Goodbye DEEEP

8 December 2015

By Tobias Troll (DEEEP project manager), with text elements from the DEEEP final evaluation report by Johannes Krause

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The DEEEP project will finish in December 2015 after having provided support to the European development education community over 12 years. This is the end of an era, but also the start of a new phase of addressing global citizenship and public engagement for global justice through the new CONCORD strategy. What have we learned from this journey? What will remain?

DEEEP has been existing for 12 years as European Commission funded project of CONCORD’s Development Awareness Raising and Education Forum (DARE Forum) with four project phases of three years each: from DEEEP1 to DEEEP4.

Initially, DEEEP was established as a platform for European civil society actors active in Development Education and Awareness Raising (DEAR). Traditionally, its mission has been to support DEAR actors through co-ordination, capacity building, advocacy and communication work at European level. However, the DARE Forum and the consortium of CSOs managing the last DEEEP project added significant innovations and modifications to the role and mission of DEEEP, and its ambition and scope went far beyond the usual DEEEP1, 2 and 3 functions.

DEEEP4 started with the highly ambitious intention to reconceptualise DEAR as Global Citizens Empowerment for Systemic Change. DEEEP4 produced a considerable amount of activities and outputs (over 100 single activities including trainings, conferences, advocacy processes and publications, all of which are accessible in the DEEEP online and offline library, which will move to the CONCORD website in a few months).
But beyond this, DEEEP4 had the ambition to fundamentally change DEAR and its context in manifold ways:
– DEEEP attempted to radicalise and politicise the DEAR and development discourse by reframing this work as an endeavour for system change, radically questioning the dominant economic system and Western culture.
– DEEEP set out to move DEAR out of its cosy niche and to build cross-sectoral alliances for citizen empowerment by linking with wider areas of education, activism, social movements and global networks for change.
– DEEEP got engaged in a process of building a global coalition in the perspective of a world citizens’ movement (see global conferences). This idealistic and highly ambitious, probably in parts overambitious agenda made the special charm of the project.

This endeavour was at the same time fascinating and challenging, sometimes over-challenging. It generated moments of extraordinary passion and flow – and moments of deep frustration. The key contradiction built into DEEEP4 was the inherent opposition between its ambition (transformative system change) and its realisation (the fact that it was part of the very system it was criticising and challenging). This paradox – and the dedication of the key people shaping the project – characterised DEEEP4, gave it its magic and created the wealth of experiences and results, successes and failures, moments of enthusiasm and of confusion which made DEEEP4 a unique adventure.

If you want to go deeper into these aspects, we invite you to read Johannes Krause’ final project evaluation. In its inspiring report, our “critical friend” has qualitatively addressed the changes which have occurred throughout the project and reflected on the challenges faced.

DEEEP is ending, but the work on global citizenship “towards a world citizens’ movement” is more relevant than ever. An increasing number of actors, including CONCORD, recognised that thinking in terms of “North” and “South” or other traditional development paradigms won’t help us to address the multiple global and systemic crises we are facing as humanity: NGOs, movements, people from all over the world have to work together on a joint and multi-dimensional agenda, that does not know “single issues”. We cannot address global poverty without talking about climate justice, peace, migration, feminism or trade. DEEEP has made a modest contribution to raise awareness on the systemic and transformational challenges. We are confident that the DARE Forum and CONCORD will take on this endeavour. But first of all we are grateful for the multitude of inspiring encounters over these years, and the friendships that have emerged from these. Development is first of all about people. And this is what DEEEP was also all about. People have the power to change the course.