AN APPROACH TO CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO.
The People’s Health Watch looks at a broad interpretation of the factors that impact on our health, as do many other organisations including Health Poverty Action. Consequently, what gets taught in schools, as well as what is not taught, is relevant to our health.
This entry from Health Poverty Action provides an example of an approach to challenge the status quo that can be adopted for working across different sectors.
Global Poverty and its Colonial Roots: A Re-education
This has been a year like no other. The Black Lives Matter movement has added to the existing urgency to re-examine what young people are taught in schools, what is left out of their education and the reasons why.
At Health Poverty Action we believe that the truth of the legacy of colonialism is sidestepped when the British Empire is taught. And we think that understanding how poverty is created and maintained is the first step to addressing it.
That’s why we have developed a radical new lesson plan, to teach 16-18 year olds about the truth of colonialism, and how it continues to shape poverty and inequality in the world today.
Our lesson has been downloaded by schools up and down the country and as far away as New Zealand and Mexico.
We want young people to be equipped with an understanding that poverty and inequality is a result of power dynamics and decisions taken by people, countries and corporations. So they can take action to address the root causes of poverty.
Mechanisms for maintaining power that were established during colonial times still exist, such a debt, global tax avoidance, international trade deals, the war on drugs, and plundering natural resources.
For example, West Africa loses around $1.3 billion because of illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing every year conducted by foreign and national fleets. Similarly, $17.1 billion is lost through illegal logging in Africa every year with many foreign firms taking advantage of corrupt permit system
With this free participatory lesson Health Poverty Action wants to champion the histories that have been side-lined.
In the UK 86.2% of students learnt about the Tudors while only 7.6% learnt about the British colonisation of Africa.
In terms of what is relevant today, we do not think that Henry and his many wives always need to take the limelight .
Author: Health Poverty Action
You can find out more about Health Poverty Action's work on Global Poverty and it's Colonial Roots here.
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