Global radical citizenship and informal learning in NGDOs relationships. Towards a more political view of development aid

Autores UPV
CONGRESO Global radical citizenship and informal learning in NGDOs relationships. Towards a more political view of development aid


We depart from criticism towards current depoliticized and managerial discourses and practices in the development sector, which had also been assumed by non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs). These managerial approaches would not be challenging structural problems of inequality and Human Rights violation, and would be strengthening unequal power relationships in aid, between northern and southern organizations. However, we also find a number of alternative and more transformative experiences and forms of international cooperation: It is the case of some alliances between grassroots movements and organizations in the Global South that are confronting hegemonic development models, and certain progressive NGDOs and other social organizations in the Global North. Their approach to international cooperation is essentially and consciously political: These alliances prioritize advocacy and social mobilization, and are based in political engagement, solidarity, responsibility and common values and goals of social transformation. We can approach these relations of cooperation from the perspective of development education, as informal processes of learning arise in them. Through participation, accountability, the building of trust, reflection and dialogue, multidimensional and complex learning processes emerge ¿at individual and collective level-, with political, ethical, cultural and civic dimensions. In our study, we also discuss the idea that these learning processes have an emancipatory potential, as long as they may be contributing to the construction of what we call a ¿radical global citizenship¿. This can be defined as an active and politically engaged citizenship, which confronts hegemonic neo-liberal models, build transnational solidarities, values diversity and alternative epistemologies, connects struggles at local, national and global levels, and creates a cosmopolitan vision. The structure of the paper is the following one: we begin with the explanation of our theoretical framework that develops and connects these ideas on political relationships in aid, informal learning in social action, and global radical citizenship. From this framework, we approach five cases that can be considered as experiences of political relationships in aid. These are experiences of alliances between grassroots and social organizations in Colombia (women movements and indigenous movements, local NGOs, unions and Human Rights organizations) and NGDOs and other solidarity organizations in Spain, that promote together advocacy and social mobilization for the defence of Human Rights in Colombia. We will explore what has emerged in terms of learning, in individuals and groups engaged in the experiences, for global radical citizenship building. Also, we explore how these learning processes are modelled by relations within the alliances and with other stakeholders, by discourses and ideas, and by the broader context. We will find that these experiences have promoted the construction of a global citizenship in very different ways. However, they are also processes full of tensions and challenges, particularly if they want to engage more people and have a broader impact for global radical citizenship building.