When in the late 60s and particularly in the early 70's a boom of popular struggles had place in Latin America and national and social liberation objectives arose, Popular Education
appeared emphasizing the political dimension of educational work.
The political purpose of Popular Education seeks to take every opportunity to create attitudes and behaviors capable of carrying people‘s organizations and their interests to a higher levels of political action, and to develop their critical thinking, autonomy and creativity. As a continuous and systematic process, education implies and involves two poles: existing reality / action and reflection on that reality and practices that the group or organization, which will benefit from the Popular Education program, carries out Permanent Education is related to adult education and educational work with the people.
Both experiences had better results outside the educational institutions (in what is now called non-formal education). Values, skills and knowledge quickly become obsolete, however a proposal of permanent education would not be enough; changes in the way of thinking and facing the World and History are also required.
In this context, Socio-Cultural Animation emerges as a form of socio-pedagogical action which, without having a defined role profile, is focused on interaction and active participation. These processes are guided by operating principles which act to create spaces for interpersonal communication, avoiding all sort of manipulation. These principles do not order nor control, they help the Organization: they do not direct nor guide but they encourage every member to have a main role in the form they prefer and at their own pace.
Socio-cultural animation tends to create sensitization processes, to encourage motivation and promote participants’ control of processes and actions to satisfy some needs that they would not be able to satisfy as individuals or as community-based organizations due to our way of life.
In the past 20 years this technique has been incorporated by many organizations as a sector of intervention. Some duties such as promoting, developing, encouraging people, raising concerns, stimulating behaviors and finding latent skills in individuals, and within groups and communities, seem to be specific of this area.
Cultural Development Workshops, Permanent Education Workshops, Community Service Workshops and Training and Promotion Plans for Local Development can be found among socio-cultural animation programs.
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