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vol 3 • 2009


An experience of cooperation within the educational scope of popular education and literacy


Sebastián Parra
Paulo Freire Institute of Spain


1. Why are we so interested in the international cooperation of the scope of education?

  • Because of militant vocation, politically and educationally.
  • Because we need to give new and creative responses to the extraordinary challenge that we face from the new migrations in Catalonia and Spain.
  • Because we think that today Latin America and especially Nicaragua is a source of teaching in the subject of popular education and literacy.

2. And it’s because Europe teaches us very little… Because we think that...

  • Our pedagogy has too much rhetoric and little engagement.
  • European education has been proactively adapted to neoliberal economic and social politics (the hegemony of the market has constructed the collective ‘idiot’), which promotes the inequality and corruption of education itself.
  • The literacy and the education of adults in the Spanish State, which is what we know best, is living a pedagogical and political crisis, long and progressive and it seems it will never reach the end. As well as this, they have lost their historical memory...

Therefore: We need urgently to look outside ourselves...

3. Literacy: Why? Many reasons justify the cooperation with the literacy of Nicaragua.

Because literacy...

  • Is the motor for human development, and human development is the foundation for sustainable economic development.
  • It is the satisfaction of a human right.
  • It is essential for the construction of a democratic society (do you realise that a democratic society is not possible with illiterate people?).
  • It is an ethical duty in the struggle for justice, equality and solidarity.

Why Nicaragua? For historical reasons…

General Sandino, the military who defeated and threw out the American marines that invaded Nicaragua and Carlos Fonseca Amador, founder of the National Liberation Front of Sandinista (FSLN), that overthrew the dictatorship of Somoza the pro imperialist and left the legacy “and also teach them to read”. Are inspirators of the big National Crusade for Literacy (CNA) of 1980, and the declaration of the department of River San Juan Free Territory of Illiteracy, 1987, (winners of the UNESCO international award ‘Nadiezca Krupskaya’).

These are examples of the rich and tough struggle for the eradication of illiteracy that continues today through the work of the Carlos Fonseca Amador Association of Popular Education (AEPCFA) presided by Orlando Pineda Flores, the teacher Pineda...

  • For political reasons…

    Literacy is revolution, Bolivarian Alternative of America, ALBA...

  • For educational reasons…

    The pedagogical model is integral to the production of health and the environment.

4. Nicaragua, today like yesterday, is a rich source of teaching... For example:

  • When young people “fall in love” they are motivated and will actively engage in services to the community.
  • They live for the pedagogy not by the pedagogy.
  • The pedagogy and literacy is constructed starting from the vision of the suffering of the poor, to leave their poverty and dependence: The human sciences are not neutral they are never neutral.
  • Necessity of a new profile and new attitudes of the educator(s): A complete teacher who is engaged.
  • The most important is not the method but to know “love” and be engaged.
  • Popular participation is the first requirement for literacy.
  • The necessity for systemisation and permanent evaluation of the process.
  • The importance of the strategies of popular communication and the direction of campaigns.
  • The necessary function and necessity of the binomial “learning from the reading-writing and praxis of transformation.
  • The political content of literacy, critical, collective reading and transformation of the world.
  • The necessity, the urgency, the justice and value of literacy: a constant universe... made with internationalism.
  • The education of the hope, the value of the effect, of the humility and the solidarity.
  • The special attention of the people with a different capacity, deprived of liberty or with other difficulties to the hour they incorporate to the processes of literacy and post literacy.
  • The importance of the public consciousness, the moral encouragement, and the best self esteem and self confidence of the people who participate.
  • The literacy how it drives the human development necessary after the economic development and non dependent culture.
  • The focus of gender and the priority of literacy of women.
  • Literacy to preserve the mother tongue language in cultural communities.
  • Like the struggle training also, to make of this, from the struggle, a educational “place”.
  • “The solidarity is the tenderness of the people” (Its not a set phrase).
  • The education that has dreams…

5. The Partner in Nicaragua: AEPCFA, Carlos Fonseca Amador Association of Popular Education (Nicaragua)

  • A non-governmental organisation without profit with the strategic objective: To eradicate illiteracy in Nicaragua through literacy and Popular Education for the benefit of the marginalised people.
  • It was created with a working team on the 22nd March 1980 who participated in the ‘Big National Cross of Literacy’. On 26th February 1990 they confirmed the Association of Popular Education “Carlos Fonseca Amador” to give continuity to the Pedagogical Model of Popular Education directly related with the production 's modernization, the preservation of health and the conservation of the environment.
  • They think that today the eradication of illiteracy in Nicaragua will not be an easy task.
  • Nicaragua has suffered, 16 years of neoliberal government (1990-2006), causing a backward step in education. The statistics show the existence of 35% illiteracy and one million children of school age are not going to school.

6. The method of literacy: “Yes, I can do it”

  • Political Framework: ALBA, Alternative Bolivarian for America, alternative to the ALCA, Area of Free Commerce of the Americas. ALBA is a historical project that responded to the old and permanent confrontation between the Latin American Nations of the Caribbean and Imperialism. Mongolism versus Bolivianism. It’s a proposal of Latin American liberation and integration confronting a project of imperialist domination, looting and robbery.
  • Pedagogical Framework: Popular Education... Alternative popular education to capitalist education. ONLY THE PEOPLE CAN SAVE (EDUCATION, LITERACY) THE PEOPLE. Popular Education is a process of education and training from the perspective and commitment with people (working class, peasants, students, women etc.). The objective, through organised action, is to break the schemes of domination and oppression to construct a new society that agrees with the interests of the people.


  • Creation: April 2001, Leonela Relys Diaz, participant in the National Campaign of Cuban Literacy, member of the IPLAC, Latin America Pedagogical Institute and of the Caribbean.
  • Principal validation: July 2003, Mission Robinson, Yes, I can do it in Venezuela – 28th October 2005:Venezuela is declared a free territory of illiteracy after 1, 482 543 people become literate (The process continued: Mission Robinson 11, to follow Yes, I can do it, post literacy, until 6th grade, secondary school course, Mission Sucre, university studies).
  • Internationalisation: 1st world wide Conference of Literacy, Habana, Cuba, 31st January – 4th December 2005.
  • Actual experiences more emblematic: Nicuragua (Spanish, miskito and other languages) and Bolivia (Spanish, aymara, quecha and guarani).
  • Characteristics: Audio visual methods (radio and video-television), rapid (between 8-10 weeks) and minimum cost (Emphasis: Relation nemotechnic number-letter and literacy in the framework of a television series).

“Yes, I can do it” in Nicuragua: AEPFCA and city councils

  • Pilot, 2005, population attended: 2029 people (1287 women and 751 men).
  • Generalisation: until 5th November 2006 (1 year), 101 towns and 68, 730 people made literate.
  • Most significant dates: 17th July 2007: Managua declared first capital of Central America free from illiteracy.

7. The cooperation with the literacy of Nicuragua: a process of integration of different agencies

The four mechanisms of cooperation:

  • City Councils: Sisterly (Spain –Nicuragua) and local coordination (between mayors office and Nicaraguans and public organisations of cooperation of the municipal scope, for example the Catalan Funds of Cooperation for Development, FCCD).
  • Civil Society: Platform for a Nicuragua free of illiteracy, that integrates the House of Nicuragua, The AEPCFA of Barcelona and the ONGD who cooperate with Nicuragua).
  • Organised Coordination/European Governments: European office of cooperation with the literacy of Nicuragua.
  • Universities: Network University “Yes, I can do it” www.udg.edu/cooperacio/ -link Nicaragua Literacy.
  • Constitution of Assembly: University of Girona, 21.2.07

    Integration (initially, for 21 members: 19 Spanish universities and Nicaraguans and two teaching institutions:

    • Universities: Autonomous University of Barcelona (Central), Carlos III University (Madrid), Alicante University, Barcelona University (Autónoma) , Cadiz University, Girona University, Granada University, University of Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean COSAT – URACCAN, Valencia University, Zaragoza University, University of the Basque Country/ Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, University Jaume I (Castellón de la Plana), National University Agraria – UNA – Nicaragua, National Autonomous University of Nicaragua – UNAN - Managua, University of National Engineering – UNI – Nicaragua, Open University of Catalonia, University Polytechnic of Catalonia. University Polytechnic of Nicaragua – UPOLI, University Rovira I Virgili (Tarragona).
    • Teaching Institutions: Association of Popular Education Carlos Fonseca Amador – AEPCFA, Institute of Paulo Freire Spain – IPF
    • Initial Plan of work

      Areas of work: 1. Access to energy, 2. People with disability, 3. People without freedom, 4. Atlantic coast – Rio San Juan, 5. Prevention of illiteracy/universal access to education, 6. To follow - Yes, I can do it For Health 7. To follow – Yes, I can do it - Environment, 8. Other actions: Network - Presidency.

      Scope: 1 Formation and sensitivity, 2. Investigation, 3. Transference of knowledge and technology, 4. Other actions of supporting literacy.

  • General Assembly II, Managua (Nicaragua) 16th to 18th July 07

    Approval of : Network functioning’s Guide , work's planning 2007-2009 and declaration of Managua to integrate 8 new universities (2 Spanish and 6 Nicaraguan): Public University of Navarre – UPNA, University of Lleida (Spain), National Autonomous University of Nicaragua – UNAN-Leon, University of Central America – UCA, Rivas International School of Agriculture & Livestock – EIAG, University of Managua – UofM, Bluefields, Indians and Caribbean University – BICU & University of the Americas – ULAM (Nicaragua).

    The assembly approved a modification in rules regulations of functioning to permit the incorporation of European, Latin American and Caribbean Universities.

The Red University “Yes, I can do it” Actually integrates a total of 29 members: 27 Universities (16 Spanish and 11 Nicaraguan) and two institutions (IPF Spain and AEPCFA of Nicaragua).

8. Our project priorities in the cooperation with literacy in Nicaragua

  • Preserve the memory and continue the fall in love: Museum of Literacy.
  • Assume the challenge of literacy in a frame of respect to the integrity and multicultural: Literacy in the autonomous regions of the Caribbean coast in their own language: Misquito, Mayangna, Cróele etc.
  • And after the literacy, what? Post literacy… After “Yes, I can do it” (literacy) the “Yes, I can do it To Follow” (4th level) and the “Yes I Want To Follow” – Rural Schools (Special attention to the formation that permits the modernization of agriculture and livestock (farming).

9. More information

Translation by Louise J. Cowe


N. 3 • 2009

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N. 3 • 2009