People from the Church, and the development and education worlds saw a demonstration of the project which has been developed by Anglican Alliance Director Sally Keeble and Open University lecturer Francis Cattermole.
They heard from Archbishop Rowan how important it was that people should be the agents of the development of their communities, and how the Agents of Change programme provided the tools for that.
Baroness Lindsay Northover, a Minister at the UK’s Department for International Development, set out the UK Government’s commitment to international development, and especially to education. And she also gave her support to the programme which is currently being piloted in Zambia, Kenya, Fiji, Bangladesh and Guyana.
Mr Rajay Naik, the director of government relations at The Open University, spoke about the important role that faith-based organisations have to play in the world, and gave a very strong endorsement to the programme from the University.
Sally Keeble, Anglican Alliance director, said that Agents of Change programme had developed out of consultations round the world to provide skills for Anglicans who are already involved in development work, or who want to set up a project to meet the needs of their local community.
She also paid tribute to the Lambeth Partners, Prof Myles Wickstead, formerly head of the Africa Commission, and development educationalist Neil Kemp for the support they had given in the development of the programme.
The Open University’s Francis Cattermole gave the audience a quick tour of the programme, demonstrating the module on consultation, and showing some of the different teaching methods and resources used. He also explained the use of the workbook for students to record their learning and share with their mentors.
A student’s perspective came from Revd Edwin Mwanza in Lusaka, who told the audience that the Agents of Change programme would help to make community developments more effective by providing practical skills. He also spoke out about the challenges facing his community where children often have to travel many kilometres a day to get to school, and many of them drop out.
Agents of Change has met with an enthusiastic response, and after the initial round of pilots a second round will be set up focussing especially on conflict affected countries and island or other remote locations. All of the applications that have been made for pilots will be met – although the Alliance is asking for people to be a bit patient while it deals with the very high level of demand.