A unifying feature within development education is its transformative ambition to facilitate positive change toward a more just and sustainable future, emphasizing two crucial topics in particular[1]:

  • Critical thinking: enable (young) people to understand different global contexts and to critically reflect upon existing global inequalities, dependencies, and hierarchies as well as their root causes (e.g., political, economic, historical).
  • Inclusion: decrease barriers through discrimination-sensitive educational offers open to everyone.
This section will provide you with a brief overview of important aspects and critical issues to consider when planning events and activities in the context of Global Citizenship Education (GCED). As there are a lot of factors that potentially define the success of an event or activity, we focused on particularly crucial areas in the context of GCED to equip you with initial practical guidelines. Outline:
  1. Define your didactic goals and approach
  2. Design discrimination-sensitive educational offers
  3. Practical tips and checklists
  You can find in-depth descriptions of several topics addressed or touched upon on this page in our didactic principles and a variety of helpful further readings within our resources page .
Define your didactic goals and approach

A good starting point to define your educational goals for a specific event or activity is to think explicitly about the relationship of (to be) selected topics and the competencies you want your participants to improve and develop.

Of course, there is a variety of topics that can be addressed within the framework of Global Citizenship Education. In the beginning, it might help to reflect on these two dimensions to structure and narrow down your initial ideas.

  • Cross-cutting global topics such as environmental protection, inequality, human rights, economic and political dependencies/hierarchies, social power relations, racism, inclusion, diversity etc.
  • Specific topic areas such as the history of globalisation, climate change, poverty, agriculture and nutrition , global production, trade and consumption, travel and mobility, peace and conflict, and many more.

The following table exemplifies linkages and synergies between certain topic areas and competencies, which can help you to design effective GCED events/activities. It is based on the three learning domains defined within Global Citizenship Education (cognitive: blue, socio-emotional: pink, behavioural: green). Please note, that there are other competency definitions, which offer very fruitful additional guidance. For example, the Recognising – Assessing – Acting framework laid out in our didactic principles section or the DeSeCo framework established by the OECD[2].

Topics & competencies in GCED (UNESCO) [3].

A good example of a multifaceted global issue can be found in the global production and disposal chains of smartphones. Using this example allows you to combine a critical reflection on social and environmental issues with the development of other key competencies.

Global issues and key competencies: the example of smartphones [4].

Design discrimination-sensitive educational offers

The aim to provide discrimination-sensitive educational offers is a defining feature of the Global Citizenship Education approach. Therefore, potential barriers within GCED events and activities should be critically reflected upon to address them effectively.  Here, a generally discrimination-sensitive design of your contents and methods should be accompanied by a good understanding of your audiences and their specific needs. Educational offers should always be adjusted to the needs of their participants – and not the other way around.

The following will briefly introduce you to several critical issues within the context of discrimination-sensitive education planning and provide you with practical tips and impulses on the following topics. 



  • Understand and involve your audience
  • Reflect on your views and experiences
  • Critically reflect on planned contents
  • Support participants with disabilities

Understand and involve your audience.

Your knowledge about the audience is a defining factor for the success of your events and activities. Understanding your participants is a prerequisite for many aspects of event/activity planning but should also be used deliberately to encourage personal involvement through participatory learning processes. Albeit a multitude of relevant factors and nuances[5], the following table aims to provide you with a quick overview of some important aspects to consider.

In this context, the style of language you use is a very important aspect. You should ask yourself early on if your use of language is easily accessible to your audience, both in written and spoken form (formulations, pace, complexity, or the use of foreign words). Regarding the last point, you should also consider the language proficiency of your participants beforehand, especially if you plan to…

  • use many English/foreign terms
  • conduct your events and activities in English to address audiences with multiple native languages

Reflect on your views and experiences.

Reflecting on how your background shapes your understanding of certain issues is crucial in the context of discrimination-sensitive education. Here are some aspects that should generally be considered[6].

  • Every team member should explicitly reflect on how their personal beliefs and experiences shape their view on a specific topic.
  • Ask yourself if you are already sensitised enough regarding the specific lifestyles and experiences of your audience.
  • Understand which perspectives, experiences, and cultural backgrounds are represented within your team – and, most importantly, which are not.

Critically reflect on planned contents.

With this section, we want to introduce you to several critical issues that should be considered when planning discrimination-sensitive educational content, although the specific implementation will naturally depend on the concrete setting and respective needs of your events/activities. These are some general questions, that can help you to reflect on your planned content.

  • Did you include different (and marginalised) perspectives on the selected issue?
  • Are all people, groups, and societies portrayed with equal respect, highlighting their self-determination and unique achievements, capabilities, emotions, and needs?
  • Did you include practical examples from countries of the Global South?
  • Do you use materials with diverse imagery (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, body images etc.)?
  • Do you reproduce cultural attributions and/or stereotypes in any way?
  • Are global dependencies and power structures critically reflected upon, including their historical backgrounds?
  • Did you include a critical reflection on the concept of (development) aid and its current forms?

In addition, we recommend you take a look at the HEADS UP list by Vanessa de Oliveira[7], providing you with a sound conceptual background for the majority of questions posed above. Please note, that this is a shortened version of the original, which includes a more detailed description of each issue.


  • Hegemony – justifying superiority and supporting domination.
  • Ethnocentrism – projecting one view as universal.
  • Ahistoricism – forgetting historical legacies and complicities.
  • Depoliticization – disregarding power inequalities and ideological roots of analyses and proposals.
  • Salvationism – framing help as the burden of the fittest.
  • Un- complicated solutions – offering easy and simple solutions that do not require systemic change.
  • Paternalism – seeking affirmation of authority/ superiority through the provision of help and the infantilization of recipients.

Support participants with disabilities.

If you want to design events and activities without barriers for young people with disabilities, it is very important to reflect on this issue during the planning as well as the implementation phase. Of course, your actual needs will very much depend on the specific format and setting of your event/activity. For example, whether you know your participants beforehand or if you plan an open GCED event. Here are a couple of aspects that might help you to provide an adequate setting for participants with different disabilities.

  1. Create an open and respectful atmosphere!
  2. Ensure accessibility.
    • Is the venue accessible for people with physical disabilities (e.g., ramps, elevators, accessible restrooms etc.)? Is the arrival/departure secured (private or public transport
    • Is adequate accommodation available (if needed)?
    • Do you require additional measures or alternative materials for people with hearing and visual impairments or mental disabilities?
  3. External and internal personnel.
    • In the majority of cases, young people with disabilities will be accompanied by an attendant with specific knowledge of their needs. Whenever possible, check with these experts to
      discuss and effectively address any potential barriers (before and during the event).
    • Carefully reflect if you need any additional internal or external experts to provide all barrier-free aspects you plan to implement (e.g., sign language interpreters, communication
  4. Seek feedback and evaluate.
    • Regularly ask participants for feedback and evaluate the overall success of your inclusive measures to learn for your next event/activity and establish best practices.
  5. Promote your event explicitly to people with disabilities.
    • Consider, that young people with disabilities may not frequent your usual places and channels to promote events/activities to the degree you desire. Think about additional promotion in
      respective channels and networks!

Practical tips & checklists

This section will provide you with practical tips and brief checklists to help you plan your GCED event. It will mainly summarise earlier contents and selected best practices from existing literature on the following topics.


  • Reflect on your role(-s) during the event/activity
  • Checklist didactic content and approach
  • Checklist organisational aspects
  • Checklist self-evaluation

Reflect on your role(-s) during the event/activity.

It can be helpful to think about the role(-s) you (and your team members) will fill during the event/activity more explicitly beforehand, especially to anticipate and prepare for situations where you have to switch rapidly between them or manage several roles at once.

  • The conductor: responsible to steer the overall event/activity along its central theme and key activities. Monitoring the needs of participants during the process.
  • The moderator: structures and facilitates the interaction/communication with and within the audience. Pose, manage and answer questions, reiterate key results and insights, provide helpful visualisations and assure proper documentation.
  • The expert: impart knowledge using a variety of didactic techniques and materials (e.g., audio-visual content, illustrative objects, worksheets and exercises, practical examples from their own experiences etc.).
  • The learning guide/companion: support participants during self-determined learning processes by encouraging their curiosity, demonstrating interest in their opinions and answering questions.

Check your didactic contents and approach.

This is a brief checklist summarising earlier contents and introducing a couple of new aspects.

  1. Relevance of the offer. Your event/activity is likely to resonate with your target audience and to effectively raise awareness for selected global issues.
  2. You formulated specific didactic goals. This includes the selection of different contents and techniques to foster the improvement and development of specific competencies.
  3. Complex global issues are didactically reduced to be accessible to your audience.
  4. Your offer is discrimination-sensitive. Understanding and addressing your target audience, critically reflecting your views and experiences, designing discrimination-sensitive contents, and supporting participants with disabilities.
  5. You incorporated multiple perspectives on the issue and avoid the portrayal of over-simplistic issue definitions and solutions. Pay particular attention to marginalised perspectives and be upfront with uncertainties and “non-knowledge in the context of complex global issues.
  6. Your offer includes participatory learning processes.

Here are a couple of organisational aspects to consider for your event/activity.

  1. Thoroughly check if the venue (still) fulfils your needs throughout the planning process (e.g., capacity, barrier-free design, technical equipment etc.)
  2. Arrange a specific meeting point and time at the venue for your team (and a joint transport if necessary).
  3. Make time to speak through the roles and responsibilities of each team member and the timeline of the event/activity.
  4. Check if you prepared all the necessary materials and technical equipment.
  5. Prepare all administrative tasks (e.g., participant lists, personnel time sheets etc.).
  6. Finally, prepare the venue and check the needed equipment right before your event/activity starts.

Lastly, we want to provide you with a couple of exemplary questions to conduct an effective self-evaluation after your event/activity.

  1. What is your overall feeling afterwards?
  2. Which elements of your event/activity worked as intended and which did not?
    • Reflect on the interaction with your audience.
    • Which contents were successfully communicated to the audience and which were not?
    • What feedback did you receive?
    • Reflect on the cooperation within your team.
  3. Identify which subject areas and specific topics were particularly interesting for your audience.
  4. Define specific aspects to improve as well as best practices for your next event/activity.
  1. VENRO quality criteria – VENRO
    Quality Criteria for Development Education (Berlin: o.V., 2021), page 6.
  2. Definition and selection key – PDF File
    Definition and Selection of Key Competencies: Executive Summary (Paris: OECD, 2005), page 5.
  3. Global citizenship education – UNESCO
    Global citizenship education: topics and learning objectives (Paris: UNESCO, 2015), page 25.
  4. Globales Lernen – EPIZ
    Globales Lernen. Handbuch für Referent_innen: Konzeption, Durchführung und Auswertung von Veranstaltungen des Globalen Lernens (Berlin: EPIZ, 2022), page 27-28.
  5. VENRO quality criteria – VENRO
    Quality Criteria for Development Education (Berlin: o.V., 2021), page 12.
  6. VENRO quality criteria – VENRO
    Quality Criteria for Development Education (Berlin: o.V., 2021), page 13.
  7. Vanessa de Oliveira – Critical Literacy
    Vanessa de Oliveira, “Editor’s preface ‘HEADS UP’”, Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices Vol 6, No 1 (2012): page 2.