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Local Trust Features At Commonwealth Peoples Forum

13 November 2007

Local Trust Features At Commonwealth Peoples Forum

A family literacy programme developed in Manukau City will feature on the agenda at the Commonwealth People’s Forum, a parallel event with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala, Uganda, on 18-23 November, 2007.

The Commonwealth Peoples Forum has as its theme “Realising People’s Potential”. The City of Manukau Education Trust (COMET)’s work in education will be showcased in a plenary and workshop session as an example of how Civil Society organisations can meet the Millenium Development Goals for 2015. In education, this means that by 2015 all children should be able to complete a good quality primary education, and there should be gender parity at all levels of education.

Commonwealth Ministers of Education meeting in Cape Town last December 2006 called on Commonwealth Heads of Government to adopt a more ‘holistic’ approach to education development. Bernardine Vester, Chief Executive of COMET, says that the Manukau Family Literacy Programme will be featured because it takes an intergenerational approach to literacy and family well-being. The programme’s success comes from the way in which programme partners work together to ensure that both adults and children can benefit.”

Some 120 participants from civil society in more than a dozen Commonwealth countries will discuss the implications of a more comprehensive approach and of better joined-up education policies. The Workshop is convened by the Commonwealth Consortium for Education, a grouping of two dozen civil-society voluntary and professional organisations committed to Commonwealth education development.

Manukau City is at the leading edge of innovation in education,” she says, “and projects such as the Manukau Family Literacy Programme would never have happened without the commitment of Council to the wellbeing of people through education.”

“The programme is funded by the Tertiary Education Commission. The programme partners include the AUT, six primary schools and a number of early childhood education providers. Adults who graduate from the programme will go on to higher education. A recent research report from PricewaterhouseCoopers showed a net change in family income of $200 per week as a result of participation in the programme. The programme also results in increases in parental aspirations for their children, and makes a significant positive impact on the home environment. Families also have a reduced reliance on government agencies.”

Bernardine Vester will be travelling to Uganda with Dr Jo Howse, COMET’s Deputy Chief Executive. Jo Howse is a member of the Commonwealth Civil Society Advisory Group that is organising the Commonwealth Peoples Forum with the Commonwealth Foundation in London.


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