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From local to national and international

Working with the people at the grassroots is the basis of the right to education. This is the best and most sustainable way to ensure an active and empowered community, which will demand quality education from their government. In addition, grassroots experience enhances the impact and legitimacy of work undertaken at national and international levels. It provides the evidence from which to develop policy positions and make claims, and ensures that work at all levels is responding to the real needs of those living in poverty.

Working across all levels requires respect for different perspectives, clear roles and space for all to play to their strengths. It requires recognition of the different knowledge and skills that each person or organisation brings. It needs collaboration, not competition, and a constant awareness of, and strategies to minimise, potential conflicts and unequal power relations. Fundamentally, this relies on excellent systems of information flow and communication, as well as transparent and accountable decision-making processes. All this is easier said than done, and achieving this synergy requires commitment.

At the local level people should be:

Reflecting on and analysing their context, drawing on local realities and information accessed from partner organisations at national and international levels;

Developing strategic action plans, targeting individual, community and local actions, based on in-depth analysis;

Building partnerships, mobilising others and developing networks;

Researching and generating evidence (which can be used locally and nationally);

Communicating at local, national and international levels, through written documentation, as well as using oral and visual media;

Linking with government, media and other powerful actors.

At national and international levels people should be:

Taking a lead from, and supporting the local process; and expanding the policy-influencing space, to ensure local voices will be heard at national level;

Making information accessible, through translating, simplifying and producing alternative materials and using diverse communication media;

Developing relationships with government, media, academics and other powerful actors;

Organising public events, focused meetings and conferences: creating public awareness and mobilising;

Transforming locally-generated information into evidence-based policy, as well as coordinating additional research to strengthen local analysis;

Working in coalitions with other civil society actors.