Community Learning for People Seeking Sanctuary in Reading

Huge thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund for our recent grant!

Our community learning project with people seeking asylum in the Reading area is now underway. Our new spacious office with kitchen facilities provides opportunities for people to cook their preferred food; some people have been in hotel accommodation for nearly two years without kitchen facilities. We are developing a programme of stimulating activities including English lessons, and access to online learning. We have sewing machines available for people to do creative activities. Contact us if you would like to volunteer……

Schools Work with the Safe Engage Foundation in Kenya

Education For Development’s work with Safe Engage Foundation in Kenya is going from strength to strength.

Safe Engage Foundation (SEF) is a youth-led organisation mentoring young girls to achieve their potential and to stay safe from FGM. SEF also engages community leaders, men, boys, teachers and health workers as champions to bring about change.

We are working with SEF to develop and implement a small schools programme in rural communities across Kuria, designed to keep girls safe during the ‘cutting’ season of November and December.

We are grateful for the support of the Souter Charitable Trust and from our Go Fund Me campaign which is funding this vital initiative.

Death of Alan Rogers, Founder of Education For Development

We were sad to hear of the news of Alan Rogers’ death in April 2022. Alan founded Education For Development in 1985 and delivered and participated in training, workshops and research across the world before his ‘retirement’ in 1996. He then spent 25 years leading and participating in multiple adult education and other learning initiatives with academic institutions and partner organisations in the UK, several African countries and Afghanistan.  We will remember his energy, commitment and ability to get things done.

Below is a tribute by colleagues at UEA UNESCO with whom he was working until April 2022.

A tribute to Professor Alan Rogers from the UEA UNESCO Chair

It is with great sadness that we heard the news of Alan Rogers’ death on 5 April 2022.

Alan was appointed Visiting Professor in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning in 2005, and actively engaged in teaching, supervision, research and policy development since that time. He was a founding member of the UEA Literacy and Development Group and contributed greatly to the establishment of the UEA UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation, remaining a key member of the core organising team. In 2006, Alan was instrumental in setting up an MA course in ‘Adult literacy, lifelong learning and development: international perspectives’ – consisting of three separate modules on literacy policy, literacy practice and literacy theory. The course involved visiting local adult literacy projects in Norwich, so that students could reflect on concepts of literacy and adult learning in relation to policy and practice. Several of these MA students went on to conduct innovative research in this area at PhD level. 

Before moving into international development, Alan had a long career in local history – and developed a strong interest in medieval history. He taught history in the Department of Adult Education at the University of Nottingham for over 20 years – and became Director of the Institute of Continuing Education at Magee University College in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1980. In 1985, he set up his own NGO, Education for Development, working on adult literacy and development training and research projects for over 13 years. Many of us here at UEA worked with him during this period – including on the DFID-funded Community Literacy Project Nepal, which developed theoretical ideas on literacy as a social practice as the basis for a national adult literacy programme. Alan also brought together many policy makers, practitioners and researchers in adult literacy and numeracy through his Uppingham Seminars. These were held on an annual or biennial basis, in his then home-town of Uppingham (later in Reepham, in Norfolk). Rather than having paper presentations, the agenda would be set by the group of around 30 invitees on the first evening around a chosen theme. This was an unusual opportunity for a group of busy policy makers and academics to have an open-ended discussion, offering an important resource in this field:

There are not many of us who can claim to have written an academic ‘best seller’. Alan’s 1986 Teaching Adults book was and is just that – having reached an impressively diverse audience of researchers, adult educators, policy makers and facilitators across the world. Alan had a great gift for writing about (and talking about) complex ideas in an accessible and engaging way – and practising what he preached about adult learning! His students will not forget having to rearrange the room furniture from lecture style to small groups every time they had an MA session with Alan. 

Above all, as a founding member of our UEA Literacy and Development Group, Alan played an essential role in the establishment and development of the UEA UNESCO Chair programme. In particular, he strengthened our research direction and capacity building activities in informal learning and literacy, and the professional development of literacy facilitators – both continuing themes within his research and publications. The new Bloomsbury series edited by Alan (and Anna Robinson-Pant) on Adult Literacy, Learning and Social Change will be a rich tribute to Alan’s intellectual influence and drive. It is a pity that he just missed seeing the first two books published in this series by former UEA students Ahmmardouh Mjaya and Fusheng Jia – and at the time of his death, he was finalising a volume (co-edited with Jules Robbins) on Adult Learning and Social Change in the UK: National and Local Perspectives. 

We will all miss Alan’s incredible intellectual energy, support and friendship which continued until the end. Only last month, he was saying how much he enjoyed working with our PhD students and was keen to continue his supervisory role despite many health issues. Alan was also a constant mentor to many early career researchers and practitioners in the field of adult learning/literacy, particularly in Ethiopia and other countries where there had been little qualitative research in this area.

The UEA UNESCO Chair will be producing a booklet to remember and reflect on Alan’s life – please feel free to send any memories, photos, reflections to UNESCO Chair (before April 22nd). We will also hold a memorial event in the Autumn as an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate Alan’s remarkable contribution to adult literacy and adult education – in the UK, our UNESCO Chair partner countries and many other contexts across the world. 

Anna Robinson-Pant

UEA UNESCO Chair holder

April 2022

Community Learning With People Seeking Asylum

During COVID lockdowns we have worked with Reading Red Kitchen to support online learning for people seeking sanctuary in Reading, with a grant from Awards For All and a Local Connections grant. Laptops and smart phones were provided which were used for online language classes, accessing mental health support and for keeping in touch with family and friends. Refugees and asylum seekers are especially vulnerable to the potential mental health impacts of the pandemic. Many people experienced lockdown in hotels in Reading, with little access to support, services and even adequate nutrition. Reading Red Kitchen provide regular hot meals, additional practical support and essential items such as toiletries.



Event With The FGM Centre: The Role of Education in Responding to FGM and other Harmful Practices

We are delighted to work with The National FGM Centre on the following event:

The Role of Education in Responding to FGM and other Harmful Practices

The new government statutory guidance on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), announced in 2019, makes it compulsary for secondary schools to teach pupils about FGM and other harmful practices.

Taking place on Tuesday 18 June 2019, this conference, which has been co-produced with young people, will bring together key experts in the field of harmful practices and education to raise awareness, and inform participants of their duty with regards to the new RSE mandatory guidance.

Delegates will:

  • Understand what Harmful Practices are
  • Be able to apply their knowledge of harmful practices to their role in safeguarding children
  • Understand the new statutory guidance for RSE
  • Know what teaching requirements have been placed on them in the RSE guidance regarding FGM and other harmful practices
  • Gain an insight in best practice around teaching about harmful practices
  • Know how to engage families to safeguard their children from harmful practices

Speakers Include:

  • Leethen Bartholomew, Head of the National FGM Centre
  • Inspector Allen Davis, Metropolitan Police
  • Dr Charlotte Proudman, Barrister and specialist in FGM and Forced Marriage
  • Louise Williams, Speclialist FGM Clinical Nurse, University College Hospital – FGM paediatric clinic
  • Young people

We are grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for supporting this initiative.