Education Knowledge

January 2003

Final Communiqué

Aid Agencies Workshop: "Education for rural people: Targeting the poor"

12-13 December 2002
FAO Headquarters
Rome, Italy

The Aid agencies workshop on "Education for rural people: Targeting the poor" was organized on 12-13 December 2002, Rome, Italy, to bridge the education gap between the rich and the poor, between urban and rural areas, and to promote equal access to and completion of quality basic education. More than 60 experts from international aid agencies, NGOs, Foundations and Universities attended the meeting which was organized by the Extension, Education and Communication Service (SDRE) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provided technical cooperation and the Italian Development cooperation funded the initiative.

The workshop assumption was that a better coordination of aid agencies can improve education for rural people, which is crucial to reducing poverty and inequities in a world where the richest 1% of the population receives as much income as the poorest 57%, where 2.8 billion people still live on less than $2 a day, of whom 70% of this poor live in rural areas. It is mainly among the rural poor indeed that live the 130 million children out of school and the 880 million illiterate adults and the 800 million undernourished people.

The outcomes of the workshop were:

On Thursday 12 December, the opening ceremony chaired by Ms Ester Zulberti, SDRE Service Chief, was highlighted by presentations from:

A FAO-UNESCO study on "Education for rural development: towards new policy responses" (to be published soon) and the report of the Seminar on "Education for rural development in Asia: experiences and policies lessons" were presented.

In the afternoon, agencies briefly presented their activities, experiences and lessons learned in the field of Education for rural people.

Friday 13 December was dedicated to three panel discussions:

The first panel discussion focused on the Intervention frameworks and mechanisms and on how to better focus on basic Education for rural people. The panel presented examples and proposals on how Education for rural people could be addressed by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Programmes (PRSP), Sector Wide Approaches (SWAP), United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), Education for All (EFA) fast track initiative and EFA action plans, United Nations System Network on Rural Development and Food Security.

The second panel discussion addressed the following question: What are the monitoring mechanisms for education for rural people and what are related indicators? The panel discussed donors' experience on how to monitor improvements in removing disparities in rural people's access and retention in basic education and in the quality of education.

The third panel discussion was focused on how to strengthen the new Education for all Flagship on Education for rural people; how to consolidate new partnerships, to increase access and retention and to improve quality; and how to strengthen capacity to plan and manage education for rural people, as well as on the next steps.

The following were the main recommendations for follow up made by the participants and synthesized during the closing ceremony (13 December) by Ms. Ester Zulberti:

Annex 1 List of participants

Multilateral agencies and institutions

Bilateral Agencies

Foundations, NGOs and Universities

The permanent representatives to FAO of a dozen countries also attended the opening and closing ceremonies.

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