Act locally, think globally: The global dimensions of local learning

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The concrete actions we take during a workshop, training, or conference have either a positive or negative global impact. While many actions aim to improve something, in our experience, the result is often the unwitting abuse of people in other regions.

Imagine that you are organizing a training, meeting, or conference about your local environment health care situation, or educational system. In the preparation phase, you ordered some nice t-shirts and tote bags with your logo on them as promotional items to give away. The global impact of this local event is connected to the production of the cotton used in the shirts and the bags.

Although you are organizing an event to support the environment, health care, or education, your event might have negative effects on a global level, which is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve. In this case, you could reduce the negative effects and even contribute to the global good by using fair-trade, organic cotton. Fair-trade items ensure that farmers receive a stable, usually higher salary than normal; organic cotton reduces the use of water and the amount of pesticides.[1]


Source: Facilitator handbook #1 Steps toward action[2]


  1. Making a simple pair of jeans takes around 8,000 liters of water. , Feb. 4th, 2016
  2. M. Gawinek-Dagargulia, E. Skowron, N. Zimmermann (Ed.): Steps toward Action; Empowerment for self-responsible initiative; Help your learners to discover their vision and to turn it into concrete civic engagement; Facilitator Handbook #1; MitOst Editions 2016

Matthias Haberl

Matthias Haberl.jpg

Project manager for the Austrian development organisation Südwind, freelance trainer, facilitator and author of handbooks and on Competendo.



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Global Youth Work

Activities for Global Citizenship

Scotdec and partners from C.E.G.A (Bulgaria), JKC (Lithuania), Future Worlds Centre (Cyprus), Südwind Agentur (Austria) and MTÜ Mondo (Estonia): Read more




Handbook Empowerment-book-cover.png

M. Gawinek-Dagargulia, E. Skowron,
N. Zimmermann

Steps toward action

Handbooks for Facilitators #1: Read more