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Community-based learning for sustainable development - UIL Policy Brief 8

  • March 2017

Local communities have an indispensable role to play in supporting people’s learning and development and in creating societies that are engaged, inclusive and sustainable. Community-based learning strengthens bonds across generations, promotes agency and self-reliance, and fosters social cohesion, thus encouraging active citizenship and a sense of ownership of a community’s future. Moreover, it enables the exchange of information and the development of skills necessary in tackling the challenges of today’s rapidly changing world, ultimately contributing in a very significant way to sustainable development at local level.

To stress to policymakers and other stakeholders the wide and far-reaching benefits of community-based learning, particularly in the light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has published a new policy brief, Community-based learning for sustainable development. This policy brief, co-published with the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, advances six principles of action to develop the role of community learning centres (CLCs) as the main delivery mechanism for community-based learning: responding, engaging, enabling, embedding, sustaining and transforming. Furthermore, to allow CLCs to put these principles into practice in a holistic and integrated manner, the paper proposes four policy recommendations for local and national governments to:

  • provide dedicated resources for community-based learning;
  • create mechanisms for partnerships and networking opportunities;
  • organize ongoing capacity-building to ensure well-qualified and trained staff and volunteers;
  • support learning content development.

These action principles and policy recommendations draw on UIL’s 2015 publication, Communities in Action: Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development, as well as the outcomes of 2014 Kominkan-CLC International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development. This policy brief offers a short, practical guide, aimed at policy makers and other stakeholders, to realizing the potential of community-based learning in order to achieve education for sustainable development for all.



  • Author/Editor: UIL
  • Community-based learning for sustainable development - UIL Policy Brief 8
  • UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning - 2017
  • Available in: English, French, Spanish, Russian