest.
We have also run a more traditional adult education evening class, "A Beginner's Guide to a Fairer World", based on the existing WorldWise materials, in Drummond Community High School, Leith. This attracted 8 participants, and some of the group are continuing to meet and take action independently, focussing on fair trade fashion clothing. The course lasted for 10 sessions, with an average attendance of 5.
We ran a series of three evening workshops at St Paul's and St George's Church who had approached WDM. They particularly wanted to look at how some existing groups in the church could work better together and link their actions more coherently. 25 people attended the workshops and some practical campaigns and actions were the result, including a programme to help the local community insulate their homes better and a swap-shop to re-use unwanted products whilst building up a sense of neighbourliness. Another workshop to review progress and look at next steps is planned for the near future.
Two simulation games have been designed and used at WDM events including the Take One Action film nights. These have given an insight into food speculation (Hunger!) and the activities of banks (The £45.5 billion question) and are good discussion starters. These, together with other activities developed and tested over the year constitute a valuable resource of educational activities which have been placed on the website for anyone to use.
In partnership with Transition Scotland Support we hosted a film and discussion night in Duns in the Scottish Borders, aiming to stimulate debate, help people make links and assess interest in further meetings. A small but enthusiastic audience attended and we are planning some follow-up work.
Other parts of the report
For more information on the Global Connect project contact our education officer