A scholar-activist’s heretic attempts to “eradicate poverty” from a Southern perspective, through disruptive Global Youth Work
This paper mainly addresses the reflections, observations and analysis of a scholar-activist, engrossed in challenging intractable international development issues, through the use of a Global Youth Work pedagogic approach. Using the main frameworks of Global Youth Work, scholar-activism, positionality/situatedness and decolonisation, this paper challenges the “missionary position” and “pornography of poverty” approach of some organisations both in the North and South, consciously or unconsciously working and collaborating towards the amelioration of the human condition. There are two main factors that influence my situatedness: given the structural violence that can be generated by knowledge production and configuration from a universally configured orthodoxy in the Development Education/Global Cooperation field that now requires the reimagination of “epistemologies of the South” as responses, which are “credible and visible” (de Sousa Santos, 2014). The second essential stance is my emersion in practice as a scholar-activist who is not only captivated by the process of theoretical knowledge production, but also in heretic and counter-orthodoxy approaches to challenging and changing the world, in practice. The focus of the Agenda 2030 on “eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions” and the reason d’etre of Global Youth Work (Sallah, 2014) of provoking consciousness and taking action, therefore underpins this paper; especially in the promotion of sustainable development. The main focus and lenses through which I do this is the Global Hands project, set up as a charity in The Gambia and a social enterprise in the UK, by former students of De Montfort University in the UK, whose mission is to build capacity and operationalise the dual mandate of Global Youth Work: to provoke consciousness; and to support those affected to take action (Sallah, 2014). Utilising a range of Global Youth Work interventions and case studies such as developing Africa’s first solar-powered taxi service; developing a self-sustaining intervention in its capacity building hub in The Gambia by Global Education actors from the UK with collaborators in The Gambia; running a number of public campaigns, for example, on the “backway” (“illegal” youth migration from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe via the Sahara desert). In this paper, I will explore collaborations, spaces generated, principles and tensions beyond theoretical considerations and their operationalisation in practice. This paper will uniquely contribute to a greater understanding of the interplay between theory and practice, as well as disrupt the colonial lenses and dependency approaches of some organisations that sometimes disempower, instead of rebalancing power and addressing injustice and structural inequality.
open access journal
Citation : Sallah, M. (2020) A scholar-activist’s heretic attempts to “eradicate poverty” from a Southern perspective, through disruptive Global Youth Work. Sinergias - Diálogos educativos para a transformação social, June 2020 (10), pp. 13-28.
ISSN : ISSN 2183-4687
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : Yes