Introduction to SELL
WHAT IS THIS PROGRAMME?
The Sharing Education and Learning for Life programme is a participatory adult formation programme that aims at developing life building skills in young adults. It is rooted in a profound respect for the person and desires to see people cultivate a culture of peace within themselves and in community. SELL adopts the philosophy of education of the Brazilian educationist Paulo Freire. Freire believed passionately in the dignity of every human being and sought to bring about an approach to education that was based on the actual experience of people. Using this as the entry point, no one is excluded and everyone is a contributor. It is not a teacher pupil model, but a shared adult to adult way of exploring life. So the SELL programme is participative and focuses on sharing experience, inviting participants to THINK and CHOOSE especially to choose to be peace makers.
Communities where all people coexist in harmony and peace with one another, the earth and all her life forms.
To reach out to young people as agents of change, inviting them to share their experiences towards making life giving choices; deepening their respect for the earth and building families and communities of justice, freedom and peace.
Respect, Integrity, Accountability, Service, Dedication to Duty.
The SELL programme traces its origins to a programme developed in the north of Nigeria in the 1980’s by Maureen Sheehy, Pauline Connolly and Tommy Hayden. It was first called Ilmin Kowa (Learning for all in the Hausa language) and later in English Shared Education and Learning for Life. Under this name it was taken up by Noel McGeeney and Leo Traynor in 2002 who developed it in Kabba and later Bauchi in Nigeria. In 2006 it first came to Ghana.
In its thinking and way of working SELL is closely related to various programmes that have operated since the 1970’s in southern and eastern Africa. A general name for them has been Training for Transformation (TFT) and all of them were largely inspired by a man called Paulo Freire.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SELL PEACE BUILDING MANUAL by Donal Dorr
One of the most important activities in which people can engage at this time is informal education-and especially the kind in which people are empowered to live life to the full. This is also one of the most exciting and rewarding activities in which one can engage. There is great satisfaction in helping people to find a richer and deeper meaning in their lives-and helping them to grow as persons and as members of the local and the global community. But this work can be difficult. This is partly because those who engage in this work need a lot of inter-personal and group skills. Another source of difficulty is that it is not easy to find suitable handbooks and resource materials.
I am delighted to warmly and enthusiastically recommend the SELL manual because it meets these needs admirably. The material is so well planned and laid-out that it is itself a kind of training manual for those who lead others through the various lessons. Furthermore, the content of the material is very appropriate for those for whom the manual has been written. This is not surprising because it is the fruit of years of practical on-the-ground work by the authors with the very kind of people for whom the work is intended. So each part of it has been tested and tried and corrected.
The over-all vision of human life which underpins the material is very impressive indeed. What we have here is a seamless view, in which religious faith is fully integrated with rounded human development. This is done in a very sensitive way. It takes seriously the full riches of the all faith traditions and is fully respectful of them. The result is that those who use this material will be able to avoid any tendency to adopt a narrow sectarian approach.
The SELL programme does not ignore or make invisible the spiritual life. Yet the SELL approach avoids the danger of a narrow devotionalism or a 'pie-in-the-sky' understanding of religion. This broad approach is badly needed in our world today. It avoids two opposite mistakes. On the one hand, much of the approach to economic and social development which is being fostered by Western agencies seems to ignore and neglect the deeper spiritual issues which lie at the heart of the African vision of life. On the other hand, much of the crusading type of religion which is becoming so common in Africa fails to offer a rounded vision of life; at times it seems to offer an almost magical approach which assumes that human problems are to be solved by blind faith and prayer in a way that ignores the need for careful human planning and effort.
The SELL approach, by contrast is based around the concept of transformation in which God's /Allah’s grace and human effort come together, enabling men, women, and young people to experience the fulfilment and joy of being co-creators with the supreme being, and bringing new hope to our broken world.
I am confident that the manual will be of great benefit to many people and I hope that it will be widely used. My thoughts and prayers are with those who wrote it and those who will use it.
Donal Dorr M.A. D.D. is a well known theologian who has written several books including ‘Option for the poor’ ‘Spirituality and Justice’ etc, he is based in Dublin Ireland.)