Development Education in Australia
Historically, the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) has always had a global focus and commitment to addressing the needs and injustices that characterize poverty. This is reflected in UnitingWorld Relief and Development Mission statement:
“To live out our Christian values by hearing and responding to expressed needs of communities in the Pacific, in Asia and southern Africa, through aid for relief and development programs that contribute to poverty alleviation”
Many communities affiliated with the UCA are motivated to participate in this mission and ultimately UnitingWorld Relief and Development exists as an expression of the this deep commitment to the alleviation of poverty, community development and emergency relief.
UnitingWorld recognises that these are complex issues and processes and not merely a matter of finance. As a result, we seek to provide both the opportunity for Uniting Church communities in Australia to connect in genuine partnership with overseas development partners and to empower Australian Church and school communities with the foundation necessary to ensure that these are respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships through which Australian communities can stand in solidarity and support of their overseas partners.
The UnitingWorld Development Education Program seeks to support Australian church and school communities with access to essential information and tools to build the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure they offer effective support and equality in engagement through their partnership and participation.
The UnitingWorld School Partnership Program connects Uniting Church Schools in Australia with our Overseas Partners and Relief and Development projects.
Many Uniting Church schools and school communities are motivated to act against injustice and participate in ways of alleviating the poverty experienced by many countries and communities across the world.
UnitingWorld recognises this commitment and seeks to facilitate real engagement opportunities through establishing mutually beneficial relationships between Uniting Church schools, Partner Churches and the local communities and UnitingWorld Relief and Development projects.
UnitingWorld is committed to building long term relationships and connecting communities for life through promoting better understanding of good approaches to development and respectful and mutual cross-cultural engagement.
Through engaging with and even spending time with their Overseas Partner, Australian school communities have the opportunity to learn about or even experience first hand a little of the challenges that many of our partners experience in their daily struggles with poverty. However through this genuine connection they also have the opportunity to gain some insight into the underlying causes of poverty and to witness the strength, capacity and locally initiated approaches that their partners are implementing, with the support of UnitingWorld in addressing this poverty. Through this engagement Australian school communities also learn about differences in culture and values, such as strength of community, which may be less prominent within the Australian cultural context. This allows students to broaden their worldview and and understand the need for all engagement, including development support to be culturally relevant and appropriate if it is to be effective and sustainable in bringing about long-term change.
Through the UnitingWorld School Partnership Program there are various ways that schools can engage with our Overseas Partners. These include
- Learning about the realities of poverty and the challenges that many people who are living in developing countries face. Out of this they have the opportunity to support these communities in prayer and to elect to raise some funds for financial support for selected projects facilitated through UnitingWorld.
- Focusing on a particular region, country or community; learn about the culture and challenges faced by thte people living there and commit to supporting them prayerfully and financially. This may involve communitication with relevant people within the focus area, facilitated by UnitingWorld.
- Developing a specific one-to-one partnership with one of our Overseas Development Partners, facilitated through UnitingWorld.
- Participating in a Development Education Exposure Visit (DEEV) that allow students to experience the local context of our Partners and gain a deeper understanding of the issues they are facing as well as witnessing the strength and capacity within local communities to address these challenges, with support. It also gives the opportunity to learn about a different culture and a different value system. This could also involve reciprical visits from the partner community to Australia.
Committing to assist in supporting local development projects being implemented within the partner community to address the causes of their poverty situations in line with good development principles.
- Learn about the complexities of poverty and the principles involved in good development
- Become more aware of how the complex global issues surrounding poverty impact on people living in affected and some of the ways that these communities are working to address situations of poverty;
- Develop an appreciation and respect for different cultures and different ways of seeing the world and living in it.
- Engage with people of different cultures and who experience the challenges of poverty in a way that is respectful and equal.
- Develop strong and unique friendships
- Witness the implementation of development projects and gain an undertstanding of good development principles and practises.
Develop understanding and attributes that will help them to develop in to responsible global citizens.
Below are some questions that have been asked by participating schools, click on the question to access the response including the relevant development principles.
Examples of Established School Partnerships
Click on the links below to see the partnerships some Uniting Church School's are developing
If you would like more information about Development Education and how your school can get involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org