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We Learnt a Lot: Challenges and Learning Experiences in a Southern African—North European Municipal Partnership on Education for Sustainable Development

by Kerstin Sonesson 1,2,*,† and Birgitta Nordén 2,*,†
1
Faculty of Humanities, Sports and Educational Science, University of South-Eastern Norway, N-3679 Notodden, Norway
2
Faculty of Education and Society, Malmö University, SE-20506 Malmö, Sweden
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Co-first author, these authors contributed equally to this work.
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8607; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208607
Received: 15 September 2020 / Revised: 12 October 2020 / Accepted: 15 October 2020 / Published: 17 October 2020
This study investigates a reciprocal partnership between two cities in Namibia and Sweden to deepen the understanding of challenges and learning outcomes in a project on education for sustainable development. Since 2008, two municipalities have developed a strong partnership via The Municipal Partnership Programme at the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy. Municipal partnerships are results-oriented collaborations in joint projects on sustainability. The purpose is to describe how eight team members in the mutual South-North project, by addressing similar problems in different contexts, experienced challenges in the implementation of the project plan, solutions and learning processes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at the end of the second project year. Transcripts and field notes were analysed using a phenomenographic approach and contextual analysis. Five main categories of description based on collective statements and three dimensions of learning were recognised in the research data. The analysis identifies strategies for critical knowledge formation and capability building to support mutual learning in South-North Municipal Partnerships. The concluding discussion spots the learning dimensions—how sharing experiences by justifying non-formal and transformational learning promotes organisations’ readiness for knowledge formation by conducting mutual global learning towards sustainable development goals. View Full-Text
Keywords: education for sustainable development; global development; global learning; Municipal Partnership Programme; mutual South-North partnership; non-formal learning; SDG 17; transformational learning education for sustainable development; global development; global learning; Municipal Partnership Programme; mutual South-North partnership; non-formal learning; SDG 17; transformational learning
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Sonesson, K.; Nordén, B. We Learnt a Lot: Challenges and Learning Experiences in a Southern African—North European Municipal Partnership on Education for Sustainable Development. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8607.

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