Newsletter on Human Rights Education
and Education for Democracy
Year 3, issue 4 (26 September 2006)
Deadline for contributions for the next issue:
29 November 2006
Publication: 11 December 2006
Published by the DARE project

Table of content

1. Letter from the board
2. Concepts: democracy
3. Equality for all – citizenship teaching
4. Participatory Methods Toolkit. A practitioner’s manual. New edition
5. First Quality Assurance in EDC Project in Romania
6. Preparations begin for EDC Action Days 2007 in Austria
7. DARE to be 'normal', genuine and simple!
8. Brainpower and creative action in the Harz Mountain (Evaluation meeting for DARE project)
9. European Youth Speak Project
10. Euroweaving project


1. Letter from the board

Berlin, 26 September 2006

Dear DARE-members,

We hope you all had a sunny summer with relaxing holidays and are ready to face the challenges of the coming months.

In August we met at Sonnenberg in the mountains of the Harz in Germany for a final evaluation of the first three years of the Grundtvig project, which have been the decisive first years of our DARE-network as well. The evaluation workshop was accompanied by our external evaluator Judith Neisse. Her contributions and comments have been completed by two additional workshops in which participants reflected their experiences of the last years with creative methods. A power-point presentation and a video-clip are the results of these common efforts. Altogether we painted a huge picture with the support of a professional artist, expressing our emotions on the process of networking. A last common action with a strong symbolic meaning was the planting of a tree. The combination of an analytical approach and creative methods opened surprising insights and a new dimension of evaluation.
It also gave us the strong feeling to have roots and to be on the right way for the future.

This summer our second publication was published: “DARE in Action – Vision and practice for democracy and human rights education in Europe”, a collection of good practice examples which have been clustered under the following themes:

  • Active citizenship
  • Children’s rights
  • Conflict resolution
  • Empowerment
  • Identity/ Diversity.

Part one of the publication is dedicated to the attempt to clarify the relationship between education for democracy and human rights education, to define the elementary need of EDC and HRE for a democratic development of society and the dignity of each individual. During the next weeks each member organisation will get 15 copies. If you need more, please let us know.

As I informed you earlier our proposal for a second period of funding by Grundtvig4 was not funded. We didn’t expect this result. We expected shortages but have been convinced that the tremendous work and commitment of all DARE-members would be appreciated, also the constant growth and stability of the network. “DARE – Education for Democracy and Human Rights” fills a gap in the needs of non formal education in Europe. At the meeting of Working Group 1 and 2 in Bucharest last June we developed alternative ways to promote our network. These proposals now have to be put in action.

The board of DARE suggests to apply a second time. 2007 the new generation of programmes will start. There is an opportunity to meet in the frame of preparatory measures for the main proposal. We plan to organize a meeting in February 2007 (probably 2/9-11) in order to collect our arguments, to exchange our views and perceptions on the future of DARE. We invite and encourage all DARE-members - and in particular the 24 participating organisations who joined last time - to be again on board for this second venture.
In June 2007 “Partners Bulgaria” offers generously to host our annual General Assembly, combined with a seminar in Sofia. The details of both meetings will be announced as soon as possible. In the meantime, the e-DARE newsletter will continue to appear regularly and the website will be maintained and improved -- both will be more than ever a platform for exchange, for news, in short for cooperation.

We thank all DARE-members who have written during the last days after we received the disappointing news from Brussels, and who encouraged us to continue journey to be the voice of democracy and human rights education in our countries and at the European level.
Let us DARE!

The board of DARE: Margot Brown, Hannelore Chiout, Frank Elbers, Daniela Koralova, Maja Uzelac, Richard Wassell


2. Concepts: democracy

In order to explore the concept of democracy we compiled some texts on this issue, taken from various internet sources.

From the Council of Europe’s 'A Glossary of terms for education for democratic citizenship' (Karen O’Shea):

“Democracy is a form of living together in a community. Within a democracy it is very important to be able to choose between different solutions when issues or problems arise and to be able to have the freedom to do so.

This understanding of democracy marks a shift of emphasis. The traditional understanding of democracy as a form of governance and a political system based on the rather limited role of citizens as voters has been challenged by ideas of participation and participative democracy.

Within EDC the adjective ‘democratic’ emphasises the fact that it is a citizenship based on the principles and values of human rights, respect of human dignity, pluralism, cultural diversity and the primacy of law.”
(EDC = Education for Democratic Citizenship
From ‘COMPASS, A manual for human rights education with young people’ (Council of Europe):
"Democracy describes a system of making rules for a group of people. It comes from the Greek words demos - meaning people - and kratos meaning power. Accordingly, democracy is often defined as "the rule of the people"; in other words, a system of making rules which is put together by the people who are to obey those rules.

Could such a system exist and could it possibly be a good way of making decisions? Why did such an idea originally arise and why is it today considered, at least by most people and most countries in the world, the only system that is worth our attention? Does it really make sense for everyone to rule?

Why Democracy?

There are two fundamental principles that lie at the base of the idea of democracy and which help to explain its appeal:

1. the principle of individual autonomy: that no one should be subject to rules that have been imposed by others;
2. the principle of equality: that everyone should have the same opportunity to influence the decisions that affect people in society.

Both of these principles are intuitively appealing to everyone - and a democratic system of government is the only one that, at least in theory, accepts both as fundamental. Other systems, such as oligarchy, plutocracy or dictatorship, normally violate both principles: they give power to a certain (constant) sector of society and these people then take decisions on behalf of the rest of the population. Neither equality nor individual autonomy is respected in such cases.

The two principles above provide the moral justification for democracy, and we can see that both are in fact key human rights principle. There are however also pragmatic reasons that are often given as justification for a democratic system of government, rather than any other.

1. It is often claimed that a democratic system provides for a more efficient form of government, because the decisions that are taken are more likely to be respected by the people. People do not usually break their "own" rules.
2. Acceptance by the population is also more likely because decisions have been reached as a result of building a consensus among different factions; the rules would not be realistic if they were unacceptable to large sections of the population. Thus, there is a form of internal control on the type of laws that a democratically accepted government ought to consider.
3. A democratic system is also supposed to foster more initiative and therefore to be more responsive to changing conditions, on the "two heads are better than one" principle."

From the English Wikipedia:
"Democracy (literally "rule by the people", from the Greek demos, "people," and kratos, "rule") is a form of government. Today democracy is often assumed to be liberal democracy but there are many other varieties and the methods used to govern differ. While the term democracy is often used in the context of a political state, the principles are also applicable to other areas of governance.


The definition of democracy is made complex by the varied concepts used in different contexts and discussions. Political systems, or proposed political systems, claiming or claimed to be democratic have ranged very broadly. For example:
Main varieties include:


Direct democracy is a political system where the people vote on government decisions, such as questions of whether to approve or reject various laws. It is called direct because the power of making decisions is exercised by the people directly, without intermediaries or representatives. Historically, this form of government has been rare because of the difficulties of getting all the people of a certain territory in one place for the purpose of voting. All direct democracies to date have been relatively small communities; usually city-states. The most notable was the ancient Athenian democracy. Today, direct democracy exists in countries such as Switzerland, where certain cantons practice it in its literal form, and in other countries, typically those which also use the referendum.


Representative democracy (or Polyarchy[1]) is so named because the people do not vote on most government decisions directly, but select representatives to a governing body or assembly. Representatives may be chosen by the electorate as a whole (as in many proportional systems) or represent a particular subset (usually a geographic district or constituency), with some systems using a combination of the two. Many representative democracies incorporate some elements of direct democracy, such as referenda.


Liberal democracy is a representative democracy which has free and fair elections, and also has the rule of law, separation of powers, and protection of liberties (thus the name liberal) of speech, assembly, religion, and property. [3] [4] Conversely, an illiberal democracy is one where the protections that form a liberal democracy are either non-existent, or not enforced. The experience in some post-Soviet states drew attention to the phenomenon, although it is not of recent origin. Napoleon for example used plebiscites to ratify his decisions.
More (e.g. history, theory, criticism,...)...
From ‘A new global ethics’, The Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development:
“Like human rights, democracy must today be seen as a central element of a global civic culture in the making. Democracy embodies the ideas of political autonomy and human empowerment. It is no longer some vanguard or self-appointed élite but the people themselves who should decide about how to organise their collective life and what future to choose.

Beyond being a value in itself, democracy is also closely interlinked with several other important values. To begin with, there is an intimate connection between democracy and human rights. Democracy provides an important basis for safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens. Governments are forced to take preventive action under the pressure of public opinion. Giving voice to those who have complaints is more likely to prevent major social disasters.

Interdependence and mutual causation again exist between democracy and development. In the long run, successful development depends on democracy. Development is not a technocratic enterprise to be implemented from central government downwards but requires the active participation of all members of society. People will be much more motivated to make a contribution if they can see themselves as true citizens who have a say in what direction their country should move and what development priorities it should adopt. Freedom of expression is both an end in itself, and as such is part of the meaning of development, and it has also instrumental value in promoting development. At the same time, democracy also depends on development. It is entirely consistent with good development performance, as Botswana, Costa Rica, Mauritius and other countries show. Whilst some authoritarian governments (notably in some East Asian countries) also have a good record of economic growth, the claim of the people to participate in the political process becomes irresistible once development - and particularly human development with its emphasis on widespread benefits in nutrition, health and education - has proceeded beyond a certain stage, and once there exists a literate and politically aware middle class. The evidence for this is worl-wide, from the ex-Soviet Union to East Asia to Latin America to South Africa. Only development can bring about those favourable conditions necessary to make democracy flourish.

There is also a complex link between democracy and peace. Democracy can be an important stabilising factor internationally as democracies are less likely to go to war against each other. Nationally, the connection between peace and democracy is more precarious. If democracy is given a chance to take root, it can in the long run diffuse conflict, though some measure of tension and even conflict is a mark of democratic politics and is to be welcomed. Conflicts over divisible resources can be the glue that holds society together. Much depends on politicians' skills and willingness to recognise grievances early on and to seek solutions in a conciliatory fashion. Especially in newly-created democratic systems (but in mature democracies as well) freedom of political expression is sometimes used for aggressive politics designed to deepen faultlines, to vilify others and deny them their rights. Moderation is a virtue vitally important for peaceful democratic politics.

While free, fair and regular elections, freedom of information and a free press and freedom of association constitute basic ingredients of democracy and of a free civil society, democratic procedures must be supplemented by constitutional safeguards protecting political, ethnic and other minorities against the tyranny of the majority. In a world in which, as has been remarked, 10,000 distinct societies live in roughly 200 states, the question of how to accommodate minorities is not of academic interest only but is a central challenge to any humane politics.”
Compiled by VORMEN, www.vormen.org


3. Equality for all – citizenship teaching

We are now over halfway through the first decade of the new Millennium. Children entering the school system in their own European country now will very likely still be alive to see the beginning of the new century. As life-long learning becomes increasingly important in a whole range of societies and societies themselves become more diverse as a result of globalisation and the effects of conflicts (often fuelled by Western arms sales) the focus on content and process of education becomes increasingly important too.

It is only recently that citizenship – as opposed to civics – has begun to be seen as a discrete or cross-curricular subject. In many countries it has remained ‘civics’ and has not engaged with ‘active citizenship’ as opposed to the acquisition of knowledge only. The link between knowledge and skills based on clear democratic values contribute to a form of education which has positive, transformative effects.

However, as the twenty-first century proceeds and the impact of globalisation on culture, technology, trade, tourism, energy, development and migration become increasingly clear, the concept of citizenship which remains only within either national or European parameters does not reflect the changing world. T.H. Marshall spoke of ‘civil citizenship’ as the dominant approach in the eighteenth century, ‘political citizenship’ in the nineteenth century and ‘social citizenship’ in the twentieth century. I would advocate that we embrace ‘global citizenship’ as the educational focus for the twenty-first century. We are often reminded that ‘the term global citizenship is a purely metaphorical one: that there can be no such thing as global citizenship because there is no global polity in which we all have a common interest, or whose collective interests can in any way be enforced’. (Wringe; 1999) He goes on, however, to challenge this view, placing responsibilities on all citizens who give their assent to governments whose policies secure a better life for some at the expense of a much worse life for others.

At the time of the G8 summit, 2005, when the leaders of the most powerful economies in the world met, the following information was printed on the front of a leading UK newspaper, as though on a T-shirt.

‘This T-shirt costs £1.99 in Britain
It is made with cotton grown in the US. This sells for 48¢ per pound - 30¢ less than it costs to produce, thanks to subsidies worth $3.9bn a year. This is more than three times the level of US aid to Africa. The biggest subsidies go to farmers in Texas – home state of George Bush – where one farmer receives $17m a year.

The cotton is turned into T-shirts in China by workers paid less than $1 a day.

In Benin (West Africa) which relies on cotton for 60% of its exports, farmers are going out of business. There were 80,000 five years ago; today, there are 26,000. As a result, the world’s 16th poorest nation is losing 1.4% of its GDP a year. No wonder 33% of the population live in poverty and life expectancy is 48 years.

In Britain, the price of clothing has fallen 14.7% over the past five years.
Source: The Independent: 4 June 05

This trade inequality is only one of many inequalities in the world caused by the ability of the rich and powerful nations – mainly parliamentary democracies – to maintain global policies which retain their power and wealth at the expense of the poor and powerless. The highlighted language above makes this power imbalance clear. When the rich receive aid it is ‘subsidies’, when the poor receive subsidies it is called aid. The role of citizenship in education has to grapple with these global complexities in order that future voting generations demand policies which have equality for all, irrespective of ethnicity, language, sex, religion or geographical location, at the heart of citizenship teaching.

Margot Brown, Centre for Global Education, May 2006


4. Participatory Methods Toolkit. A practitioner’s manual. New edition

To facilitate practical knowledge sharing, the King Baudouin Foundation and the Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment (viWTA), both based in Brussels and actively involved in participatory methods, decided to edit a publication with the ambition of creating a hands-on toolkit for setting up and managing participatory projects.

The original English edition of the toolkit first appeared in December 2003. The success of this edition motivated us to produce a second completely revised and enlarged edition. The core of the toolkit incorporates three additional in-depth fiches on participatory methods, giving a total of thirteen.

Per method there is a description of when to use the different steps, best practices and budget. All these are accompanied by different hints and tips. A chapter with general guidelines for using participatory methods includes a comparative chart of the methods discussed and a brief overview of fifty methods and techniques

The toolkit can be downloaded for free (in total or in parts) from the Foundation's website.


5. First Quality Assurance in EDC Project in Romania

TEHNE, Centre for Development and Innovation in Education (www.tehne.ro), an NGO based in Bucharest, is to run the first Quality Assurance in EDC Project targeting Romanian schools. The project is funded by the State Department (through the US Embassy in Bucharest) and will last from October 2006 to September 2007. Its main goal is to familiarise the educational community within six schools in Dimbovita county with the basic concepts, processes and procedures related to this theme as they are described in the Council’s of Europe Tool for QA of EDC in Schools published in 2005.
The activity will be run within the legal framework developed by the Ministry of Education and Research – which includes a law on QA, two special national agencies in charge of QA within schools, universities and various EU-funded projects on specific aspects of quality in education. At the same time the four Romanian trainers/facilitators will use some American and European grass roots level examples and the specific experience they have gained in thematic workshops and seminars.
The teachers and principals of the six participating (primary to secondary) schools from towns and rural areas will analyse the EDC reality and plan the development of their institutions base on the needs and resources of the respective schools and communities. The novelty of this project resides in the holistic approach to EDC at school level as well as the common/shared sense of ownership and responsibility (of the learning community within those schools) for the complex process of planning and implementing the EDC development.
Corina Leca, CRED, Romania


6. Preparations begin for EDC Action Days 2007 in Austria

Focal topic in 2007: Gender, Gender Equality, Gender Mainstreaming

On behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture the Austrian Centre for Citizenship Education in Schools is again inviting citizens to participate in the EDC Action Days 2007 between 23 April and 9 May. This successful initiative will take place for the fifth time in 2007 - and meanwhile the idea has also been taken up by Germany and Belgium. In 2007 gender justice will be the main focus for this period, beginning on World Book and Copyright Day (23 April) and ending on Europe Day (9 May).

Gender Equality is one of the ten key topics of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Work, income, money, power, influence, property, responsibilities and duties, education and career opportunities are unevenly distributed worldwide – regarding their distribution between North and South as well as their distribution between men and women. Gender justice - in particular as to the division of labour and responsibilities, access to resources, education and to political, economic and technological decision-making and design processes - is of great importance for sustainable development.
The curricula of most types of school in Austria include the educational principle of Education for Gender Equality. This complies with the principle of gender mainstreaming to which the EU and Austria’s federal government have committed themselves.
The main goal of the EDC Action Days is, within this particular timeframe, to carry out existing or planned projects, initiatives and ideas around education for democratic citizenship and to initiate other activities - putting a focus on the topics of gender and gender equality. Within these three weeks a broad range of events including workshops, exhibitions, films, continuing education events for civic educators, activities on commemoration days, school projects, radio broadcasts, theatre plays, publications, web presence and many more will illustrate the many and diverse approaches to gender and other aspects of citizenship.
“Learning and living democracy”, the motto of the Council of Europe’s programme on Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC), is also the guiding idea of the EDC Action Days and forms the basis for a wide range of topics for citizenship and human rights education, intercultural learning, global learning and peace education. And for all these areas the issue of gender justice is of major significance.
More information: Centre for Citizenship Education in Schools – Zentrum polis, Helferstorferstraße 5, 1010 Vienna
service@politik-lernen.at, www.politik-lernen.at, www.politische-bildung.schule.at, www.aktionstage.politische-bildung.at


7. DARE to be “normal”, genuine and simple!

Obviously, this article is a quite personal reading/perception of the last event held within DARE’s Grundtvig 4 project. It took place in Germany in August and aimed to evaluate the project. The means conceived by the organisers were artistic and collective rather than precise and individual. Consequently, there was quite a high risk of getting deeply subjective and of a chaotic range of opinions being expressed. As an active participant in two of the evaluation workshops I strongly believe that they were totally successful. The three workshops (producing a video and a painting or simulating theatre) gave us the chance to be sensitive thinking humans and express our feelings vis-à-vis a very serious issue - the efficiency of an EDC and HRE European network.
I felt inspired and motivated to put forward in colourful and vivid shapes my complicated (sometimes unusual or strange) thoughts as to what some professionals managed to do in their countries as a consequence of belonging to a European network. I did feel inspired by my colleagues and our facilitators/guides (the four artists) as well as the tasks as such to dig into the content of my thoughts and create both specific and universal images, gestures, suggestions, and ideas conveying the very complex dimensions of EDC and HRE as brought to life through DARE. By remaining closely committed to the core/flesh/heart of my EDC/HRE work I was able to use brushes, paint, and symbols to express my personal nature and to expose parts of my mind. This happened thanks to the very friendly, free, and still professional environment. I felt that the good mutual understanding we have built over four years of working together was the main source for the courage and hopefully freshness of my contribution to the two workshops.
Maybe sometimes the artistic dimension is not innate and it can come to life because of the environment (even if only for a moment). I want to believe that this was not only in my case (I am not the only person who lacks artistic gifts). I felt that I shared the joy, trust, comfort, and CREATION GRACE with my colleagues and we all produced some valuable pieces of truth if not works of art. I am very grateful to those who made possible the evaluation workshops (Andrea Stork, Hannelore Chiout, Katrina Wolf, Kristina Rahe, Axel Ranisch, Tanja Bubbel and so on) for getting the opportunity to act/perform as an artist for a second. I hope creative inspiration as artists will touch them all very frequently!

Yours gratefully,
Corina Leca, CRED, Romania


8. Brainpower and creative action in the Harz Mountains (Evaluation meeting for the DARE Grundtvig 4 project)

As a network needs discussion and meetings to deepen the understanding amongst us, our evaluation meeting at Sonnenberg (3rd to 6th of August 2006) was exactly this!
In the powerful and meaningful discussions one was aware of the diversity of competences and backgrounds of members from all over Europe – and all this happening in the deep, deep Harz mountains, with nature all around. People used the space we have here at Sonnenberg to split up into smaller groups to plan seminars, strategies how to develop our work together in Europe and to know more about the work of each other.

The first day people arrived from everywhere…searching their way through the dark wood to our conference centre – and we had the first “welcome” and speech from our chair, Hannelore Chiout. Second day, evaluation day: As we had planned beforehand, I gave a short introduction to the history of the Sonnenberg – the first international meetings took place in 1949, when Danish and German teachers met to create, after World War II, new beginnings for a tolerant, democratic Europe – and we are still on this way in our countrfy as it is a life-long learning process…!
As – at the time – we had received no news (today I CAN say no news are good news…as in the meantime since then we have been disappointed by Grundtvig 4 this time) about our application for the next period, we had a discussion about the future of DARE: How to go on, who would do what, what is important for each member, what could we do in our countries…
Afterwards our evaluator, Judith Neisse, gave us the chance to reflect on the process, aims and targets we have and had in our network – the results are clear: with a diversity of aims from each of us we built a network to sustain our work of human rights education and education for democratic citizenship!
From the afternoon on until Saturday evening we had the chance to use really wonderful techniques to evaluate our three years of working together within the DARE Grundtvig 4 project. Using such methods as theatre/role play, producing a video and painting a DARE evaluation picture all together, we were able to reflect what we did the last 3 years – guided by Kristina Rahe (theatre/role play), Tanja Bubbel/Axel Ranisch (video) and Torsten Prothmann (painting). They did a good job – with all the strong personalities and discussions we have in the DARE network. While preparing the role play, for example, we discussed how to become more visible on political platforms and whilst painting we discussed how to work together efectively being so far away from one another and needing to know more of one another’s work. And, at the end, our closing session on the last evening featured speeches and presentations of picture, video and power point presentation, an encounter with members of the ‘Afrikanischer Verein’ from Braunschweig, more talk and communication - and dancing.

During the whole meeting, I was aware of plenty of other plans the DARE members considered in smaller groups, outside the official programe. It was great to see, that the motto of Sonnenberg – talk together, overcome prejudices, understand one another, act responsibly – was flowing in the pure, Harz mountain air and the hearts of us, the DARE members!

Thanks for your presence – and let´s go on building, using the strength we have brought together in the DARE network!

Andrea Stork, Sonnenberg-Kreis e.V.


9. European Youth Speak project

HREA and the International Debate Education Association (IDEA) have joined forces in a new project to foster European citizenship. The “European Youth Speak” project is implemented by HREA and IDEA together with debate organisations in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia, with the aim to develop debate clubs and public debate about the European Union. The one-year project is financed with an EC “Promotion of Active European Citizenship” grant.

The objectives of the European Youth Speak project are:
We aim to reach those objectives through various activities:
The project will conclude with a conference in Amsterdam in March 2007, which will bring together teachers, NGO workers and students involved in the project and will focus on how European ideas and policies can be communicated and shared with European citizens and how they can be involved in the process of shaping the future of Europe.
For more information: Anne-Marie Eekhout, HREA


10. Euroweaving project
Euroweaving is a Socrates/Accompanying Measures project which aims at developing practice-oriented guidance and training materials for Grundtvig and Comenius network actors on how to design, plan and manage successful European networks in education.
Responding to several requests from European Commission officials, the Euroweaving team produced a document with 10 preliminary recommendations on the implementation of networks in the new generation of funding programmes. The recommendations are based on interviews with current network actors.
The document can be downloaded.
The Euroweaving Team


This newsletter is edited by the DARE project, 'Democracy and Human Rights Education in Adult Learning', which receives funding from the European Community (Socrates programme, Grundtvig action).
The DARE project is an initiative of the network DARE vzw, Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe, and is distributed to the project partners, the DARE members and to interested third persons, organisations and institutions.

Editor Wim Taelman
DARE, c/o VORMEN vzw
Lange Gasthuisstraat 29
B-2000 Antwerp (Belgium)

Contributions for this newsletter can be sent to: wim.taelman@vormen.org

DARE correspondence address (project and network):

Hannelore CHIOUT
DARE network chairperson
Mühlendamm 3
D-10178 Berlin, Germany
Tel.: 00-49-30-400 401 17
Fax: 00-49-30-400 401 22
E-mail: chiout@adbildungsstaetten.de
Url: www.dare-network.org
Persons, organisations and institutions who are interested in e-DARE can subscribe to it by sending an e-mail message to wim.taelman@vormen.org
If you want to unsubscribe to e-DARE, send a message containing the e-mail address to wim.taelman@vormen.org