As the closing event to the 2019 Adult Learners' Festival, AONTAS held an International Women's Day Policy Event: The Impact of Community Education on the Lives of Women at the Richmond Education and Event Centre in Smithfield.
The event highlighted the value of community education for learners and wider society and fostered discussion around developing a sustainable national funding strategy to ensure that we continue to support the most vulnerable people and communities across Ireland.
The day involved a dynamic range of speakers and discussion sessions, including: a panel discussion with four female learners, Avril Hannifin, Maria O’Reilly, Louise Finnegan and Njabuliso Angela Moyo who shared their experiences of community education and the extraordinary impact it has had on their lives; short TED Talk-style inputs on various benefits and roles of community education from wellbeing to inclusion given by Tara Farrell (Longford Women’s Link), Eileen Chan-Hu (CRAICNI), Assumpta Kelly (North Leitrim Women’s Centre), Liz Waters (An Cosán), Alice McDonnell (Transformative Recovery College) and Nora Fahy (Roscommon Women’s Network); table discussions on developing a national funding strategy; and presentations from Liam McCarthy of SHEP, AONTAS CEO Niamh O’Reilly and Véronique Halbart and Michèle Mombeek of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles in French-speaking Belgium on models of community education and funding from regional, national and European perspectives.
The event succeeded in highlighting the importance of community education in the lives of women, families and communities and generated engaged discussion between learners, practitioners and policy makers on how we can work towards a sustainable national community education funding strategy. You can access the policy day discussion paper by clicking here.