Our learning processes are focused on generating spaces for reflection on one or more thematic axes from the reality of the community and its territory. Learning is not “teaching”. For us, learning is always bi-directional; we use the tools of Popular Education to facilitate reflection from co-research. In the long term, our objective is to strengthen the pedagogical skills of our partners in the territory, so that they too can lead their own learning processes with communities. To date, we have facilitated learning processes in the areas of associativity and self-management, gender equity, and energy sovereignty.
¿What is Popular Education?
“Educación Popular” is a pedagogical methodology, developed by the Brazilian Paulo Freire in the 1960s. It is based on four central axes:
- Critique and dialectic: It has the objective of transforming the subject, by generating the conditions to discover oneself in one’s own context.
- Context: The subject is always in relation to its social context.
- Method: The method used must correspond to the subject’s reality, taking methods from orality and empirical learning.
- Praxis: All theory in education must have practical consequences.
Community Re-existence: Energy Transition, Sovereignty and Gender
Together with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Colombia, the Colectivo Hombres y Masculinidades, the Universidad del Magdalena, and the Technical University of Berlin, RICO is developing a virtual pedagogy with four communities in Colombia, affected by the current mining and energy model. Starting from three axes of analysis: (1) New Masculinities, (2) Territory, and (3) Community Sovereignty, the process seeks to generate a reflection on energy alternatives that can be consolidated by and with the communities in the medium and long term. This process has been carried out in the communities of La Sierra (Cesar), Monguí (Boyacá), Provincial and Hatonuevo (La Guajira).
Community-based & self-managed Solar Power
Together with the Observatory of Political Ecology of Venezuela, and with the support of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Andean Region, RICO developed a methodology for face-to-face learning with communities about solar energy. The process emphasizes reflection on basic concepts such as ‘energy’ and ‘work’, which allows the discussion to be situated in the realities of the territory. From this common base, an analysis of the functioning of the energy system at the macro level is made, culminating in the establishment and execution of a roadmap for the implementation of solar power in community processes. Participants also receive training in the technical, economic and legal areas of community-based energy generation.
In addition to our long term processes, which consist of several working sessions, RICO also offers short workshops of one to three hours. So far, we have developed workshops with different communities in Berlin, Leipzig and Hüll (Germany), Caracas (Venezuela) and Bogotá (Colombia). In these workshops, we experiment with different dynamics, either face-to-face or virtual, according to the priorities of the community, in order to generate reflections on our relationships as men and women, and our link with the territory. This discussion is developed at the same time as working relationships are strengthened. If you are interested in the work we do, and would like to find out about the possibility of giving a workshop in your community – e.g. neighbourhood, circle of friends, company – please contact us! We can discuss priorities and see how to accommodate a space.