Successful 10 Week Community Education Programme
Over 10 weeks in autumn 2021 the Market Development Association hosted a series of talks as part of our Community Education Programme. The programme kicked off on the 14th September, with Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey MLA giving an introduction and overview of the work that has been done following the launch of the We Must Dissent: A Framework for Community Renewal report, as well as the showing of the accompanying films.
The following week we delved into the origins and history of the Market from the late 18th Century, through redevelopment in the 1970’s and 1980’s, right up to the present day through film and photographs. In week 3 we were joined by Prof. Colin Harvey discuss the origins and development of Human Rights, and how we as residents could use them to challenge systemic inequality and improve our lives.
Following the first few introductory weeks we began to look at the key human rights indicators set out in the We Must Dissent report, and over the course of the next 6 weeks we began to look in depth at each of the key issues – Overdevelopment, Road Safety, Housing, Health, Education and Work. Each week we had a number of leading experts in their fields, such as Prof. Kathryn Higgins (QUB) speaking at the Health talk around addiction, particularly its effect on young people, or Cáral Ní Chuilín talking about the work she is involved in as both a grass roots activist and a former housing minister to deliver more housing.
The Final week of the programme we invited Dr. Micheal Pierse (QUB) and Deirdre Hargey MLA in to discuss the issues of class, inequality, and power, and how community activism can help challenge and overcome the fundamental inequalities facing our people.
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The programme as a whole was very successful, and it was fantastic to see many new faces who may not have been involved with community activism looking to get involved. The Community Education Programme was designed in order for us to educate and equip ourselves with the skills in each of the core issues which impact our lives so that we could proactively try and find solutions, and to be able to argue our case.
Following these talks the MDA will be forming working groups around each of the key areas outlined in the We Must Dissent: A Framework for Community Renewal report. Each working group will be made up of residents, MDA staff and committee, relevant experts, and key stakeholders in the area. The working groups will implement action plans to address the problems we as a community face.